By Dianna ShawSometimes the hardest part is the waiting; communication majors from the University of Houston-Clear Lake anxiously awaited the results of their hard work at the awards ceremony the100th Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention April 9-11.
“This year student publications won a total of 34 awards at both the state and national level,” said Taleen Washington, faculty adviser for student publications. “Each year our students compete against the best in their field, and each year our students more than hold their own.”
A total of five UHCL communication students attended the convention: Matt Griesmyer, The Signal editor; Jenna Simsen, The Signal assistant editor; Amy Garcia, current Bayousphere editor; Laurie Perez, Bayousphere designer and Lindsay Humphrey, production assistant. Awards were given for on-site competitions as well as for previously published works. Entries are evaluated by expert media representatives from around the country.
“The best feeling ever was how proud I felt of myself and my school,” Simsen said. “We were surrounded by many other schools, some with teams of ten or more. We were able to shine with our elite handful of five students who represented our school with pride.”
University of Houston-Clear Lake communication majors generally spend one semester on the staff of The Signal newspaper or Bayousphere literary magazine while enrolled in either the newspaper or magazine publication classes. In contrast, many of the other students entered in the competitions spend up to four years in these types of positions.
“It’s a testament to the quality of education the students receive thanks to the collaborative efforts of all the faculty who teach in the Communication program and the high caliber of students who are attracted to UHCL,” Washington said.
TIPA is the oldest and most prestigious press association in America. It was established by students at Baylor in 1909 with the objectives: to advance journalism on college campuses, to elevate standards of college publications and to unite college editors.
“On-site contests are conducted under a deadline,” Griesmyer said. “This makes them very difficult.”
Perez received an honorable mention for the on-site feature photo contest. She also received numerous other awards including a certificate of Merit from Columbia University of New York for a single spot news photograph, a national award.
“It really was unexpected since I was going up against such prestigious universities,” Perez said. “Winning only amplifies the truth that photography is my calling. I have my family and friends to thank for being so supportive and letting me practice on them all these years but, mostly, I have God to thank for giving me the eye and the talent. I will take this experience into my future knowing that this is my calling.”
In addition to the competitions, workshops were held at the convention to educate attendees on selected topics, such as how to properly prepare your resume, Hispanics in the media, editor’s round table and many others.
“I attended a workshop on how to get a job in television,” Simsen said. “Listening to other student’s reactions and questions within the workshops led me to believe that I was getting the best quality education in the room. I felt like I was more versatile than most other students because I had a more diverse and well-rounded education.”