Nicole Watkins begins her first year as a graduate assistant for sports information at Rose-Hulman in 2013.
Watkins transitions into the sports information field after spending the last seven years working in the newspaper industry. She spent five years as a sports writer and photographer at the Kalamazoo Gazette in Kalamazoo, Mich., and spent the last two years as sports editor of the Polk County Itemizer-Observer in Dallas, Ore.
While at the Itemizer-Observer, Watkins earned several awards in her first year as the sports editor, including Rookie of the Year for the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) of Oregon and Southwest Washington, where she also earned first place for Best Sports News Story and second place for Best Column for weekly newspapers with a circulation under 8,000. She was also named the 2012-13 Oregon Wrestling Coaches Association Media Person of the Year.
In the 2013 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest, Watkins helped the Itemizer-Observer take home 27 total awards to earn the state's top honor, the Elmo Smith Award for General Excellence among weeklies in Oregon with a circulation of 3,001 or more. In that contest, she earned first place for Best Sports Photo; second place for Best Sports Story and Best Enterprise Reporting; and third place for Best Writing and Best Local Column Writing. On the national level, Watkins earned first place for Best Sports Column among daily and non-daily newspapers with a circulation under 8,000 in the National Newspapers Association 2013 Better Newspaper Contest.
Watkins earned a bachelor’s degree in photography with a minor in journalism at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo), where she earned four varsity basketball letters. A native of Medina, Ohio, Watkins was a three-sport athlete at River Valley High School in Cheshire, Ohio, where she was also named Valedictorian.
Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in sports management at Indiana State.
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