A Filipino reporter is the first recipient of an annual scholarship for Asian students at the Columbia Journalism School in New York in the United States.

Francesca Rose Regaldo, 23, who graduated from a US university with a degree in international relations, received US$100,000 and will be graduating in May 2019 with a master’s of science in data journalism degree, Nikkei Asian Review reported. Nikkei helped sponsor the scholarship.

Regaldo, who specializes in investigative journalism, plans to use the scholarship and return to the Philippines to improve the quality of reporting in the country.

“My hope is that this scholarship will encourage Asian journalists like me to take a leap of faith and pursue journalism training at Columbia University, and ultimately raise the standards for journalism in our home region,” Regaldo said.

The scholarship was established in 2017 and provides US$100,000 to one student from Asia each year. Scholars return to their home country after graduation to help establish a sound journalism industry based on freedom of speech.