Categorized | Volunteering

BIPC announces annual scholarship winners

From left: Malina Fagan, Alex Var, BIPC President Yisa Var and Alexandra Roth. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

From left: Malina Fagan, Alex Var, BIPC President Yisa Var and Alexandra Roth. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)


The Big Island Press Club announced its annual scholarship recipients at a July 19 dinner in Hilo.

The $4,600 in scholarships support good students of journalism and communications. They also honor friends and members who have contributed service to the Big Island Press Club over the years.

The Big Island Press Club congratulates all the awardees, and looks forward to their contributions to journalism, to society, and to Hawaii Island.

Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship – $1,500

A UPI reporter, Robert C. Miller gave such a good speech in 1968 that Sen. W.H. “Doc” Hill, donated $1,000, which the club used to honor Miller. Hill’s wife Ouida continued donations after his death in 1970. Miller died in 2004. The scholarship is now $1,500 per year, funded by the BIPC.

This year’s Miller scholarship is awarded to Alexander Bitter. A 2012 graduate of Waiakea High School, Bitter attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a Regent’s Scholar, majoring in Journalism and Political Science.

This fall he will attend the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities on the National Student Exchange program, returning to Manoa in Spring 2014.

The son of Michael and Margaret Bitter, Alex showed his aptitude for reporting in his high school years as staff writer for Ka Leo O Ke Koa and founding editor of Ka Leo O Waiakea Online.

At Manoa, he served as staff writer and associate news editor for Ka Leo O Hawaii.

This summer, Bitter is completing an internship at Honolulu Magazine awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists.

In the future, he hopes to establish an All Things Considered-type show on Manoa’s KTUH radio station.

Bill Arballo Scholarship – $1,000

The 1967 BIPC founder and former UPI reporter, still a member, is honored in a scholarship funded by an annual donation of $1,000 from Bill’s daughter Teresa Barth and her husband Don.

This year’s Arballo scholarship is awarded to Malina Fagan, a 2010 graduate of Hilo High School attending Chapman University in California as a Film Production major, documentary emphasis, with a self-designed minor in litigation.

The daughter of Lynn Pelletier of Keaau, Fagan’s career goal is to direct and produce investigative documentaries on social and environmental issues.

She’s been producing short films and public service announcements since she was 10 years old, and has been diligently adding to her reel through her college career. Her latest expedition: filming a documentary in Uganda.

Marcia Reynolds Memorial Scholarship – $1,000

A former Tribune-Herald reporter, BIPC president, and Imu show director, on her death in 2010 Marcia’s brothers Rick, Steve, and Tim honored her with a $10,000 donation from the estate of their mother. The BIPC gives a $1,000 scholarship each year from that amount.

This year’s Reynolds scholarship is awarded to Alexandra Roth, a 2011 graduate of Waiakea High School. Roth, the daughter of Noriko and Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, is double majoring in Japanese and Communications to prepare her for a career as a broadcast journalist, hopefully as a foreign correspondent.

A Reynolds scholarship winner in 2011 who went off to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she spent the last year studying in Japan as an international exchange student.

She also recently competed in the Miss Hawaii pageant, having won the Miss Kauai preliminary. This fall, Roth will be back at Manoa.

Yukino Fukabori Memorial Scholarship – $600

Noteworthy for reporting hard news for the Tribune-Herald as early as the 1930s, when women reporters were generally on the society page, BIPC and Yukino funded a small scholarship in 1993 intended to be for one year only.

Following her death in 1995, nieces and nephews from the Okamura side of her family have funded an annual $600 scholarship.

This year’s Fukabori scholarship is awarded to Kaitlyn Chock, a 2010 graduate of Waiakea High School. Chock, the daughter of Dr. Kyle Chock, will be a senior this fall at the University of Oregon, majoring in Public Relations, Communication Studies, and Humanities. She is also taking a minor in Business Administration.

Her broad set of skills will ensure her success in any field, including her planned profession in public relations.

Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship – $500

With poor vision, unable to drive a car, senior citizen Jack was a visible streetside Hilo fixture. Hitchhiking around town to sell radio advertising, Jack recruited new members for BIPC in the process. Since his death in 1990, BIPC has funded a yearly $500 scholarship in his name.

This year’s Markey scholarship is awarded to Alex Var, a 2013 graduate of Waiakea High School who has a passion to promote the goings-on of our Hawaii Island community on
the airwaves.

Var, son of BIPC President Yisa Var and Klay Burchett, will be attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa this fall majoring in Journalism and Communications. Growing up, he was part of Hilo’s performing arts scene and an award-winning essayist.

A senior year internship with BIPC Board Member Patsy Iwasaki guided him to pursue journalism in his college years.

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