Beacon Staff Members Bring Home Statewide Awards


Gabby Glinski

Student Keystone Award winners are, from left to right: Elyse Guziewicz, Sarah Bedford, Alyssa Mursch, Shawn Carey and James Jasolka.

Five members of The Beacon staff have been chosen as recipients for the statewide Keystone Press Awards for the 2014 calendar year.

Shawn Carey, The Beacon’s social media director and a senior within the Department of Communication Studies, won first place in the “Personality Profile” category for his piece entitled “Fighting ALS: How one professor’s brave fight is inspiring a whole campus”.

Elyse Guziewicz, a freshman within the English Department, was awarded second place within the “column writing” category for a series of three columns.

James Jaskolka, editor-in chief and a junior in the Department of Communication Studies, Sarah Bedford, news editor and sophomore political science and communication studies major and Alyssa Mursch, sophomore, were awarded an Honorable Mention for their continued, on-going news coverage regarding the loss of a Colonel, Jonathan Ratchko.

The Keystone Press Awards are open to all Pennsylvania higher education institutions. The Beacon staff members competed against all statewide institutions with 10,000 or fewer students.

Dr. Kalen Churcher, faculty advisor for the award-winning campus newspaper, said she is excited about the recognition her staff has received.

“I’m thrilled to see the students being recognized for their hard work,” said Churcher, who also serves as a professor within the department of Communication Studies. “It’s quite an accomplishment for The Beacon to be recognized with not one, but three awards. It says a lot for the paper, the communication studies department and the university overall.”

Churcher also pointed out that The Beacon award recipients and the staff in general span over a variety of concentrations and can be rewarding to students regardless of the field they’re studying.

According to Churcher, who has worked professionally in the journalism field since 1998, the Keystone Press Awards are seen as prestigious and are well known to industry professionals. The assistant professor looks to the future as an opportunity for further Beacon success.

“All of The Beacon staffers have worked hard this semester. I’m so proud of everyone and the effort they’ve put into making changes to the paper,” added Churcher. “I’m really looking forward to what’s in store for the future.”

For more information on the award recipients or the rest of The Beacon staff, visit their staff profiles via