Ashley Wise

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The Yellow Jacket newspaper, a student-run news publication at Waynesburg University, recently earned a record number of awards from two prestigious journalism organizations. For the year 2016, The Yellow Jacket has accrued 16 awards, breaking the previous year’s record of nine awards. 

Between staff, group and individual awards, the newspaper was named as a finalist for 11 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national organization of journalism professionals. The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) awarded the Yellow Jacket a total of five awards, announcing one first place award, one second place award, and three honorable mentions for Waynesburg.

The SPJ Mark of Excellence competition assesses college newspapers by dividing entrants into small schools (1-9,999 students) and large schools (10,000+ students) for some categories. Seven Yellow Jacket staff members were named finalists among small schools in categories including General News, In-Depth Reporting, Sports Writing, Feature Writing and others for a total of 10 awards.

The Yellow Jacket was also named a finalist for the Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper award, which assesses all non-daily newspapers regardless of school size.

“Any time a student wins an award from SPJ, it’s a reminder that the curriculum and program we have for journalism students at Waynesburg is really preparing students for the real world,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, faculty advisor for the Yellow Jacket and instructor of communication. “To win such prestigious awards only further reinforces that students are getting a great education and still enjoying all the benefits of a small-school setting.”

The finalists for these Mark of Excellence awards were selected from among entrants across SPJ Region 4, which includes Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. A group of students will travel to the SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference in Detroit, Michigan, at the end of March to learn how the newspaper placed. First-place winners in each category will move on to the national SPJ competition.

“We set a record last year with five SPJ awards, two of them being first place,” said Kimmi Baston, executive editor of the Yellow Jacket. “Even before finding out our placement, to have surpassed our record by so much is such an amazing accomplishment for the entire Yellow Jacket staff.”

SPJ presents the Mark of Excellence Awards annually, honoring the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. Waynesburg University’s previous record number of Mark of Excellence Awards was five.

In addition to collecting 11 awards from SPJ, the Yellow Jacket received five Student Keystone Press awards from the PNA in Division II, which includes four-year colleges and universities with enrollment under 10,000.

In the General News category, senior Jacob Meyer earned second place for his story “Thomas More women’s basketball stripped of 2014-15 title.” Senior Kyle Dawson earned first place in the Sports Story category for his story “From fringe to spotlight.”

The Yellow Jacket earned honorable mentions in General News (“Dreams will live on” by senior Kimmi Baston), Ongoing News Coverage (“Community addresses ongoing drug use and overdose problem” by senior Kimmi Baston, sophomores Teghan Simoton and Mattie Winowitch and 2016 graduate Anthony Conn) and Sports Story (“NCAA sanctions baseball team for practice violations” by Kimmi Baston). 

“We’re being compared to schools with great journalism programs all across the state, and we’re more than measuring up,” said Baston. “I’m incredibly proud of the individuals whose hard work and countless hours earned them this recognition.”

The Student Keystone Press Awards contest recognizes high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers.

“Winning awards like these is great for resumes and bragging rights, but more importantly they’re a testament to the high quality education that students can get in the Department of Communication,” said Szuminsky. “We believe we’re doing what we say we will when it comes to providing students with real benefits, and this is outside validation and support for that idea.” 

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or

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b2ap3_thumbnail_2-17-fire-dept-donation.jpgWaynesburg University recently presented the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company with a $10,000 check, the final of five installments totaling $50,000, to offset the $417,000 cost of the company’s 2013 Sutphen Rescue Pumper fire engine.

The donations were given in memory of Robert W. Fox, a member of the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company from 1948 to 2011, who died on May 15, 2012, at the age of 83.  Remarkably, Mr. Fox was still actively answering fire calls until 2009. Fox served in many leadership capacities within the fire company during his 62-year tenure including president for 28 years.  His father was a member of the company from 1941 to 1965, and Robert’s four sons and four of his grandsons are active members of the fire company.

Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, along with Heidi Szuminsky, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and University Relations, presented the donation to Jeff Marshall, Fire Chief, and Ron Fox, President of the fire company. 

This donation to the fire company from Waynesburg University continues the University’s long-standing support for fire safety in the community. Previously, the University had presented the company with $50,000 for the purchase of the Fire Simulation Training Trailer and $30,000 toward a new fire truck.  

The University has also donated more than $460,000 to the Waynesburg Borough for the purchase of new police cars, improvements to borough infrastructure, downtown beautification projects, contributions to the Borough Master Plan, recreational fields and parks maintenance and construction equipment.  

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations


724.852.7675 or

Tagged in: University news
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The Waynesburg University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was recognized as the Chapter of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh chapter. Waynesburg was the first-ever recipient of the award, which was presented at the PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards on Jan. 26. 

According to junior Maura Fenske, president of Waynesburg PRSSA, the chapter earned the award in part because of its efforts to build a strong relationship with PRSA Pittsburgh, its parent chapter. The award is also a reflection of the chapter’s continued efforts to expand professional development and commitment to excellence in public relations.

Last year, Waynesburg PRSSA achieved Star Chapter status for the fourth consecutive year and earned National Affiliation from PRSSA National, in addition to hosting a regional conference at the University. Each of these accomplishments has built the chapter’s portfolio and led to their recognition by their parent chapter.

Both Fenske and Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication and advisor to the PRSSA chapter, said the award is an honor and a significant achievement for the chapter, which was formed only seven years ago.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or

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b2ap3_thumbnail_1-16-MLKConvocation-4.jpgWaynesburg University celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a ceremony in Roberts Chapel Monday, Jan. 16. 

Introduced by Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, Dr. Taunya Tinsley, Director of Waynesburg University’s Graduate Programs in Counseling and Associate Professor of Counseling at the University, served as the speaker. Dr. Tinsley opened her address, “We Cannot Walk Alone,” with an excerpt from King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. 

She shared that as she studied King’s historic speech, the phrase “we cannot walk alone” repeatedly caught her attention. 

“We cannot walk alone,” she said. “As we walk, we must walk in harmony with each other and with God.” 

In order to do so, Dr. Tinsley encouraged all in attendance to be just and act justly; to love and to diligently practice kindness and compassion; and to walk humbly with God. 

Dr. Tinsley is a licensed professional counselor with more than 20 years of experience working at the secondary and collegiate levels. Her experiences include working with culturally diverse educators, students and athletes in a variety of athletic conferences, such as the Big Ten, Big East, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), as well as the National Football League (NFL), National Football Foundation and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dr. Tinsley is the owner of Transitions Counseling Service LLC and Life Skills Program where she provides individual, marriage, family and group counseling and consultation services. Additionally, she is the Clinical Director of the Mount Ararat Baptist Church Counseling Center.

Outside of the workplace, she has been very involved in the community, having served as the secretary of the Ethics Concern Committee of the National Association of Academic Advisors of Athletics and secretary of the entire organization. Dr. Tinsley has also been president of the Pennsylvania College Counseling Association and president of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Augsburg College, a master’s degree in higher education administration and college student development from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in counselor education and supervision from Duquesne University.

Dr. Tinsley most recently completed requirements for a certificate in missional theology from Biblical Seminary and her Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or

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b2ap3_thumbnail_10-4-Homecoming-court.jpgWaynesburg University recently announced its 2016 Homecoming Court. The crowning of the 2016 Homecoming King and Queen will take place during halftime of the University’s homecoming game against Geneva College Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at John F. Wiley Stadium. 

The Homecoming Court includes:

  • Luke Carter, senior accounting major from Saegertown (Saegertown High School)
  • Stacey Martin, senior human services major from Washington (McGuffey High School) 
  • Anne McGlaughlin, senior public relations major from Pittsburgh (Brentwood High School)
  • Benjamin Neff, senior psychology major from Bentleyville (Bentworth High School) 
  • Emily Nowakowski, senior psychology major from Bridgeport, Ohio (Bridgeport High School)
  • Evan Pennington, senior criminal justice administration major from Allison Park (Central Catholic High School)
  • Torre Remish, senior psychology major from Belle Vernon (Charleroi High School) 
  • Kathryn Romanchuck, senior nursing major from Mount Airy, Md. (home schooled)  
  • Travis Sumner, senior forensic accounting major from Bentleyville (Canon-McMillan High School)

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or

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