Tierra Smith

Tierra C. Smith stumbled onto her love of writing. A native of Milwaukee, she became fascinated with the media when she was accidentally enrolled in a journalism course at her high school in Houston.

“If they never put me in that class, I would have never been exposed to journalism,” Ms. Smith said.

Her high school journalism teacher was going to remove her from the class because she did not have the necessary prerequisites, but saw her passion and decided to let her stay. A few months into the class, Ms. Smith was named an editor of the high school’s newspaper and yearbook.

Now a rising senior at Grambling State University, Ms. Smith, 21, is majoring in mass communications with a concentration in sports journalism. She is excited to be participating in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute.

“This is a really big accomplishment for not only me, but my university,” she said. “I’m the first student to be accepted into this program in several years. I hope I can take back valuable information and encourage other students to apply and attend The Times institute.”

Ms. Smith will leave The Times program two days early to attend the Sports Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, the oldest journalism school in the United States.

“My interests in sports journalism started when I was younger,” she said. “I listened to the Milwaukee Bucks basketball games on the radio. I was unconsciously training myself to visualize sports, and I gained a love and respect for sports and how it’s covered.”

Ms. Smith is looking forward to even more journalism activity this summer ━ an internship on the sports desk of The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah and a multimedia student project later this summer with the National Association of Black Journalists in Boston.

She is the president of the Grambling State University Association of Black Journalists and a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and has won professional and collegiate awards for sports journalism.