Penn State World Campus student wins creative writing award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State World Campus student Holly Pritchard, of Dugway, Utah, has won the 2014 Katey Lehman Award for Nonfiction/Journalism for her piece “Alcoholic, Anonymous” about a man who works for the military as a reservist and the federal government, but lives a secret life as a functioning alcoholic.

The Katey Lehman Creative Writing Awards are sponsored by Penn State’s colleges of the Liberal Arts and Communications. Competition for the awards is open to all Penn State undergraduate students — on campus and online. Lehman Awards are made annually in poetry, fiction and journalism, and include a $750 prize. A 1942 graduate of Penn State, Katey Lehman, along with her husband, Ross, was a columnist for the Centre Daily Times. The awards are made possible by an endowment from Lehman’s sister, Mary Jean Popp Smeal, and brother-in-law, Frank P. Smeal.

Pritchard is originally from Killeen, Texas, and was raised in a military family. Before enrolling in the World Campus, she attended Texas A&M University, seeking a bachelor of arts degree in poetry and creative writing. When she was one semester away from graduating, her father was diagnosed with cancer, and she left school to take care of him. Once her father was well again, Pritchard enrolled in Central Texas College to obtain her associate and general studies degree.

She then moved to Utah and got a job as project manager for Jacobs, Advanced Systems Group, and later enrolled in Penn State’s World Campus. Pritchard is studying organizational leadership online and plans to graduate in December.

Senior Lecturer in English Paul Kellermann encouraged Pritchard to submit her final paper for English 215 Introduction to Article Writing to the awards competition. Kellermann, who taught Pritchard in the course, said, “In her profile, Holly handles a delicate situation with grace, treating her subject with dignity while not whitewashing his flaws. With vivid detail and honest emotionality, she examines the hidden life of a secret alcoholic.”

Pritchard will continue to use her writing talents in graduate school. She aspires to obtain her master’s degree in homeland security from the World Campus.

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Last Updated April 29, 2014