Scholarship helps Missouri School of Journalism graduate student document stories of people living with dementia and their caregivers in rural America

William Clayton Steward

Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 1, 2024) — William Clayton Steward, a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism studying photojournalism, knows caring for a loved one with dementia is challenging. Access to vital care is generally more challenging in farming communities and small towns, leaving caregivers to do their best with what they have available.

As the latest recipient of the $1,000 C. Zoe Smith Scholarship in Photojournalism, Steward will explore that issue for his master’s project.

Titled Memory on the Outskirts, the project is a photographic documentary that hopes to shed a light on the experiences of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the people who care for them in rural America. Steward said Alzheimer’s is estimated to impact nearly 6 million people in America alone and that number is projected to rise leaving these communities with more loved ones to care for with no cure in sight.

“The most important part of any documentary work is spending time with the participants,” Steward said. “Spending time requires expenses such as gas money, and occasionally plane tickets and hotel rooms. I am so thankful and blown away to be receiving this scholarship to help fund this work that I care so deeply about.”

Steward plans to start work immediately and complete the project by May 2024.

The scholarship was established in 2015 by School of Journalism professor emerita C. Zoe Smith to support the work of photojournalism master’s students in completing their degrees. The funding from the scholarship helps students cover travel and other research costs as they work on the thesis or professional project required for graduation. “Master’s students can make that final push because of this endowment,” Smith said.

Updated: February 1, 2024

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