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Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award

Deadline for nominations: June 1

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Prior Winners
2022   Allison Hageman, Georgetown University
2022   Sara Stanley, Western Carolina University
2021   Ashton Nichols, Ohio University
2020   Katelyn Howard, Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma
2019   Taylor Pomasl, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
2018   Soni Brown, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2017   Maggie Gottlieb, Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland
2016   Kate Hiller, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University
2015   Brett Hall, Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland
2014   Rachel Minske, University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire
2013   Ali Trumbull, DePaul University
2012   Breann Schossow
2011   Tara Puckey
2010   Jenny Unbi You
2009   Megan Peterson
2008   Breanne Coats
2007   Ashlee Clark
2006   Renée DeLuca
2005   Trish Hartman, University of Maryland
2004   Patrick Grzanka, University of Maryland
2003   Erin Fillah, University of Maryland
2002   Alanna Turner, University of Maryland
2001   Aimee Heckel, Colorado State University
1998   Erika Germer, Kent State University

About Julie Galvan

By Reggie Stuart
June 2006

A few days ago, a thought came out of nowhere to remind me that many of you have spent the last few weeks traveling from coast to coast and border to border to start your internships for the summer. Some of the trips were to a paper or news station a few miles from home. Others, required drives of close to a thousand miles to parts of the country you've never seen or heard much about before.

There is always great anticipation about starting a new challenge. Internships are no exception.Those who are fortunate enough to get an internship, especially one that pays, are locking in a headstart on your careers. That's especially true, if you are a standout intern like Julie Galvan.

I met Julie at an SPJ convention in 1994. She was smart, articulate, a ball of firepower. She had had a personality that simply grabbed you and made you feel you had known her, and liked her, all of your life.

As we talked, I learned Julie was paying her way through college. She worked on the campus paper, worked part-time as a clerk and free lancer at the San Jose Mercury News and held other part-time jobs to make ends meet. Before the convention ended, I invited her to take an internship the next summer in the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau.

During her internship, Julie turned out to be an absolute buzzsaw of a journalist. No assigment was too routine or too tough. Everything she did got detailed attention. She asked a lot of questions. She challenged almost everything my fellow editors and I told her about news reporting in the nation's capitol. She befriended everyone. She had a laugh that was contagious and a serious-as-a-heart attack approach to news.

By the end of the summer, we were enamored by her abilities and potential and in agreement Julie had to be hired in Knight Ridder when she graduated from college a few years later. Work for The Merc during the upcoming school year was a no brainer, as she had become an even greater asset to the paper by virture of her summer internship work.

As luck would have it. The Washington Post grabbed Julie quickly for one of its much sought after intern slots for the summer of 1996. She was excited about this opportunity, as were her teachers and mentors. After all, San Jose State was not a regular stop on the recruiting circuit. Julie was blazing trails for her school and herself.

As school came to an end in the spring of ’96, Julie and and a few other San Jose area college journalists who hand landed internships on the East Coast, compared notes and decided they could save money and get to their assigments by doing a car pool. So, all packed up one early June day, they took to the highway for the scenic view headed East. The Post, The Virginian Pilot and others were excited to help these students move one more notch toward their goal of working in a newsroom. As one of her newest mentors, I was looking forward to seeing her again to hear that laugh, to hear everything I tell her challenged and to learn what she was doing to force her own changes in our business. Julie could be relentless.

Life can be cruel.

During a heavy morning rainstorm, as these friends and aspiring journalists were riding through Arkansas, Julie Galvan, age 23, was killed instantly as the car in which she was riding collided with a tractor trailer. Word spread quickly. Everyone who heard it and had known Julie was absolutely devasted, present company included.

In an instant, we had lost one of the most promising college journalists on the scene that year. We had lost a person who, by today, would have been editor of one of the journalism convention papers, a mentor at the least. She probably would have taken the risk to volunteer for assignment in Iraq and she would have been ahead of the pack in reporting on the renewed debate on American immigation policy at the southern border. Julie would have been all over these stories, as anyone who worked with her during her college days can easily attest. She had the spark. For sure, she would have been a newsroom management candidate. My bet is she would have declined, as reporting was her passion.

As a testament to Julie's impact on the business during she short-lived life, San Jose State set up a scholarship in her name with initial funding from The Mercury News, The Washington Post and Knight Ridder. SPJ named an annual award in her name, one that honors the most outstanding college member of SPJ.

Each of the Society’s campus chapters are encouraged to select one graduate in journalism who is outstanding in his or her class on the basis of character, service to the community, scholarship, proficiency in practical journalism and significant contributions to their SPJ chapter. From this group, the Society’s leaders will select one graduate who is considered the most outstanding for national recognition.

The Award is named in memory of Julie Galvan, a former president of the SPJ San Jose State University Campus Chapter.

The award comes with a complimentary 2025 national convention registration and $450 toward travel expenses.


Recipient must be a student SPJ member, graduating within the academic year.


Nomination form should be accompanied by a resume, letter(s) of recommendation that addresses the nominee’s character, service to the community, scholarship, journalism proficiency, contributions their SPJ chapter and why the nominee is deserving of this national recognition. Self-nominations are not permitted.

Winner Announcement and Presentation

Winners will be announced in July.


All entries should be submitted no later than June 1.

For More Information

Contact SPJ Headquarters at 317/927-8000 or e-mail: awards@spj.org

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