Florida A&M University (FAMU) sports management graduate student Calvin Sykes has been selected as one of six recipients of ESPN The Undefeated Rhoden Fellows Scholar Initiative.
The fifth class will feature five different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Sykes is the second FAMU student in two years to be selected for the program.
“This dream really started in high school when I began working as an intern for CBS when I did South Florida High School sports,” said Sykes. “This is about all the hard work I’ve put in and my parents believing in me, along with all the sacrifices they made.”
The Miami native enters the program with some sports journalism and television experience He’s been active as a sideline reporter with the Rattler football program, a production assistant with the Black News Channel and a correspondent for HBCU Gameday.
“What helped me was being around the writers over the past few years and understanding that process,” said Sykes. “I was able to develop into my own during my senior year and have had the opportunity to write for HBCU Gameday, which was probably my best accomplishment because it allowed me to write more on the national spotlight.”
During the 2020-2021 academic year, Marissa Stubbs became the first FAMU student to earn the internship.
“The Rhoden Fellows program allowed me to expand my creativity,” said Stubbs. “Throughout the fellowship, I was able to build connections with journalist all across the sports industry. I’m excited to see what Calvin will accomplish with the Fellowship and I can’t wait to see other Rattlers in the future continue the legacy.”
The ESPN Undefeated Rhoden Fellows Initiative is a training program for the next generation of sports journalists from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Headed by The Undefeated editor-at-large and former New York Times award-winning columnist William C. Rhoden, the three-year-old program highlights sports, race and culture.
Rhoden Fellows serve as on-campus correspondents and are expected to produce daily, weekly and monthly multi-media content for The Undefeated.
Sykes said he is looking forward to improving his writing skills while being on a more prominent platform.
“I am thrilled to be able to say that I am now affiliated with ESPN,” Sykes said. “Now I have this outstanding opportunity to attend national sporting events and come up with creative story ideas while being able to showcase those skills.”