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From left to right: Sports Editor Brandon Wells, Opinion Editor Damian Morris, Copy Editor Jana Hamade, Editor-in-chief Alex Aultman, Managing Editor Gabriel Brady, Online Editor Nicole Boyd, Reporter Francesca Boston and Lifestyles Editor Emily Sterzinger pose with some of the awards they won at the convention.

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — The Alestle won 15 awards at the recent Illinois College Press Association’s Convention and Awards. The publication is back in the ranking of top student news orgs in the state.

The Alestle staff won second place in general excellence among non-daily publications at schools with more than 4,000 enrollment.

“It is always exciting when students are recognized for their hard work and dedication, but it’s particularly so when we’ve been able to place in the general excellence category. News orgs in that category are the best of the best in the state,” Student Publications Program Director Tammy Merrett said.

The division The Alestle competes in is the most competitive in the annual ICPA awards. Almost half of the total member publications compete in the non-daily division for schools with enrollment more than 4,000.

“While we don’t — and shouldn’t — do our jobs with the goal of winning awards in mind, it’s nice to have our hard work recognized,” Alestle Editor-in-Chief Alex Aultman said.

Aultman’s individual work was also recognized. They won first place in the news story category for the story “Anti-trans vandalism hits Mensi Project, new vending machines possible.” It has been several years since The Alestle placed so high in the news story category.

“I was surprised and excited. I honestly had to try to keep myself from crying at the awards ceremony,” Aultman said. “I’m glad that a story I felt was so important was recognized for the work I put into it.”

Lifestyles Editor Emily Sterzinger’s work in editorial cartooning won second place in the open division of the competition in which all schools of all enrollment levels compete. Her cartoon, Space Race, was ranked as second best in the state.

Also in editorial, the Alestle staff was honored with another second place award for its editorial section’s overall quality. An honorable mention was earned by The Alestle for its staff editorial “Unpaid student opportunities and requirements are inevitably classist” about unpaid internships being exploitative.

Alestle staffers and the entire staff as a whole won many third place awards among some heavy hitters in student journalism in Illinois.

The staff won third place for the overall quality of its online news site Alestlelive.com, as well as its email newsletter. The Alestle staff’s Metro East Eats featuring toasted ravioli won third place in the entertainment supplement category. The regular feature often ranks well in ICPA’s entertainment supplement category.

The news organization brought home many more writing awards than in recent years. Lifestyles Editor Emily Sterzinger won third place in the opinion page category for an entry from when she was previously Alestle Opinion Editor. Former Copy Editor Dana McLennan won third place in the sports news story category for her “New expansions in the Vadalabene Center will increase recruitment visibility.” Former Alestle Copy Editor Dalton Brown received an honorable mention for his feature story “Women’s basketball player bridges student athleticism, activism.”

The Alestle’s photo staff did well in the competition, as they usually do. Photographer Jihun Han won third place in the feature photo and spot news photo categories for his photos of an alumni association event and a mother’s campus protest about racial discrimination against her son, respectively.

Photographer Clair Sollenberger won third place in the sports photo category for her photo coverage of a men’s basketball game.

Editor-in-Chief Alex Aultman and Graduate Assistant Graphics Manager Kirsten O’Loughlin received an honorable mention for their work in the front page layout category as well.

The Alestle competed in 21 categories against 11 non-daily student news organizations on campuses with more than 4,000 students including Columbia College in Chicago, Loyola University, DePaul University, University of Illinois Springfield and others.

Almost 1,000 entries in the competition were judged for excellence by working journalists across the country.

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