Shane Scalfaro, Payton Brooker and Gabe Scotto

WOUB Student Staff Support Fund helps three students focus on gaining real-world media experience

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Shane Scalfaro, Payton Brooker and Gabe Scotto are receiving the funding this year

ATHENS, OH – Shane Scalfaro, an Ohio University junior, Payton Brooker, an Ohio University senior, and Gabe Scotto, an Ohio University graduate student, are being paid to prepare for their future careers and gain professional media experience at WOUB, thanks to the NEIL MAHRER AND SONIA FRANCESKI WOUB STUDENT STAFF SUPPORT FUND.

Scalfaro is from Findlay, Ohio and has volunteered at WOUB for the last three years. He is a journalism news and information major and works on Gridiron Glory, Hardwood Heroes and SportsBeat. Brooker is from Marietta, Ohio and has volunteered at WOUB for the last two years. The journalism news and information major has worked on Gridiron Glory, Hardwood Heroes and NewsWatch. Scotto has worked at WOUB since the summer of 2022. He is pursuing his master’s degree in journalism and currently works in the newsroom helping to write and research online stories.

“Being paid at WOUB means a lot to me because it means I do not have to split time between working a job and working with WOUB,” said Scalfaro. “I love what I do with WOUB and hated having to miss things because I was working a job. When I found out that I would have a paid position at WOUB, I was excited beyond words.”

“Having a paid job will help me with multiple things,” said Brooker. “Other than general necessities like food and gas, it could help me invest into my career a little more and find out what I really want to do after college is over. It is such a benefit, and this is one way WOUB helps you to find your path and opportunity.”

“It enables me to support myself at a time when my opportunities are somewhat limited because of me being in college,” said Scotto. “If I had to get a job outside WOUB to pay my bills, I would not be able to work at WOUB.”

The NEIL MAHRER AND SONIA FRANCESKI WOUB STUDENT STAFF SUPPORT FUND provides year-round support, in the form of wages and benefits, for students employed by WOUB Public Media.  Mahrer, who is a former PBS executive, worked at WOUB while he was a student at Ohio University to hone his broadcasting skills and learn about the media industry. He graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts focused on general speech, TV/Radio and Theatre. Mahrer had a very successful career after leaving Athens, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer at PBS during his 17-year tenure with the organization. Mahrer has also held positions at some of the nation’s premier NPR and PBS stations, including WETA, WQED, WVIZ, WMHT, WJCT and WBAA. Both Mahrer and his wife, Franceski, believe in the value of public broadcasting, today and in the future.

“To alumni donors, like Mr. Mahrer, who are helping students, I would say a massive thank you,” said Scalfaro. “Thank you for allowing me and so many others to follow our dreams, expand our skills, and do more than ever because of your support, and I hope one day I will be able to shake your hand and thank you in person.”

“Donors help students like me because they know sometimes the struggle of having a job and helping at WOUB,” said Brooker. “They want students at WOUB to succeed in their future careers, and I feel very grateful that someone is out there wanting to step up and help someone like me find a path towards a career.”

“I am immensely grateful that Mr. Mahrer has provided students like me with the opportunity to work at WOUB and get paid for doing so,” said Scotto. “It provides me with a solid foundation in both the short and long term. In the short term, I’m able to support myself while working at WOUB in a way I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. In the long term, it gives me real-world experience that I can use to advance my career in journalism.”

The WOUB Student Staff Support Fund was established in 2021 and since that time additional contributions have been made to the fund from Ohio University alumni and supporters of the WOUB student experience.

“We are so thankful to Neil and Sonia for establishing this fund to support students at WOUB and to all who have contributed to it so far,” said WOUB General Manager Mark Brewer. “As the fund continues to grow, we’ll be able to cast a wider net and offer more students paid positions in order for them to truly focus on the careers they are hopeful to engage in after graduation.”

If you’d like to support tomorrow’s media professionals today, you can give to the NEIL MAHRER AND SONIA FRANCESKI WOUB STUDENT STAFF SUPPORT FUND by visiting: