Freelance Journalist

penny_dickerson_caro_article-small_26761Contact: pennydickersonwrites@gmail.com

Penny Dickerson is an independent journalist with a passion for cool people, extraordinary places, and good sushi.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA).


Temple UniversityLesley LogoPassionate about words and writing, Penny has augmented her freelance writing life by working as an adjunct English professor at  Florida State College at Jacksonville where she taught English composition and Humanities courses including Writing for Non-Fiction, Introduction to Literature & Film and Literature.

Media contributions include: Orlando Arts Magazine, Jacksonville Arts & Business Magazine (ARBUS), EBONY.com, New America Media, Equal Voice, Miami Times,Mosaic Literary Magazine, Onyx Magazine, The News-Leader, Florida Times-Union, Florida Courier, Philadelphia Stories, Daytona Times, Tallahassee Women’s Magazine and others.

Journalism fellowships awarded include the New America Media Four Freedoms Fund Fellowship (2013); Henry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship (2015); Marguerite Casey Equal Voice Fellowship (2015); Journalists in Aging Fellows Program (2016) Measures for Justice/John Jay College

As a fundraiser, Penny served as Assistant Area Director of Development for the United Negro College Fund’s $1 million Orlando team and is  former Marketing Director for urban shopping center Gateway Towne Center – the gig she insists taught her everything she knows about resilience. marguerite casey foundation

Born Merdis Lavonda Robinson in El Paso, Texas, she was given the nickname Penny by her mother, but friends close to the helm refer to her simply as “P.”  Raised a “military brat,” Penny traveled extensively and attended various primary/middle schools, but ultimately graduated from the controversial named “Nathan Bedford Forrest High School “in Jacksonville, Florida which has since been renamed, “Westside High School.”

Pageantry afforded her the opportunity to pursue higher education, as she won several teen pageants and was further crowned the first black Miss Florida Junior College (Miss America Preliminary) and held the title Miss Black Florida but wants to make it abundantly clear that she is not a pageant-girl snob. She does, however, love the world of “beauty.”

Prior to winning the National Shrine Pageant, she  traveled to Puerto Rico, Barbados, Grenada, Honduras, Panama, Guantanamo Bay, and Cuba with the 1st Miss Florida USO Troupe and has traveled to virtually every U.S. city and points of the globe as a former TWA Flight Attendant who was known to fly the Vegas red-eye with friends on her days off just to get free shrimp cocktails.

Penny is listed as an Outstanding Woman in American, Who’s Who In American Junior Colleges, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is a Leadership Jacksonville Alumni. She is an American Symphony Orchestra League Management Fellowship finalist, Creative Capital Professional  Development  Workshop participant, the  2011 Minority Writer’s Seminar sponsored by the National Board of editorial writers.

She specializes in underrepresented populations, racial and gender disparity and human interest stories. Some high profile subjects include music icon Frankie Beverly, Najee, Poetry legends: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Ntozaki Shange and entertainers LeVar Burrton, Najee, Angela Robinson (Tyler Perry Studios), Chef Amadeus (Food Network), and politicians: Congresswoman Fredericka S. Wilson, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Senator Anthony Hill, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and more.

Multi-day events are a favored editorial specialty and include the Democratic National Convention (2016); Zora Neale Hurston Festival (2011-2016); Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine Disney Dreamers Academy (2012-2017); Tom Joyner Family Reunion (2015).Tom JoynerSteve Harveycropped-zora-festival-promotional-bus1.jpg

Penny is a strong woman of faith who is spiritually balanced, yet unapologetic regarding her inherent belief that God could eradicate bad hair days and traffic [if he really wanted to].

She is a seven year cancer survivor of stage II renal cell carcinoma, dynamically divorced, and mother extraordinaire to Kelsey Nicole Dickerson (27) who gave birth to “Journey Nicole” on February 18, 2012. cancer survivor  Like a champion, Kelsey earned her BFA degree in Dance from Jacksonville University four months later (May 2012).  She is an amazing dancer who deferred her MFA in Dance acceptance at Hollins University and is currently a full-time dance instructor for Leon County Schools  in Tallahassee, Florida. Kelsey is married to Donte`Boyer and they have one son together named “Isaiah Donte`.”


9 comments on “Freelance Journalist

  1. I really love that you are so into what you do. Your works and writing are amazing and your talent really shines through. Dedication and devotion to your work is honestly very inspiring to me and makes want, and dream! Keep doing what you do, your amazing in my eyes! Come back soon 😉


    • Thank you Ja-lello! I do indeed enjoy what I do. As your fellow artist, your body is an instrument
      of lyricism to you, as words are the same to me. Yes son, DREAM. Peace, light, and love ~ P


  2. Penny,

    You were an inspiration to many, during our years together in high school. 30+ years later, you continue to achieve and inspire. I am so thankful there are role models in this world for today’s youth and you certainly fit the bill.

    Elizabeth Schenk


  3. Well, you said that you had been very busy! This is an excellent forum for you and I am excited to see your work! You are missed, loved and all that jazz baby!


  4. Looking forward to ‘Malignant Wind’. Glad to hear about survivors penning it down. It means that they are seeing endless hope rather than hopeless end! Way to go, Penny!


  5. You sound fascinating Miss Penny. Impressive that a black woman has organized her accomplishments itno such a nice package. I’m gonna keep up with you. You tight. Pretty too 🙂


  6. The more I know about you the more you inspire me. I just thought you should know you are amazing!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: