Nebraska Press Women (NPW) extended their highest honor, the Communicator of Achievement (COA) Award, to Judy Nelson, a 45-year member of NPW during their fall meeting in Osceola. Preparations are now underway to send Nelson’s COA packet to the national office for judging ahead of the September 2018 national conference in Bethlehem, Penn.

A native of Newman Grove, this accomplished writer and editor mentored many young journalists during her early career at the North Platte Telegraph and her career at the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Perhaps no one person dedicated more time, talent, loyalty and energy to communications at IANR, the land-grant arm of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When IANR administrators needed to communicate in-house, in-state and internationally, they looked to Judy to tell how IANR teaching, research and extension education helped Nebraskans and Nebraska, where one in three jobs relate to agriculture.

Over the decades, Judy edited hundreds of Extension publications; led and coordinated writing workshops for colleagues, including one in Morocco; developed and led communications marketing plans; founded and directed newsletters and magazines; researched and wrote speeches for 10 years; developed white papers and strategic plans; built a high-profile lecture series; and developed and led a program enabling high school students to describe how their ideas could help feed the world.

NPW has greatly benefited from her talents over the years and her service as an officer, board member and project director. As the current membership director, Nelson can be counted on to keep in touch with new members, contact potential new members and encourage other Press Women to do the same.

Her most important role over the past several years was to lead a special project to write and implement a new NPW strategic plan. That effort corresponded with NPW’s 70th anniversary celebration in 2016.

Nelson also has shared her expertise as a workshop presenter at NPW conventions. From creative writing sessions, to long-range planning and brainstorming sessions, she has always worked to move NPW forward and help others find support within the NPW ranks.

She has extended her writing talents to include books, plays, poetry and a current work in progress, a biography of longtime NPW member Joan Burney. She was and is an advocate for Nebraska, her home state.  For these reasons and more, we salute Judy and wish her well in the national COA competition.