Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

 PW Award winner.JPGOutstanding PW Award Winner Katie Grimes (c), with honorable mentions Ashley Lyles (l), and Caroline White (r)

Katie Grimes Wins Outstanding PW Senior Award 

Researched and written by Suzanna Smentowski

This year marks the first time the Professional Writing (PW) program has given out the Outstanding PW Senior Award. This award recognizes a graduating PW major who demonstrates excellence in the classroom, success in experiential learning, and engagement in the community. The winner receives a check for $2,500.  According to PW faculty member Jonathan Ritz, “The level of academic achievement and extracurricular involvement among the nominated students was very, very high.”

This year’s PW Outstanding Senior Award went to Katie Grimes.

During her time at MSU, Katie has traveled to London and Paris with Prof. Liza Potts to research how Princess Diana is memorialized, worked with Prof. Alexandra Hidalgo on her documentary and for agnès films, helped English professor Natalie Phillips on her book as her editorial assistant, and worked as the managing editor for Exceptions, a student-run journal showcasing the creative work of individuals with visual disabilities.

“I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned in my PW courses and apply those lessons to experiences outside the classroom,” she said. “I think it’s a testament to the success of the program, as well as the initiative of its students.” Upon graduation, Katie plans to find a job either in publishing or the nonprofit sector working as an editor.

The PW Outstanding Senior Award also recognizes two Honorable Mentions. This year, Ashley Lyles and Caroline White were given this honor.

When asked about her experience in PW, Ashley said, “Being a student in the Professional Writing program has been such a phenomenal experience for me. I have had the opportunity to meet and to work with an amazing, talented cohort of students.” After graduation Ashley is entering a graduate program at New York University to study journalism concentrated on science, health, and environmental reporting. Her long-term goal is to complete medical school and then pursue a dual career as a physician and medical journalist. 

Caroline, who plans to pursue a career in communication and design for a museum or nonprofit organization, also had great things to say about receiving recognition as an Honorable Mention. “One of the best things about being a PW major has been learning from all of the talented, intelligent, and kind people around me, both students and faculty. So many people have accomplished remarkable things. The committee’s decision couldn’t have been easy.”

And it wasn’t.

According to Prof. Ritz, “It was an extremely tough decision for the PW faculty—but from our perspective, that’s a pretty nice problem to have.”