by Blake Alsup
Chental-Song Bembry is one of sixteen college students selected to take part in the 2018 Dow Jones News Fund Business Reporting Program.
Bembry, 21, is from Somerset, New Jersey and still lives there today. She will spend the summer interning at American Banker where she will be writing stories, helping with social media and working on a newsletter called “Women in Banking.”
She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Communications. She also received a Dean’s Award for her “commitment to leadership and academic excellence.”
B. Da’Vida Plummer, Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, met Bembry as an incoming freshman and was immediately impressed with her entrepreneurial spirit upon their first meeting.
“She looked me dead in my eyes and she leaned across the table to let me know she was an entrepreneur, that she was published and that she knew who she was and what she wanted to do with her life,” Plummer said. “I know 40-plus-year-old professionals who don’t manage to handle themselves as well as this young woman is handling herself.”
Plummer has been a witness to Bembry’s successes throughout her college career and said she had the pleasure of shaking her hand as she crossed the stage at graduation earlier this month. Plummer said Bembry “is as much as gracious in her winning as she is in her facing challenges.”
While at Hampton, Bembry was a part of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute and was involved with student media. She wrote for the Hampton Script campus newspaper and was also a part of the WHOV campus newscast that airs every Thursday.
Bembry previously worked as an intern at ABC 2 News in Baltimore, Maryland. It was there that she got a lot of firsthand experience with broadcast journalism, which was her focus as a student.
“So at ABC 2 News where I created my journalism reel, I got to do standup, create packages, cut video and sound bites and I did a little bit of everything there,” Bembry said. “ I learned to multitask because it’s never just doing one thing.”
Bembry also said she learned how to meet deadlines, be more time efficient and gained confidence when it comes to interviewing people.
Before college, Bembry was already making waves as an entrepreneur. Her children’s book series The Honey Bunch Kids, which she wrote and illustrated, has taken her everywhere from The BET Honors awards in 2015 to being featured on LeBron James’ Instagram story this month.
She started writing the first book when she was 10 and published the first of three books when she was 13. As a child, she loved reading, writing and cartoons, but didn’t see many cartoon characters that looked like her.
My mom encouraged me to draw characters who looked like me, so I did,” Bembry said. “There are three books today, and basically the series is about these kids in middle school doing funny stuff and learning how to become friends and stay friends.”
Her education at Hampton University, internship at ABC 2 News and entrepreneurial experience creating and promoting her Honey Bunch Kids series has prepared her for her upcoming internship with American Banker. Bembry looks forward to taking this first step into the world of business reporting and knows that it will help her career.
“A lot of people don’t like to write about this beat because they think it’s really difficult,” Bembry said. “So if I’m able to do well at it this summer, I know that I’ll have a really big competitive advantage when I’m applying at other places to intern.”