Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-02-19

Two Samford University students claimed top honors at the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC), and the school ranked 10th 

in overall honors given at the event, held Feb. 11-13.

Jennifer Davell, a May, 2009, Samford graduate, won first place in the journalism research paper category for a project done prior to graduation.

Kaitlin McCulley was named best television journalist based on her work with Samford News Network. A senior journalism and mass communication major from Cantonment, Fla., McCulley also was named best broadcast anchor in on-site competition held at the conference.

Altogether, the Samford JMC department collected 12 honors in the competition, which included 330 eligible entries from 32 member schools in seven states. The annual SEJC meeting was held at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.

Student media advisor Kenny Smith was pleased with Samford’s showing, noting that competitors represented such “big dogs” as the University of Alabama, Emory University, University of Mississippi, Vanderbilt University and Auburn University.

Earning second place honors for Samford  were:  Emily Leithauser, magazine page layout designer; and Carol Anne Autry, advertising staff member. Samford’s Exodus was named second best college magazine.

Third place awards went to:  Bryan Kessler, opinion-editorial writer; and Lauren Womack, radio journalist. Womack also won third place in radio news on-site competition.

Finalists in other categories were Don Orr, press photographer; Samford News Network, college TV station; and the Crimson website,, college website.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.