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W&L Student Wins Regional, National Journalism Awards

Rachel Adams-Heard, a junior business journalism major at Washington and Lee University, has won first place for general news reporting-newspaper (small school division) in Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2014 college journalism competition.

Adams-Heard’s entry, “Commercial Drones Take Off in Charlotte,” published by the Charlotte Observer (www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article9147617.html), also was one of only two finalists nationally in SPJ’s Mark of Excellence contest. Region 2 includes colleges and universities in Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.

A project by four other W&L students was named a regional finalist in the Online In-Depth Reporting category. Seniors Micah Fleet of Cordova, Tennessee, and Janey Fugate of Atlanta and 2014 graduates Evelyn Rupert of Frederick, Maryland, and Andy Soergel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, won for “Natural Bridge,” published by W&L’s website and online television news program, Rockbridge Report (http://naturalbridge.academic.wlu.edu/).

Adams-Heard will work as an intern at Bloomberg News in Washington, D.C., this summer. She has previously performed internships at CBS News in Washington, the Charlotte Observer, and in the news department of NPR member station KUT (90.5 FM) in her hometown of Austin, Texas. At W&L, she has written for the independent student newspaper Ring Tum Phi and reported and edited Rockbridge Report. She also received the Landon B. Lane Memorial Scholarship, a journalism scholarship awarded annually to one junior, and volunteered as campus coordinator for Rockbridge Area Special Olympics.

A graduate of James Bowie High School, Adams-Heard plans a career as a financial and economic news reporter. She is the daughter of Martha Adams and David Heard of Austin.