Oklahoma Baptist University

Telecommunication Students Gain National Recognition

OBU telecommunication students brought home some of the most prestigious scholarships in the state in 2002, winning top awards from several state and national organizations.

Todd Shepherd, a junior from Shawnee, was awarded a national scholarship through the Broadcast Education Association in the fall. It was the first time an OBU student won the award.

Only 26 students nationwide received the BEA scholarship. OBU was the only small Christian college represented, joining institutions like Temple, Syracuse, George Washington University, University of Nebraska, Baylor University, Arizona State University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Illinois.

Ashley Fuller, a senior from Ada; and Erin Gray, a senior from Salt Lake City, Utah, won two of four scholarships given by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters last spring.

Fuller also won the Top College Female Award from the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club. She was awarded the club's $2,500 Bonnie and Gertrude Turner Memorial Scholarship for this academic school year.

The Gridiron Club also awarded the Top College Male Scholarship to an OBU student. Brian Koonce, a sophomore journalism major from Bartlesville, earned the $2,500 W.B. "Bill" Martinueau Memorial Scholarship.

Fuller also won the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority Foundation Scholarship in the fall. An OBU student has won the OETA scholarship eight out of the last 10 years, said Dr. Roger Hadley, chairman of OBU's telecommunication department. That's a good record considering institutions are only allowed to nominate one student per year, he said.

"When our students send in their work materials for these scholarships, it is obvious that they're productive and talented," Hadley said.

"The people are always impressed with the hands-on experience our students have," he added. "It makes a big impression on the interviewer."

The momentum from the student successes was furthered by a $17,000 grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in the fall.

OBU was awarded the grant for the student-produced weekly broadcast "News30." The grant from the foundation, founded by Oklahoma City's Edith Gaylord, allowed OBU to purchase three teleprompters and additional newsroom computers. The funds also will pay for professional development expenses, student internship honorariums, and travel and entrance fees for conferences.

The teleprompters have had the biggest influence on students' ability to work efficiently and professionally on the news program, Hadley said.

"We don't have to worry about breakdowns now," he said. "We can focus on content. They can look and sound so much more professional now."

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