Julia Royals, fiscal technician 2, Journalism and Media Production, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, is the March 2019 Crimson Spirit Award recipient.

A grant project about rural reporting in the Journalism and Media Production department launched with an event called the “Rural Reporting Plunge” last October. Forty-eight undergraduates were sent to 12 rural communities on an overnight reporting trip, and weren’t told where they were going until right before they left. As the Murrow College travel specialist, Julia was responsible for making the arrangements and reacting to numerous last-minute changes. The project has continued since then with small groups of students making day trips and overnight trips to a variety of rural locations in the region, often with less than a week’s notice.

Ms. Royals’ nominator says “When I first approached Julia about the project, I was convinced she would reasonably tell me it was not possible on such a short timeline. Instead, she embraced the project and immediately started planning. Lodging in particular required creative problem-solving for many of the small communities that don’t have any standard chain hotels. She made reservations with tiny motels that could only communicate by phone and fax, and answered questions from Airbnb owners who ended up being fabulous hosts.”

The nominator explains that “Preparing for the event required a dozen team packets with specialized instructions about lodging, rental cars, parking and travel documentation. On the day of the event, I waited nervously all evening for students to call me with crises, and my phone never rang. It all went off without a hitch. After the trip, Julia followed up with every student individually and met with many of them in person to walk through the forms and software for processing their meals and mileage reimbursements. We made a point to have a no-cost trip so students could participate regardless of their financial resources, and Julia followed up with students for weeks to make sure they got reimbursed the correct amounts. Through all of this, she was always kind and patient and has continued to plan subsequent group trips for our regional and international travel without hesitation or complaint.”

The nominator concludes “This project has been a quantifiable success for student learning, and supports the university strategic goal for transformative student experience. Students leave Pullman and return more confident, independent, curious and committed to the value of regional journalism. This would not be possible without Julia’s efforts in support of our experiential learning programs, and this is of course only a small part of her total contributions and responsibilities in our College.”

Ms. Royals is recognized for her noteworthy extra effort, following up to ensure issues were resolved, and her superior service to the WSU community.