Journalism’s Dowdy receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

Zachary DowdyZachary Dowdy, of the Stony Brook School of Journalism, this spring received one of the highest honors the State University of New York system offers, a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

Dowdy’s award recognizes excellent adjunct instructors. A reporter at Long Island’s Newsday, Dowdy has served as an adjunct journalism instructor at Stony Brook since 2003, predating the creation of the School of Journalism itself.

“He embodies the very essence of Stony Brook’s commitment to serving students and proving them pathways forward,” said Cathrine Duffy, director of Healthier U at Stony Brook. “His keen intelligence and unmatched work ethic propelled him to a career in journalism. His generous spirit and willingness to reach down to lift others up guided him to teaching. His background enables him to relate to students in a genuine and caring way. Professor Dowdy teaches, and leads, by example, and his career path is a model to which our students can aspire.”

For Newsday, Dowdy covers the United Nations and Long Island. He has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter, including at the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, experience he brings with him to every class he teaches and every student he mentors.

“At a large school like Stony Brook, where sometimes you can feel lost in the crowd, Professor Dowdy provided a personal connection and invaluable professional guidance,” said April Warren Martin ‘10, the digital content manager at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “He took an interest in reviewing each piece I wrote with a trained eye, always offering encouragement and critique to ensure greater success next time. Looking back, some of the pieces I am most proud of writing at The Statesman came from the encouragement of Professor Dowdy.”

Dowdy’s mentorship of his students lasts well into their careers, and in many cases, begins before they have even enrolled at Stony Brook. For more than a decade, Dowdy has overseen the School of Journalism’s annual Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. During the week-long program, students from across Long Island and New York City live and work as cub reporters at Stony Brook, using the School’s Newsroom and TV studios. Many of the program’s participants have enrolled at Stony Brook and become media professionals. More than running the program, Dowdy, with help from Duffy, recruits students, helps to fundraise, and takes vacation time from Newsday to work 18-hour days to ensure the Institute’s success.

“Zack has had a hand in educating and inspiring hundreds of young journalists from Long Island, the metropolitan area, the rest of the nation and the world, upholding and modeling the highest standards of our profession,” said journalism professor Barbara Selvin. “As a Stony Brook alumnus, Zack provides our students with daily evidence that a Stony Brook education can lead to great things,”

Dowdy will become a full-time assistant professor of practice at the School of Journalism this fall.