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Posted by on in News

b2ap3_thumbnail_6-13-YJ-national-award.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, recently won the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) 2016 Mark of Excellence Award for In-Depth Reporting, Small School Division. The award represents the newspaper’s first national-level win.

“Winning a national award for this series, which was the work of four students over the course of an entire calendar year, not only is incredible for these students and is validation of their incredible talent, but is also a reminder to the rest of The Yellow Jacket and other students in the department that hard work really does pay off,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of communication and faculty advisor for The Yellow Jacket.

Waynesburg University was only one of two Pennsylvania universities to earn a national award in any of the newspaper categories.

The entry was a five-story series on the heroin epidemic written by Kimmi Baston, Anthony Conn, Teghan Simonton and Mattie Winowitch, and it was one of four first-place region awards received by The Yellow Jack in April, all of which were sent on to be judged nationally against the 11 other SPJ regions.

“Any time our students’ work is recognized is exciting, but to be judged the very best in the entire country is phenomenal,” said Szuminsky. “It’s hard to put too fine a point on this, but these four students wrote a series of articles that beat out every student journalist at every college and university with 10,000 students or fewer.”

All national winners and finalists will be recognized at the SPJ’s 2017 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Anaheim, California, in September.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724-852-7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_WUPRSSA.jpgWaynesburg University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (WUPRSSA) was recently awarded the Star Chapter Award for the fourth consecutive year. The award was presented at the PRSSA 2016 National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Waynesburg’s chapter was one of 42 chapters granted star chapter status out of the more than 350 student chapters throughout the country. Chapters are selected based upon the completion of specific criteria, such as the completion of community service projects, high school outreach and association with regional and national Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) events, meetings and conferences.

“The recognition places us among the elite PRSSA chapters nationally,” said Richard Krause, assistant professor of communication and chair of the Communication Department. “It demonstrates how strong our academic program is here, and, as a result, it provides us with a great recruiting opportunity.”

Krause attended the conference with six chapter members:

  • Maura Fenske, junior public relations major from Wintersville, Ohio (Wood County Christian School)
  • Natalie Gloady, senior public relations major from Washington, Pennsylvania (Washington High School)
  • Cassidy Graham, senior public relations and digital design major from Washington, Pennsylvania (Trinity High School)
  • Zachary Sniadach, senior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  (Brentwood High School)
  • Amanda Troncone, sophomore public relations major from Tioga, Pennsylvania (Williamson High School)
  • Taylor White, senior public relations major and journalism minor from Washington, Pennsylvania (Trinity High School)

According to Krause, students who attend the conference benefit from a variety of workshops and presentations. Students also have the opportunity to network with influential practitioners in the public relations field from across the country.

“The conference has also served to reinforce the work that we do here,” said Krause. “Students are discovering that we have something really special in place at Waynesburg University.”

In addition to the chapter award, 2016 Waynesburg public relations graduate, Jordan Mitrik, was presented with the PRSSA National Gold Key Award. The award, which is the highest individual honor bestowed upon PRSSA members, recognizes outstanding academic excellence in public relations and leadership in the PRSSA.

Mitrik submitted an application during his senior year at Waynesburg which highlighted his work and leadership positions with WUPRSSA, the student-run firm Red Brick Communications, and internships and other field-related experience.

“Winning this award is a reminder of the hard work and dedication I put in during the four years as a public relations student and member of WUPRSSA,” said Mitrik. “It truly is an honor that my efforts have been recognized, and it only pushes me to do bigger and better things in the industry now as a professional.”

Mitrik is currently employed at Brunner, a full-service marketing and advertising agency, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the board and blog coordinator for PRSA Pittsburgh.

“Few people understand how difficult it is to receive the Gold Key, and we have had students receive it in consecutive years,” said Krause.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724-852-7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

 

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Posted by on in Alumni

b2ap3_thumbnail_JD-Lydic-2.JPGRecent sports broadcasting and sports information graduate, J.D. Lydic, has uprooted to Erie, Pennsylvania, to start his career in the news industry.

Lydic is currently a multimedia journalist for WICU and WSEE of Erie News Now, an NBC affiliated television station. He is responsible for coming in to work each day with multiple stories, and his news director chooses which stories are classified as newsworthy.

In a single day, Lydic goes out into the community to record video and conduct interviews. He then returns to the studio to edit his footage into a short news package that is accompanied by a script he prepares after the video editing is complete. Complete packages are then posted onto the station’s website with a written story.

When Lydic thinks back to his time at Waynesburg, he recounts how he was prepared for the workforce.

“Waynesburg allowed me to get on-air experience in television,” he said. “I was taught how to be part of the community and what makes a good news story.”

Lydic attributes professors Lanny Frattare, Melinda Roeder, Brandon Szuminsky and Bill Molzon for helping him become a great broadcaster with a wide skill set that made him more marketable when searching for his first job out of college.

Thus far, Lydic has learned that it is a busy world in news and the deadlines come quickly, as he is responsible for all aspects of creating a story.

“I have learned that it takes a lot of work and the starting things young reporters are asked to do can be many,” he said. “You must work through it all to become successful.”

Lydic also noted that Waynesburg’s mission taught him how to be a servant in the community by using his talents as a voice for the public.

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Posted by on in Internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Kimmi-Baston.JPGOn the fifty-seventh floor of the US Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, Pa., soon-to-be senior Kimmi Baston is working as a summer intern for the largest employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC.

Baston, a journalism major with minors in marketing and public relations, is serving as a summer associate in the Marketing and Communications Department for Clinical Marketing at UPMC.

Baston is creating promotional materials for clinical services and works specifically with emergency/trauma medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and urgent care. She also interviews former patients about their treatment at UPMC. Among a list of other tasks, she will be planning several marketing initiatives.

The biggest challenge thus far has been familiarizing herself with the medical lingo she has to incorporate into her writing.

“I have to research and learn about every condition, treatment, policy, hospital, doctor and service before I can even have a prayer of writing about it,” said Baston. “It’s awesome – I love getting to learn so much about medicine in addition to what I’m learning about my field.”

More than 5,000 applicants applied for the Summer Associate Program, while only 94 were selected.

“That’s such a small percentage of people to be hired, so I’m so honored and in awe that I am one of them.”

Baston credits Waynesburg for helping to prepare her for this opportunity. As the executive editor of the student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a leading scholar, among other accolades, her experience at the University is what set her apart from the competition.

“I have to be professional, take initiative, work well on a team and communicate effectively,” she said. “I’ve developed all of those skills through all of my WU activities. It’s possible I could be in an elevator with one of our four chief officers at any time, but thanks to WU, I’m not nervous about it.”

Baston talked about how Waynesburg further prepared her for her internship at the healthcare company that is highly involved with the surrounding region.

“The fact that I possess the skills to do my work is a total tribute to being so involved in journalism and having such great instruction at Waynesburg,” said Baston.

Baston’s favorite experience thus far was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ victory parade after winning the Stanley Cup. She and her fellow interns were recruited to pass out posters to fans to promote the “Thank You Pens” initiative.

“Pittsburgh pride is infectious, and I am honored to be a part of an organization that, despite its enormous size and many responsibilities, continuously cares so much for the community and its people,” said Baston.

Along with her daily tasks, Baston also has the opportunity to attend networking events. Working along fellow interns, she is experiencing life in a corporate world and is putting into action what she has learned at Waynesburg.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_ConferenceLogoJPEG.jpgWaynesburg University’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will host a regional conference Friday, April 8, through Saturday, April 9, 2016. The event, which will take place on Waynesburg’s campus, will afford attendees the opportunity to network with public relations professionals and expand their knowledge of the field.

“Caffeinate Your Career,” the slogan defining Waynesburg PRSSA’s regional conference, symbolizes stimulating your career to ensure success in the professional world.

“It [the theme] is intended to play off of the running joke in PR: that we all run on coffee due to the demands of our positions,” said Samantha Peer, senior public relations major and co-director of the regional conference. “Within the event, we plan to incorporate coffee-themed speakers and favors, as well as a community outreach initiative centered around coffee.”

PRSSA chooses approximately 10 of its chapters to host regional conferences each year. Chapters interested in hosting a regional conference must submit a bid form to PRSSA Headquarters outlining the conference’s budget, logistics, promotion plan, schedule and theme. Bid forms are reviewed and chapters are chosen by PRSSA Headquarters, as well as its national president and vice president of regional conferences.

“The process of bidding for the regional conference was challenging and nerve wracking, but exciting at the same time,” said Peer. “Basically, when bidding, you are planning everything, start to finish, so that your Chapter presents itself as though it is prepared to take on this large responsibility.”

Richard Krause, chair of Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication and faculty adviser to Waynesburg’s Chapter of PRSSA, expresses his excitement to host a regional conference, as it will recognize the hard work and dedication of the institution’s public relations students.

“Hosting a regional conference has been one of our Chapter’s goals since its inception, and now, just five short years later, we are fulfilling that objective,” said Krause. “This is a large feat, especially since we are the smallest university that was chosen to host a conference. However, I have confidence in our students and their abilities to execute a well-planned, professional event.”

For more information about Waynesburg University PRSSA’s regional conference, “Caffeinate Your Career,” please visit info.waynesburg.edu/caffeinateyourcareer.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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