What do you get when you combine One Direction, Mr. Electric, and Nancy Drew? Answer: A prize-winning mystery that established Bridgetown, Nova Scotia’s Micah Mendes as a writer and storyteller. Mendes penned the tale above when she was just nine years old and placed second in a short-story contest. Though she’s no longer writing pop-culture mash-ups—at least none that involve Harry Styles—Mendes is hoping to bring this creative spirit to a career in journalism.
Mendes says that for a long time, she wasn’t sure how to turn their love of writing into a career. Then, she attended a J-School Noire event in high school. The Canadian Association of Black Journalists, King’s and Nova Scotia Community College co-host the workshop each year, introducing Black youth to the journalism industry and encouraging them to pursue a career in the field.
“I hadn’t even considered journalism as something that would allow me to write and … help other people as well,” Mendes says. “When I realized that, it kind of hit me: this is perfect for me.”
Mendes is the 2022 recipient of the Prince Scholarship—an award valued at $24,000 and offered to a Black or African Nova Scotian student entering the Foundation Year Program (FYP) pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, Science, Music or Journalism. Thinking back to the application process, Mendes says it was an overwhelming time for them, and she wasn’t sure she submitted everything by the deadline, so it was a surprise when she got the email from King’s.
“I was working (at) a co-op placement … when I got the email, and I just started yelling in the middle of the office,” Mendes laughs. “Luckily (my) coworkers are all really chill people, so they didn’t mind my excited outburst, but finding out that you’re getting that much money is really exciting going into university.”
Scholarship Applications – Deadline March 1st
The sense of community at King’s attracted Mendes initially, and she says the sentiment was only validated throughout their first semester—particularly through the support of their classmates.
“It seemed very close-knit, and the campus itself (is) really beautiful. I love being there,” Mendes says. “I like the people I have my classes with—they’re all really friendly and helpful and inclusive … just knowing that I have these people that are so willing to help someone they just met a couple of months ago makes me really happy.”
Given a choice, Mendes says she would love to work at Global TV. Enjoying what she is doing is important, so she says she is looking for more than just a ‘job.’
“I probably would decide on a newsroom because that’s where I feel I would learn the most, (and) out of all the different ones I’d have access to, probably Global. When I am watching the news on TV, that tends to be where I lean.”
Though the increased workload and adjustment to a new routine have been challenging, Mendes says she is enjoying King’s, and their interest in the course material makes a big difference.
“The classes themselves are really fun and enjoyable,” she says. “Unlike high school, where I had to take these courses to graduate, this is something I picked, and I get to choose something that I enjoy learning about and something I enjoy doing. It’s been great in the program so far.”