Alexia Aston, Marien López-Medina named Moore-Hodges fund recipients

Alexia Aston (left) and Marien López-Medina

We’re glad to report that we’ve awarded the second-annual gifts from the Moore-Hodges fund, which honors and builds on the legacies of people of color whose presence, voices and work have helped make our historically predominantly white institution better – but not yet equally – reflect the community we serve.

Daily senior news reporter Alexia Aston is the fall 2020 recipient and Daily news editor Marien López-Medina is the spring 2021 recipient. Each will receive $500 to support their ongoing work at The Daily.

“Growing up in Clinton, I was surrounded by people of color, like myself, my entire childhood,” Aston wrote in her application. “It wasn’t out of the ordinary to have a friend group that consisted of multiple ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. As I gained interest in news media, I realized how little representation these marginalized communities had. When they were represented, it was often concerning drugs, violence and other negative connotations of these communities. As a person of color, I want to reverse these portrayals by allowing myself to be their outlet to voice their struggles. For example, last semester I wrote an article about DACA students at OU and the struggles they go through that aren’t obvious. I also wrote about a student whose undocumented mother had an unexpected surgery, so the student began to sell food to pay for her mom’s surgery. Through my article, the student informed me that her sales had doubled that week. I want to continue being the mouthpiece for these communities as I continue my work at The Daily. I want these communities to trust they can come to The Daily and be accurately represented.”

“My aspirations in professional media are highly connected to investigative journalism since I was 10 years old,” Lopez-Medina wrote in her application. “My education at OU is focusing my work as a journalist on the political and civil rights education of Latin American societies — currently affected by corruption and media polarization — and to practice collective empathy for those marginalized communities suffering from poverty, dictatorships, colonization and patriarchy. Another of my aspirations in professional media is writing my own book about the consequences of living in conflict zones in Latin America and start making my stories available for the public in my other two languages — Spanish and Portuguese.  Moreover, I would like to open an independent media outlet in Nicaragua, whose newspaper was shut down by the government, and to bring the model of a student newspaper to universities there. It is not easy to have these many aspirations related to journalism when I come from a country that has lost any freedom of speech and whose situation continuously affects my academic, financial and emotional state. I believe the Zelbert Moore-Guinnevere Hodges honorary support fund can help me to afford the right tools to improving my work at The Daily, ease my economic stresses and improve my funds for my Optional Practical Training (OPT) applications during my senior year.”

We hope you’ll help us celebrate the successes of Alexia, Marien and other students like them. To learn more about the Moore-Hodges fund, visit our now-closed Thousands Strong page. To donate, visit our Student Media page with the OU Foundation and specify your gift, via the comment field, to be directed to the Moore-Hodges fund.