Vanessa Shelton is executive director of Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists, headquartered in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She also is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and has taught the editing workshop, Journalistic Reporting and Writing, African-Americans and Mass Communication, and popular culture courses. In the summer, she teaches a week-long journalistic reporting and writing course with the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education on campus, for 6th–8th graders.
Previously, she served as director of the Iowa High School Press Association and the UI Summer Journalism Workshops. Along with high school journalism teachers in Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa, she developed a nationally recognized journalism academy for primary and middle school students. While focusing on cultural inclusiveness, the academy teaches students basic journalism skills, and reinforces reading, writing, and math competencies. Students are encouraged to attend college and are introduced to the journalism profession. She was also an award-winning newspaper reporter and a public relations officer prior to joining the School of Journalism.
She is a member of the Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; she is the head of its Scholastic Journalism Division.
A recipient of the UI Catalyst Award for outstanding work in campus diversity initiatives, she is the staff adviser of the student chapter of the NABJ. In 2006, she was inducted into the IHSPA Hall of Fame and received the organization's Stratton Award for support to scholastic journalism in 2009. AEJMC recognized her in 2003 with the Robert Knight Multicultural Award. She is a longtime member of the Student Publications Inc. board, which oversees The Daily Iowan newspaper.
Shelton received a doctorate in mass communications from the UI in 2007. Her dissertation explored interpretive communities and the intersection of politics and race in the Black community and newspapers of St. Louis, MO. A native of St. Louis, she also has a master¹s degree in journalism from the UI and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.