University of Central Arkansas student journalists took home 72 prizes recently at the annual Arkansas College Media Association conference at Central Baptist College.

The Echo won 28 awards, including second place for Newspaper of the Year and Newspaper Editor of the Year Marisa Ketchum. The Scroll yearbook received 20 awards, including second-place cover by Jaison Sterling, and Yearbook Editor of the Year Callie France Sterling. The Vortex earned 19 awards, including Magazine of the Year and Magazine Editor of the Year Sarah F. Wilson. News 6 took home five awards, including first place in News Reporting.

"The students on all of these staffs spend a lot of time on these publications and do a great job," said David Keith, faculty media adviser for The Echo and lecturer in Journalism. "It’s good to see them get some recognition for the excellent work they’ve done. These students are showing they have the skills to succeed professionally, and they also are filling an important role in making sure that people across campus are informed about what is going on at UCA."

Brandon Riddle, The Echo’s graduating editor, shepherded a convergence of UCA’s student news outlets this spring.

"The ACMA awards are a tremendous honor as The Echo continues to push for more comprehensive coverage of the university in print and online," he said. "Our staff and other UCA student publication staffs remain dedicated to producing quality work."

Dr. Polly Walter, faculty media adviser for the Scroll and assistant professor of Journalism, said she was thrilled that Callie France Sterling was chosen as the 2014 Yearbook Editor of the Year.

"She certainly deserved the honor," Walter said. "Callie is the only student, since I came to UCA in 1990, who I remember being the UCA Scroll yearbook editor two years in a row. Callie has a very fun personality and a strong work ethic I was impressed with the other numerous awards the Scroll won. Along with a first place for our cover art by Jaison Sterling, we won awards in design, photography and writing. Overall, I was very pleased with our results. I found out later that we ranked third place in overall yearbook general excellence."

Callie France Sterling said that winning Yearbook Editor of the Year was a high mark for her.

"Receiving this award was one of the proudest moments of my college career," Sterling said. "Being a part of the Scroll has taught me many things, including leadership and design, and it has allowed me to sharpen my photography and writing skills. Best of all I have formed strong bonds with fellow staffers and Dr. Walter, who I now call my friends."

Garry Craig Powell, Vortex faculty adviser and associate professor of writing, also showed great pride in his students’ publication and the awards it received.

"Vortex winning 19 awards, including the most prestigious ones, General Excellence and Editor of the Year, shows clearly that we remain the best undergraduate literary magazine in the state, in spite of significantly increased competition in recent years," Powell said. "Needless to say, I am very proud of the staff and consider this a vindication of the undergraduate Creative Writing Program at UCA, which I don’t hesitate to call the best in the state, and one of the strongest in the region."

The Vortex’s 2013-2014 editor, Taylor Lea Hicks, said that she was proud of last year’s staff.

"We knew at the launch party [last] April that we had something special, and it’s always nice to have others validate those feelings," Hicks said. "I think it speaks of the talent at UCA that many of the awards we won were for content, generated by the students. I hope Vortex can continue to showcase that talent for many years to come."

Central Baptist College hosted the ACMA event, providing breakfast and the awards luncheon at the Mabee Student Services Dining Hall.

Students had the opportunity to attend two of eight journalism sessions by various instructors, journalists and yearbook representatives during the conference in CBC’s new Watkins Administration Building. The sessions provided tips and tricks for today’s journalists in writing, photography and design.

"This is the first year that Ann Gardner has hosted the ACMA conference at Central Baptist College," Walter said. "She assured the ACMA editorial board that once the [Watkins] building was completed that she would host the conference, and she did. CBC did a great job hosting the conference. I heard through several students from the various state colleges that attended that they really enjoyed the choice of workshops. They were a bit different from other conventions."

A complete list of Winners can be found online at