Arkansas Press Women has selected Mia Waddell, a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, as the recipient of its 2023 scholarship. 

Waddell will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a membership to the 74-year-old statewide professional communication organization during Arkansas Press Women’s Awards Ceremony May 20 at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.  

“I am incredibly grateful to Arkansas Press Women for choosing me for this scholarship,” Waddell said.

“Arkansas is a terrific state, full of amazing people, and it deserves well-trained and funded journalists. My adviser David Keith and the rest of the journalism faculty at UCA are top-notch. Without their training, feedback and endless encouragement, I would not be half the journalist I am today. Additionally, I am grateful to my staff at The Echo for collaborating, teaching and challenging me for the past three years. I work with incredibly talented and curious student journalists that remind me daily how lucky I am to be afforded this education and experience. Student journalists are a force to be reckoned with,” Waddell said.

The scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate college student in Arkansas who is planning a career in mass communication or journalism. Funding for this scholarship comes from APW’s Maudine Sanders Education Fund. Sanders, a previous owner of the Springdale Morning News, was a long-time member of Arkansas Press Women before her passing in 2011.

“We are happy to recognize Mia Waddell as our 2023 scholarship recipient,” said Angie Faller, APW scholarship chair and news director at UA Little Rock. “Mia’s dedication to excellence in journalism and commitment to engaging reporting has truly paid off. We wish you the best in your future endeavors as you continue to make a positive impact in Arkansas journalism.”

A native of North Little Rock, Waddell is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She has worked at UCA’s student newspaper The Echo since 2020, serving as online editor, news editor and associate editor and now leads The Echo as editor-in-chief.

“Mia is not afraid to take on a challenge and will do what is necessary for The Echo to succeed,” said David Keith, faculty advisor to The Echo and a lecturer of journalism at UCA. “While many students are hesitant to take on controversial stories or ones that involve talking to upper administrators, Mia jumps at the opportunity to take on these types of assignments. Students on the newspaper staff look to Mia for leadership and guidance as they complete their tasks.”

Waddell will complete an internship at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this summer and continue in her role as editor-in-chief of The Echo during the fall 2023 semester. After she graduates in December 2023, Waddell plans to pursue a career as a reporter.

“From the beginning, it has been my goal to remain in Arkansas and report on local politics, news and sports,” Waddell said. “I love this state, and the South. I believe that a voice like mine in the field of journalism is important.” 

An affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women, APW was founded in 1949 by women working in Arkansas newspapers to provide an opportunity to compete and network in a male-dominated industry. The organization is now an association of communicators in journalism, public information, business, education and government.