The Write Stuff

March 1, 2016


BUFFALO, NY - A successful freelance writer, Maria Scrivani ’76 is the author of several books on local history.  Her accomplished career includes work as a reporter for The Buffalo News and as co-director of public information for Canisius College. But Scrivani says the building blocks that shaped her as a writer were her undergraduate experiences at Canisius.

As a student I felt challenged and appreciated,” says Scrivani, recalling her senior thesis advisor Professor Emeritus of English Frank Riga, PhD. “He taught me the value of rewriting but also how to condense information, which is an important skill in newswriting.”

A dual major in English and French, Scrivani honed her craft as an editor of The Griffin, alongside classmate and friend Cindy Skrzycki ’76. She is particularly grateful for her hands-on experience at the paper, which helped Scrivani secure her first job as a public relations writer with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.  

Scrivani firmly believes in the value of experiential learning. So when she heard about the highly-competitive college internships available at the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Scrivani immediately sought to get Canisius students involved. She established The Scrivani Journalism Fellowship. The fellowship supports a communication studies student who is accepted into an internship at the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

“To work as a reporter at a highly-regarded newspaper is a priceless opportunity for a journalism student,” says Scrivani, who learned about the internship program from Skrzycki and her husband, David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. “I am delighted to help out students from my alma mater. There is no substitute for this kind of real-world experience.”  

Three Canisius students have taken advantage of the prestigious internship experience. Scrivani hopes it will inspire many more to pursue careers in journalism.

“Journalism has changed so much since I was a student, most notably in the technology that seems to advance daily,” she says. “But no matter what platform used to convey a story, some things have not changed and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette practices journalism with the highest ethical standards. I hope more Canisius students will consider it as a career.”