Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences students, faculty and alumni won awards and scholarships at the 2024 Orange County Press Club Awards and the 66th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club.

“These awards are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and talent of our students and faculty,” said Susan Paterno, Director of the Journalism Program at Chapman. “They highlight the importance of local journalism in keeping our communities informed and holding those in power accountable.”

Chapman student (pictured above) Kiana Kalahele (‘24 Business Administration Marketing and Journalism major) was awarded $2,000 through the Vi Smith Scholarship from the Orange County Press Club – named for the “first lady” of the Orange County Press Club, who guided the Club alongside her husband, Don, and the OC Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

“I am super ecstatic and grateful to be receiving such a wonderful scholarship from the OC Press Club,” Kalahele said. “This local organization has been such a help to so many journalists and student journalists in Orange County and I am very thankful that I was chosen to have received the Vi Smith scholarship this year. This scholarship has provided me with a newfound confidence in my writing and journalism skills. It also makes me excited about hopefully pursuing a career in journalism in my future; something that I was worried I wouldn’t be qualified enough to do.”

“Kiana earned this scholarship in part through her diligent coverage of West Orange County cities that would have otherwise gone undercovered during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Daniel Langhorne (12’ English Journalism major), Vice President of the Orange County Press Club Board of Directors. “The Scholarship Committee was particularly impressed by the dedication she demonstrated in bringing her journalistic skills back to her home state of Hawaii as a member of the Dow Jones News Fund summer fellowship.”

Smith, a longtime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, had a fondness for college journalism and enthusiastically serves on the scholarship committee.

Journalism faculty Hosam Elattar, Julie Leopo and Breeana Greenberg also received awards across multiple categories.

Noah Biesiada (English faculty) won Journalist of the Year at the Southern California Journalism Awards.

“A huge thank you to everyone at Voice,” said Biesiada, “I couldn’t do what I do without everyone, and that it feels great to see local journalism holds officials to account recognized at such a high level.”

Biesiada also received 3rd place in Best Health Story at the OC Press Club Awards for his work with Chapman students Vivienne Ayres and Sara Bass for the story “Homes Atop Former Tustin Air Base May Have Toxic Groundwater,” along with 1st place in Best Environmental News Story.

Here is a complete list of awards won by Chapman University faculty and students for their work in journalism:

OC Press Club Awards

To see all the winners of the OC Press Club click here.

Southern California Journalism Awards (LA Press Club)

To see all the winners, click here.