Julianna Russ selected for second cohort of Voyager Scholarship

Julianna Russ selected for second cohort of Voyager Scholarship

August 29, 2023
Stephanie Schupskaschupska@uga.edu
Jessica Hunt

Julianna Russ, a third-year journalism major at the University of Georgia, is one of 100 college students from across the nation to be selected for the second cohort of the Voyager Scholarship, the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service.

Established in 2021 by the Obama Foundation and Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, the Voyager Scholarship is a two-year program for students in their junior and senior years of college from across the U.S. who are committed to pursuing careers that serve the public and their communities.

The second cohort of 100 Voyager recipients represents 33 states and territories and 74 colleges and universities. Russ is UGA’s second Voyager Scholarship recipient.

“The Voyager Scholarship is the perfect fit for Julianna as she puts service and research into action,” said Meg Amstutz, dean of the Morehead Honors College. “We are so proud of her and look forward to seeing how her involvement on the global stage influences changes for the better.”

An Honors student and Foundation Fellow in the Morehead Honors College, Russ is majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs, and comparative literature and intercultural studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She is minoring in African languages and literature and working toward a Sports Media Certificate from the Carmical Sports Media Institute.

“I’m concerned about media freedom and its struggle to endure,” Russ explained in her Voyager summary. “I’d like to conduct an independent research project assessing media censorship and its relationship to state violence, demonstrating a need for stronger press protections globally.”

The Voyager Scholarship awards up to $50,000 in financial aid; a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing for a meaningful summer work-travel experience between the junior and senior year of college; an annual fall summit; and a network-building speaker series.

Julianna Russ holds a CNN sign
Julianna Russ interned during Summer 2023 at the CNN Documentary Unit as part of the Warner Bros Discovery Internship Program.

A meaningful summer work-travel experience—or summer voyage—for Russ would be an internship with Reporters without Borders in its Tunisia bureau, she said. “My study of Arabic for the past two years has underscored my desire to support independent journalists in the Middle East and North Africa through advocacy and research.”

Russ’s work during her time at UGA spans roles from beat reporter to video producer. She is currently working as a documentary unit intern for CNN, where she supports the production of weekly episodes of “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper.” She is also the control room technical director for athletic events through the UGA Athletic Association.

Russ serves as president of the Online News Association/Society of Professional Journalists at UGA; reporter for the Covering Poverty Project; and senior editor and layout editor for the Georgia Political Review. She also conducted research regarding the intersection of transnational surrogacy and international human rights law.

After graduation, Russ hopes to work as a freelance journalist before moving on to graduate school to study international affairs. She would like to investigate strategies used to suppress media freedom, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

Russ is from of Fort Thomas, Kentucky.