Excellence abundant in society

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Posted Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Kailyn Lamb, SPJ President: left and SPJ Treasurer Nikki Work: right. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

Kailyn Lamb, SPJ President: left and SPJ Treasurer Nikki Work: right, are always on the move. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

DENVER, Auraria Campus —The Auraria Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD,) student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ,) are not just talking the talk, they are walking the walk. This is precisely the case with Kailyn Lamb and Nikki Work.

“I would like to set the foundation to help create something that’s going to last on this campus,” explains Lamb the student President of the Auraria student chapter of the SPJ.

Lamb isn’t usually far from her close ally Nikki Work, the–acting student SPJ Treasurer. “We want to be able to leave a legacy for underclassmen to pick up and not feel like they’re reinventing the wheel,” Work says.

Work believes that in order to be a successful journalist, the two most important attributes a journalist must possess are determination and truthfulness. She is not afraid to speak her mind on the topics of integrity and accountability.

Lamb on the other hand, believes that diversity and getting a feeling for the room are the most important attributes a journalist should possess. Lamb is extremely perceptive–she believes little nuances give the details of what’s really going on within any given situation away to a patient observer. Lamb gracefully looks around the lounge, keenly smiles and says, “I’m a colorful person.”

Auraria Student Union on a bustling February day. [Photo by Tommy Trask]

Auraria Student Union on a bustling February day. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

Kayla Whitney is a Senior at MSUD. She is also Editor-in-Chief for The Metropolitan, a local urban newspaper distributed by the university. Whitney knows that being a member of the SPJ comes with prestigious privileges.

“We just submitted 21 categories this year … last year we had eight awards,” Whitney said about the relevance of an SPJ award. “Having that on your resume is a huge thing.” Building a career is extremely important while a college student is still in school–an SPJ award moving forward is, “always a big step,” she says.

Lamb explained that the awards were given out regionally and were not limited to journalism students. Work and Lamb both agree that you don’t have to be journalism major in order to win an SPJ award. The SPJ has many robust categories of awards including photography, Ethics, and the “Mark of Excellence” awards–just to name a few.

Many different people on campus qualify for the SPJ. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

Many different people on campus qualify for the SPJ. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

The scholarship and grant funds handed out by the SPJ need to be taken advantage of by students and many opportunities are always available. The multitude of added features and services the SPJ offer, are merely a bonus, provided by an already incredible society. Publications the SPJ distributes to members, such as “Quill,” are world renowned, yet, focus mainly on American journalism.

The Auraria student chapter will be hitting the pavement on campus with a fresh approach this semester. Adding to an already impressive award total, but the Auraria SPJ isn’t finished yet. In fact, they are only getting started. “We’re really working on programming,” Lamb says.

Lamb and her co-cabinet members are always working on something new. The environment among the members of the SPJ is constantly evolving toward brilliance in journalism–it doesn’t stop just because old cabinet members rotate out of the student chapter and into the working world.

The SPJ is planning to administer leadership training to those who qualify. They are holding meetings for future events, traveling to Salt Lake City, conducting a [tentative] campus wide fundraising event, as well as, producing a groundbreaking documentary screening of “Girl Rising,” that is sure to be both inspirational and empowering for all those deciding to join in on the event. These are only some of the events planned for the remainder of the spring semester here at Auraria.

In-between all the internships, meetings, work, school, and too many other things to list–Work and Lamb, still find time to further the cause of the SPJ. They personally helped resurrect the SPJ from a rocky turnover after gaining leadership control last fall. The Auraria student chapter is operating stronger than it did in its recent past. The student SPJ leadership’s position and vision for the future is–20 years from now employers will see SPJ awards on job applications. “That would be beautiful,” Lamb says.

MSUD is a place of both opportunity and beauty. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

MSUD is a place of both opportunity and beauty. [Photo by: Tommy Trask]

The Auraria student chapter of the SPJ wants to see more involvement from students to further their careers, while still attending college. The SPJ can help springboard a career–and the scholarship and grant monies don’t hurt the SPJ’s cause one bit. The society is an esteemed organization with lasting member benefits. “It is something that is going to be part of your life,” Work says.

As for Lamb, “I would love to be able to give future students the resources, and the know-how, to go out into the world and find a job.”

Clearly, Lamb and work have gained the resources and education necessary to go out and get great jobs–their leadership and multi-tasking abilities speak for themselves. Lamb was conducting journalistic research of her own for an upcoming book, meanwhile, Work seemed to be setting up an appointment on her phone–during the Post-Telegraph interview and neither of them missed one syllable while speaking.

Many student cabinet members of the Auraria SPJ will graduate soon, but, they are still here for the time being. They are more than helpful and will assist anybody determined enough to be a cut above the rest. The Society of Professional Journalists is chalked full of consummate professionals such as Lamb and Work. Whoever is determined enough–will replace them once they are no longer on campus next fall.

Contact the Auraria student chapter of the SPJ: Kailyn Lamb/ Shaun T. Schafer, Journalism Department, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Join the Society of Professional Journalists at: https://www.spj.org/

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Tommy Trask

About Tommy Trask

Thomas Trask is a Denver-Area Freelance Writer and Convergent Journalist.

View all posts by Tommy Trask

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