FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               Date: November 30, 2000

                                                                                                Contact: Lezli Austen

UIS announces Armstrong Scholarship recipients

SPRINGFIELD – Three graduate students in the public affairs reporting (PAR) program at the University of Illinois at Springfield—Anna B. Panocha, John S. Sharp, and Kathryn L. Underwood—are recipients of the 2000 James E. Armstrong scholarships.

They were honored at a luncheon November 30 at the State Journal-Register. Patrick Coburn, publisher of the Journal-Register, presented the scholarships, which are given in memory of James E. Armstrong, who was publisher of the Illinois State Journal and the Illinois State Register, predecessors of the State Journal-Register, from 1964 until his death in 1967.

The scholarships are awarded to students in the public affairs reporting program who have demonstrated strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting.

Panocha is the daughter of Ivana Lhota, of Wheaton, Illinois. She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, summa cum laude, from Illinois State University this year. While at ISU, she was a reporter and producer for TV-10 news, and was a Bone Scholar, the university’s highest academic award. In addition, she received scholarships from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and from the Springfield Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications. Panocha also interned one summer with WORLDNET television in Washington, D.C., where she produced news packages dealing with political issues in Russia and the Middle East. She is currently employed in the UIS Office of International Affairs. She will be interning with WUIS/WIPA/Illinois Public Radio.

Sharp is the son of John and Carole Sharp of Staunton, Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree in


business administration and speech communications from Monmouth College in 1998. Currently he is a reporter for the Gillespie Area News. Before enrolling at UIS, he was a sports reporter for The News Sun in Waukegan, Illinois, and a legal assistant with the law firm of Jenner and Block. While at Monmouth, he was a sports reporter, covering the college’s basketball and baseball teams. He will be interning with The Daily Herald  in Arlington Heights.

Underwood is the daughter of Lettie Underwood of Carol Stream, Illinois. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from North Central College in Naperville this year. While at North Central, she was a reporter, news editor, business manager, and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the NCC Chronicle. Before enrolling at North Central, she earned an associate in arts degree in journalism from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. At the College of DuPage she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Courier, which in 1998 won the Best Publication Award of the Illinois Community College Journalism Association. She is currently employed at Famous Barr in Springfield and will be interning with the Small Newspaper Group.

UIS’ public affairs reporting program, directed by Charlie Wheeler, is a one-year master’s degree program focusing on state government news coverage. In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service, or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield.

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