Virginia Professional Communicators

Virginia Professional Communicators Announces 2016 Communications Contest Award Recipients

VPC awards (1)

Hannah Davis (left) won second place and Marge Swayne (right) won first place in the sweepstakes competition for the 2016 VPC Communications Contest.

Virginia Professional Communicators presented awards for excellence in communications at its annual conference held at the George Washington Hotel, Winchester, April 14-15.

VPC honored 22 winners in its annual communications contest. Judges awarded 40 first places, 31 second places, 23 third places and 23 honorable mentions in such categories as newspaper writing, public relations, advertising, photo journalism, internet and magazine writing and digital media.

The 2016 sweepstakes winner was Marge Swayne with the Farmville Herald. The sweepstakes award is determined by a point system that considers the total number of entries submitted to the contest and the number and level (first, second, third, honorable mention) of awards received.


Bonnie Atwood named 2016 Communicator of Achievement

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Bonnie Atwood (right) poses with VPC President Gail Kent at the 2016 Conference.

Bonnie Atwood has accomplished so much in life, you’d swear she had skates strapped to her feet. Oh wait – she DID have skates on her feet – but more about that later.

On Friday, April 15 at the 2016 VPC Conference in Winchester, Atwood was named the 2016 Communicator of Achievement for her career achievements and many contributions to the organization and community.

Today Atwood writes about family, health and human rights, is an experienced professional lobbyist and a founding member of the Virginia Association of Professional Lobbyists. Her business, Tall Poppies Freelance Writing LLC, is state certified as a Small Women or Minority Owned (SWAM) business. The tagline for Tall Poppies is, “Where ideas take root, grow tall, and pop!”


Virginia Tech Flint, Michigan, water crisis research team named ‘Newsmaker of the Year

Flint team-Marc's house

Members of the VT research team gathers at Dr. Edwards’ home. Dr. Edwards is center front. To his left (right in photo) is the Walters family who contacted him from Flint, Michigan, setting the project in motion.

A research team comprised of three professors (Marc Edwards, PhD; Amy Pruden, PhD; and Joe Falkinham, PhD) and two dozen undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students at Virginia Tech has been named 2016 VPC Newsmaker of the Year.

The team uncovered high levels of lead in the water in Flint, Michigan, resulting in an international scandal that has made worldwide news and will continue to do so for many years. Four students from the team, Christina Devine, Emily Garner, Anurag Mantha and Siddhartha Roy will accept the award on behalf of the team at the VPC Annual Conference in Winchester on April 14.

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Are you are a journalist, PR person, freelance writer, author, blogger or other communicator looking for a compatible professional organization in Virginia – a place where you can learn how to market yourself and your work? A place where you can hone your skills through excellent professional development meetings? A place where you can make … (read more…)



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The communications contests, professional development opportunities and friendships with other communicators are just a few of the reasons you should take the time now to invest in yourself and your professional career and renew your NFPW membership for 2016.

We have an exciting year ahead. This is the third year of conducting the communications contest online, and we continue to refine the contest to make it even more user-friendly. In 2015, we made a number of changes to and will continue to improve our website in the coming year.

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Listed in approximate reverse order by publication of author’s newest book


treasureTwo of Linda Salisbury’s books in the Bailey Fish Adventure series have won top honors.“Treasure in Sugar’s Book Barn,” won gold for Best Children’s Fiction in the President’s Book Awards sponsored by the Florida Publishers Association. And, her newest book, “Earthquake Surprise,” took a bronze medal in the prestigious Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the pre-teen fiction category.


KaylaSolsbak (1)Kayla Solsbak, a sophomore at the University of Richmond, is the recipient of the Virginia Press Women Foundation’s 2016 Agnes Cooke Scholarship. She was announced as this year’s scholarship winner at the annual conference of Virginia Professional Communicators, with which the foundation is affiliated, at the George Washington Inn in Winchester on Friday, April 15. The VPW Foundation awards a scholarship every year to a deserving Virginia college student who is interested in pursuing a career in communications. Kayla received a $1,000 scholarship and a year’s membership in VPC. Kayla is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is from Lakeside, California. (See full story.)

University of Richmond Student Wins Scholarship University of Richmond Student Wins Scholarship