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RIC Freshman Isabella Ba Wins Competitive PBS Scholarship

Jun 13, 2023Jun 13, 2023

A communication major and tennis player, Ba is on her way to a career in newscasting.

This fall Isabella Ba is entering her first academic year at Rhode Island College with significant financial support from Rhode Island PBS. Ba was awarded the 2023 Rhode Island PBS Scholarship, which confers up to $15,000 a year for up to four years to high school seniors or college students who are pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. A graduate of Cranston High School East, Ba hopes to become a news anchor.

She not only has an infectious smile, she’s got awe-inspiring drive. Before learning that she had won the PBS scholarship, Ba had applied for over 30 scholarships. She even considered joining the military to pay for her education.

“I was really worried about how I was going to pay for college,” she says. “Even though Rhode Island College was one of my top picks because of its affordability, I was still worried about how I was going to be able to afford all four years.”

Ultimately, it was her high academic performance and leadership that drew the attention of Rhode Island PBS. At Cranston East, she was captain of the tennis team, Battalion Commander for JROTC and president of the senior class and the National Honor Society. She also participated in theater, the Cranston Police Explorers and Bolts Broadcasting (presenting morning announcements at her high school).

According to David Piccerelli, president of Rhode Island PBS, “The field of applicants for this scholarship is always very competitive and Isabella rose to the top. Isabella demonstrates the qualities we seek in scholarship recipients. She has proven high academic performance and she possesses great potential to be a successful leader in broadcasting.”

This is the sixth year Rhode Island PBS has awarded scholarships of up to $15,000 through a $1 million scholarship fund created at the Rhode Island Foundation.

David Cicilline, the Foundation’s president and CEO, states, “We are proud to have donors like Rhode Island PBS that value the importance of investing in the next generation. As the recipients graduate from college, start their careers and contribute to the civic life of their communities, the impact of these scholarships will make a difference for decades.”

As a news anchor, Ba says she wants to “share the stories of other people.”

“I also enjoy watching news pundits talk about national issues in roundtable discussions,” she says. “I’m intrigued by the seamless back-and-forth conversations they have and how the interviewer approaches a guest and how the guest responds.”

Ba hopes to gain real-world experience at a TV station by applying for a position at RIC Anchor TV.

She is also on the Women’s Tennis Team at RIC. As a student-athlete, she will straddle two different worlds – the academic world and the sports world. As an athlete she must attend practice six days a week, from 4-6 p.m., and she’s required to log in six study hours a week at the Student-Athlete Success Center and maintain a 2.5 GPA.

If there’s anyone up to the challenge, it’s Ba. On achieving this major accomplishment, Rhode Island College salutes this promising young freshman.

For more information about applying for a Rhode Island PBS scholarship next year, visit