Student media organizations win big at state conference

Colonnades, Elon News Network and Phi Psi Cli collect 11 first-place awards, as well as three Best of Shows, at the annual North Carolina College Media Association gathering hosted on Feb. 26.

For the first time in two years the North Carolina College Media Association hosted its annual conference and awards program in person, gathering student media organizations from across the state to educate, inspire and celebrate the students’ accomplishments.

Elon students Avery Sloan ’25 (from left), Kyra O’Connor ’23 and Kathryn Williams ’22 pose with plaques following the North Carolina College Media Association’s 2021 Statewide College Media Awards.

At the Feb. 26 conference, hosted at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Colonnades Literary and Art Journal, Elon News Network and Phi Psi Cli yearbook were recognized in 17 different categories and collected 11 first-place awards. Additionally, Colonnades, ENN and The Pendulum were honored with Best of Show awards.

The awards contest included hundreds of entries from more than 20 college media outlets from across the state. A list of Elon winners can be found at the bottom of the release.

Nyah Phengsitthy ’23, a communication design and media analytics double major, paced Elon’s student winners, collecting four first-place awards. The Odyssey Scholar won the contest’s Feature Writing, News Writing, Illustration/Graphic and Single- or Two-Page Design categories. Phengsitthy serves as the managing editor of The Pendulum, ENN’s newspaper.

To adhere to COVID-19 protocols on UNC’s campus, four representatives were invited from each university. Elon’s student representatives included Kathryn Williams ’22, Phi Psi Cli editor-in-chief, Kyra O’Connor ’23, ENN executive director, and Avery Sloan ’25, ENN politics editor. Tommy Kopetskie, Phi Psi Cli’s adviser, also attended the conference.

Newspaper—Small School

Best of Show – Newspaper
The Pendulum – Issues from Feb. 17, 2021, and Sept. 8, 2021

Best of Show – Online
Elon News Network –

Digital Storytelling
First place: Courtney Weiner, Abby Gibbs, Samantha Casamento and Amanda Gibson – “Under their wings
Honorable Mention: Mackenzie Wilkes – “A Taxing Divide

Feature Writing
First place: Nyah Phengsitthy – “Elon University’s growing campus brings adaptability concerns for students with physical disabilities
Second place: Kyra O’Connor – “Explaining impostor syndrome


First place: Nyah Phengsitthy – “How we’ve changed in four years
Third place: Caroline Bunder – “Australians have ended mass killings, so why can’t Americans?

News Writing
First place: Nyah Phengsitthy – “Without a trace
Second place: Mackenzie Wilkes – “Addressing chemicals in the Haw River

Opinion Writing
First place: Shannon Segnious – “Did your activism help or hinder the fight for justice?
Third place: Alysha Camm – “Australians have ended mass killings, so why can’t Americans?”

First place: Luke Johnson – “Pro-choice protesters
Third place: Clare Grant – “Men’s basketball

Single- or Two-Page Design
First place: Nyah Phengsitthy and Clare Grant – “Commencement edition cover
Second place: Ted Thomas – “Top 10 articles of the year

Sports Writing
First place: Caitlin Rundle – “Changing the game: name, image, likeness

Literary Magazine

Best of Show

First place: Christy Dickman – “Bug and Postcard”
Second place:  Eliza Sanders – “The Thing About Nothing”

First place: Laura Braley – “Cape Cod Story”
Second place: Olivia Parker – “The Weight of Life”


Student Life Copy
Third place: Kyra O’Connor – “Happy Retirement, Don Grady!
Honorable mention: Emery Eisner – “Queer Life on Campus

Sports Copy
Third place: Kathryn Williams – “A Year Like None Other
Honorable mention: Jacob Kisamore – “Club Sports: COVID Edition

First place: Willem Butler – “Candace Rhodes
Honorable mention: Simeon Phillips – “Follow the Brick Road

Inside Spread Design
Second place: Kathryn Williams – “Follow the Brick Road
Honorable mention: Rachel Cifarelli – “Say Their Names