Leah Polakoff of Penn State Named 2014 Ralph Flamminio Memorial Scholarship Winner 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ Leah Polakoff, a junior journalism major at Penn State University, is the 2014 winner of the $3,000 Ralph Flamminio Memorial Scholarship, the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors announced Friday


Polakoff, 21, of Forest Hill, Maryland,, was recognized at the annual PAPME awards ceremony.


PAPME's award honoring the former editor of The Morning Call of Allentown and Coatesville Record salutes an exemplary Pennsylvania college student who best displays the ideals of Ralph Flamminio:  passionate about journalism and the First Amendment, and a champion for a better informed citizenry.


Polakoff is editor-in-chief of Valley, Penn State's life and style magazine, where she directs an 80-person staff to publish a glossy print magazine twice yearly and oversees and edits daily web content. She has also worked with State College magazine and the Centre Daily Times, and interned last summer with the Baltimore Sun Media Group. This summer she is interning at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg.


She was chosen from among 21 applicants for her diverse portfolio of work, which included "The Journey of Jim Thorpe," an expose on the continuing legal battle over the final resting place for the legendary athlete. The story was the result of a class assignment, but would earn Polakoff distinction as a regional finalist for large schools in the Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence Awards.

This past semester, Polakoff was enrolled in an international reporting class and was one of 16 participants chosen from 75 of Penn State's top journalism students to travel to Cuba for 10 days as a student-journalist.


In his letter of recommendation, Tony Barbieri, a professor of writing and editing at Penn State, described Polakoff as a "thorough, accurate and tenacious reporter, as well as a graceful writer." He said she has a strong commitment to be "excellent on every assignment."