The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Inc. (VOWA) recognized two students in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, Lucy Adams and Holly Kays, for their first- and second-place entries in the association's fourth annual Undergraduate Writing Contest.

The awards were presented at VOWA’s first joint conference with the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association in Hampton, Va. Virginia Tech students have been well represented in the contest; this is the third consecutive year that a Virginia Tech student has won first place.

VOWA holds its annual youth and undergraduate writing competition to encourage youth and young adults to cultivate their creative talents. The theme of the contest is to describe how experiences in the outdoors have influenced the writer’s life.

Lucy Adams, of Ruckersville, Va., a sophomore wildlife sciences major, read her winning entry, “Summer of the Rattlesnakes,” at the awards luncheon. Adams says she is interested not only in writing, but also in bringing people to a better understanding of and respect for how the natural world works by pursuing a career in outdoor education or field biology. “I really want to get kids outside. That’s my goal,” she says.

Holly Kays, of Fairplay, Md., a sophomore double majoring in natural resources conservation and English, won second place for her entry, “With Notebook in Hand.” Kays says she plans to pursue a career in writing, particularly for magazines dealing with nature, travel, and Christianity. “As a magazine writer, I look forward to traveling to new places, talking to interesting people, and continuing to learn. Writing is fulfilling to me. It is a way for me to make a difference in the world,” Kays explained.

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