Pitt-Johnstown Journalism

Owen Scholarship

Elvina Owen, a Greater Johnstown High School journalism teacher, gave $250,000 to Pitt-Johnstown for scholarships to support Journalism students.


Scholarship criteria require that student recipients work as leaders at the student newspaper, The Advocate.  To be eligible, students serve as News, Feature, Sports, Opinion and Photography Editors.  The Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief also are eligible for the scholarship.

The scholarship was established to encourage students to work at the newspaper rather than in a part-time job, usually unrelated to journalism.  Scholarship awards are intended to help make up for wages a student might receive working part time.

Scholarship amounts vary from year to year, depending on availability of funds and the number of eligible recipients.  Recipients have a history of making significant contributions to the newspaper and are likely to continue to make such contributions.

Journalism Awards

Pitt-Johnstown journalism program graduates have won a remarkable number of awards for a small academic program. Since 1995, graduates have won more than 50 statewide writing and layout/design awards.

The program has 20 to 25 majors and graduates three to five students each year, or about 70 graduates from 1995 to 2012. On average, more than half of our graduates have received at least statewide recognition in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Idaho and Wyoming.

One student, Chris Boehke, was a member of a Harrisburg Patriot-News team that received a Pulitzer Prize.  Another student, Bill Toland, now a business reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was named Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Writer in 2002, three years after his graduation. Yet another student received a statewide award while working as a summer intern in competition with professional journalists at newspapers of comparable size.

Most awards are earned by students within five years of their Pitt-Johnstown graduation. Program graduates enter the profession ready to compete at the highest levels alongside practiced professionals. Editors know that, when they complete Pitt-Johnstown’s Journalism Program, students know how to:

  • develop ideas into stories and presentations to readers
  • gather the information necessary for those presentations
  • write what they find in a professional, polished writing style
  • use New Journalism (creative writing) techniques in their nonfiction writing
  • be accurate
  • comply with professional ethics
  • meet a deadline

How to welcome and implement criticism of their work.