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OHIO’s Meg Roussos wins 2013 WHNPA Student Photographer of the Year Award

Feb 11, 2013

The back door of the school bus is usually left open for kids to run in and out of on sunny days. Smiles and Space Welch, who live in the bus with their three boys on 20 acres of land in southeast Ohio, take time to enjoy each other’s company while talking about who will take the boys to baseball practice. / Photo by Meg Roussos

OHIO’s Meg Roussos wins 2013 WHNPA Student Photographer of the Year Award

Roussos first woman to win title; runner-up Sara Lewkowicz also an OHIO female student

By Erin Roberts

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 11, 2013) – The White House News Photographers Association announced that senior visual communication student Meg Roussos of Ohio University has been named the WHNPA Student Photographer of the Year and visual communication graduate student Sara Lewkowicz of Ohio University was judged as the Award of Excellence winner in the 2013 WHNPA ‘The Eyes of History™’ student contest judging on Feb. 9, 2013, at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC. Roussos is the first female to win the title.

“When I saw that, it gave a whole new meaning to winning this award, so it was pretty cool to hear that,” Roussos said.

VisCom Professor Marcy Nighswander, a longtime member of the WHNPA and a mentor to Roussos, said Roussos being the first female to win the award is historic. 

"There aren’t many firsts left in the photojournalism profession, but a student from VisCom got this one," she said.

Judges Allison Shelley and Jahi Chikwendiu commented on Roussos’s ability to capture strong moments while building an intimate relationship with her subjects. “Her portfolio is a well-rounded collection of photographs,” said judge Linda Epstein.

WHNPA Student Contest chairman Kevin Dietsch said, "This year's competition was full of outstanding portfolios. The judges were impressed by the quality of the student stories but Meg's portfolio was the most complete and well rounded of the group. Her combination of strong singles and stories set her apart from the group.”

Roussos receives a cash prize of $1,000, WHNPA branded gear bags, two tickets to the ‘The Eyes of History™’ gala in May and round trip transportation via United Airlines to Washington.

Roussos is also won the Hearst National Photojournalism Championship in 2012. She is president of the Ohio University chapter of the National Press Photographers Association and is participating in her fourth Soul of Athens project with her peers at Ohio University this spring. She completed an internship at the Dallas Morning News this summer.

She credits Nighswander for helping her become an award-winning photographer.

“I would like to thank my professor Marcy Nighswander for always encouraging me, and for being a mentor and a friend,” she said. “It is the great staff here at OU that helps shape us in the photographers we want to become.”

Nighswander is quick to point out Roussos's merits. "Meg is an outstanding photographer, and it is good to see others recognize her storytelling abilities," she said. "Her hard work and dedication to telling other people’s stories is what photojournalism is all about. She and Sara have made all of us in VisCom proud."

Roussos was also pleased to hear of the Ohio University sweep. “The fact that my friend Sara was the runner-up is also exciting. It’s fun to compete with friends but also to win with friends. We celebrated together after hearing the news.”

Lewkowicz received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work has been published in the Baltimore Sun, Inside Lacrosse Magazine and other publications. She has attended numerous workshops for visual journalism, including the Eddie Adams Workshop. 

The judges for the WHNPA 2013 ‘Eyes of History™’ Student competition were Jahi Chikwendiu, Linda Epstein and Allison Shelley. Judging for the professional divisions of Still, Video and Multimedia were also judged over the weekend at National Geographic.

The top winners of the still, video, new media and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History™’ gala on May 11, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the  President of the United States. Nearly 1,000 guests, including government dignitaries and industry celebrities, attend.  

The White House News Photographers Association is a 92-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the efforts of Washington’s professional photojournalists. The WHNPA aims to provide professional and educational outreach to its members and the community through scholarship, programming, an annual competition and a celebration of the industry at the annual “Eyes of History™” gala.

To view more of Roussos's work, visit Lewkowicz's work can be viewed at