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b2ap3_thumbnail_2-16-MattieWinowitch.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, recently got word that it received eight awards from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA), for work published in the 2017 calendar year.

The PNA is a nonprofit trade association for print and online media in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each year, student and professional journalists are given the opportunity to submit entries for the Keystone Press Awards, in categories including general news, profile and feature writing and photography, among others.

Staff members and alumni from The Yellow Jacket won a total of eight awards in the Division II category, for four year colleges and universities with enrollment under 10,000. This is four more awards than the publication received from the organization last year, which had been a record-breaking year. For Mattie Winowitch, junior journalism major and executive editor of The Yellow Jacket, this is an exciting accomplishment.

“This is a moment that I have been waiting for from the moment I first sat in my executive editor chair this past August,” said Winowitch. “And to be able to say that I helped lead my staff to accomplish this difficult and amazing feat is more than I could ever ask for.”

Winowitch attributes the success to the hard work of staff members and the leadership of The Yellow Jacket advisors. The newspaper has a longstanding reputation for being professionally recognized—winning 4 awards from PNA and 11 from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017. Winowitch is excited to maintain that momentum.

“The Yellow Jacket has a deep history of being award-winning, and by maintaining that pattern, we are further showing the world that we are very skilled at what we do,” she said. “With each award, we are putting Waynesburg University on the map, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

Sarah Bell, academic communications coordinator and one of The Yellow Jacket advisors, was ecstatic to hear about the awards. She said the accolades are testament to the hard work the staff puts into publication each week.

“I am incredibly proud of The Yellow Jacket staff for all of their work this year,” said Bell. “Winning a record-breaking eight PNA Keystone Press Awards is a reflection of how dedicated and multi-talented the newspaper staff is. Being selected to receive awards in a range of categories – from featuring writing and sports to photography and layout – speaks volumes to the quality of student journalism at The Yellow Jacket.”

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Ashley Wise, Director of University Relations
724.852.7675 or

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The Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter has received the PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance PRSSA Chapter of the Year award for the second consecutive year. The Chapter was recognized at the Renaissance Awards held last week.

Members of the Waynesburg University Chapter feel honored to be the only chapter to receive the award, which was presented for the first time in 2017.

“To be chosen as their first two winners both times was pretty incredible, and I have our chapter members to thank for that,” said Maura Fenske, senior public relations major and president of the Waynesburg University PRSSA chapter. “They’ve really worked tirelessly to make the chapter the success that it is, so to be able to recognize them with this award is really rewarding for me and for us as an executive board.”

The Chapter has received PRSSA Star Chapter Status nationally for five consecutive years and had members receive numerous national and regional awards according to faculty adviser and Department Chair Richard Krause.

“The students have invested significantly in this chapter, and they have accomplished many of our long-term goals in a relatively short time,” said Krause. “They have set a very high standard for future public relations students to follow.”

Amanda Troncone, junior public relations major and vice president of the chapter, said she believes the award shows the quality of the programs available at Waynesburg University.

“We are being recognized by our parent chapter for two years in a row that we are the best chapter that they have. I think that also challenges us, moving forward, to continue to push for excellence,” said Troncone.

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Ashley Wise, Director of University Relations
724.852.7675 or

Tagged in: communication news
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b2ap3_thumbnail_2-2-Fenske.jpgMaura Fenske, a senior public relations major at Waynesburg University, recently received the 2018 Bob O’Gara Student Scholarship Award from the Pittsburgh chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Fenske was recognized last week at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards, which recognized outstanding work in the public relations industry.

To receive this scholarship, a student must show excellent communication skills, academic achievement, moral leadership and knowledge in the field of public relations.

“Winning the O’Gara was definitely unexpected, and it was a huge honor for me,” said Fenske. “For the committee to award me the scholarship that represents such a huge name and the Pittsburgh Public Relations industry is really humbling, and I’m glad to be able to represent not only the chapter, but the Department [of Communication] and the University in this way.”

Fenske has led Waynesburg University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) for two years and has demonstrated excellent leadership during this time, according Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication and PRSSA faculty adviser at Waynesburg University.

“Maura has been an effective leader for our chapter,” said Krause. “Under her leadership, the chapter has continued to receive national recognition and achieve many of its long term goals.”

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Ashley Wise, Director of University Relations
724.852.7675 or

Tagged in: communication news
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b2ap3_thumbnail_11-8-nur-cj.jpgWaynesburg University nursing, criminal justice and communication students gained hands-on experience during a Mock Emergency Training Exercise Tuesday, Nov. 7.

While nursing students responded to a mock incident in the University’s state-of-the-art Simulation Lab, communication students were tasked with attending a mock press conference and covering the event. Criminal justice students served as actors during the incident. All students had the opportunity to learn alongside professionals who have chosen a life of service in public safety.

“This critical incident training for the nursing program also provided a multitude of other educational benefits to our criminal justice students and communication students, as well as collaborative first responder training opportunity for our local police department and the University's Public Safety Department,” said Jim Tanda, instructor of criminal justice and Waynesburg University’s director of security operations and emergency management.

Waynesburg University, in conjunction with local law enforcement and the University’s Department of Public Safety, conducted the multi-disciplinary training exercise in the Paul R. Stewart Science Hall. The simulation was designed for senior nursing students in the Clinical Prevention & Population Health course. 

Organized by Tanda, Dr. Kathy Stolfer, associate professor of nursing, and Eve Weaver, instructor of nursing, this academic training exercise was designed primarily to provide nursing students with a highly participative, experiential learning opportunity. 

“Health care providers need to be prepared and are often targets of various forms of violence,” said Stolfer. “The simulation event was designed to better prepare our nursing students for such an event through an inter-professional collaborative approach.”

Previously, the University held a similar learning drill in April 2015 in Buhl Hall, in coordination with local, state and federal law enforcement.

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Ashley Wise, Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or

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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

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