Communication design student wins national SPJ award

Stephanie Hays '18 was honored for her design work. Two other students were named national finalists in the same contest.

Stephanie Hays '18
Elon University communication design major Stephanie Hays ’18 was named the national winner for Photo Illustration in the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition.

Hays, a rising senior who’s completing a design internship with The Virginian-Pilot this summer, won for a Pendulum front page story titled “Phoenix in a Haze.” Earlier this year, Hays was recognized with two national first-place awards by the College Media Association for some of her previous newspaper design work.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for doing work that I really love and have dedicated myself to,” Hays said. “The Pendulum and Elon News Network have given me a great opportunity to apply my skills and be creative.”

Additionally, SPJ named Alex Simon ’17 and Jane Seidel ’17 national finalists in the Sports Writing and General Column Writing competitions, respectively. Simon was honored for his story “How Elon hosted a USA-USSR women’s basketball game during the middle of the Cold War,” and Seidel was recognized for three of her columns: “Enough with white men behind lecterns,” “Visual transcripts are not a full indicator of the Elon experience” and “The importance of civil discourse and putting my bias into my pocket.”

The national winners and finalists will be acknowledged at the Excellence in Journalism Conference Sept. 7-9 in Anaheim, California.

Hays' award-winning photo illustration
​Prior to this year’s winners, Elon student work has earned 12 other first-place awards since 2010. This includes two national wins in photography competitions from alumnus Al Drago ’15 last year, one from Simon for Sports Writing and one from Leena Dahal ’17 for General Column Writing.