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Grandfather inspires Bolles Fellow Williams

Senior Jordan Williams wants to be a political reporter one day.

Her dream job? How about covering Congress or the White House for the Washington Post, where her grandfather spent 30 years working in the circulation department.

“I think journalism is in my blood,” Williams says. “My grandfather is the reason I keep working hard — he likes to read what I write. He also always had a camera on him because he loved capturing and documenting important moments.”

University of Arizona senior Jordan Williams

University of Arizona senior Jordan Williams received the school’s prestigious 2019 Don Bolles Fellowship

Williams received the school’s prestigious 2019 Don Bolles Fellowship last month and will cover the Arizona Legislature (above) in the spring for Arizona Sonora News. The award is named after Bolles, an Arizona Republic reporter who was killed in 1976 while investigating organized crime.

She hopes to cover education during her fellowship, especially since the Arizona Board of Regents — whom she covered for the Arizona Daily Wildcat — plans to set tuition and fees in the spring.

Named the school’s outstanding junior in May, Williams got a good introduction to politics as a summer intern for The Cancer Letter in Washington.

She had six bylines, including a story about a U.S. House committee threatening to withhold funding from an international cancer research center for labeling glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp. 

“I soaked up a very niche new scene — cancer research policy,” says Williams, who became interested in journalism her senior year at Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona, after interviewing then-U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

“Today, being a journalist is the most important job in the world,” Williams said. “This notion that government—regardless of political party—can do whatever with no accountability is circumvented by the Free Press. … I believe that journalism done well keeps the world in balance.”

• Click here to see a list of the school’s Bolles Fellows since 1977.