The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Inc. (VOWA) recognized John Haworth of Virginia Beach, Va., a sophomore fisheries sciences major in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, for his first-place winning entry in the association's fifth annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Contest.

Virginia Tech students have been well represented in the contest; this is the fourth consecutive year that a Virginia Tech student has won first place.

Haworth’s winning entry, “Fairy Dust,” describes one of his most treasured scuba dives on a Virginia shipwreck. He was invited to read his essay at VOWA’s annual conference in Charlottesville. Contestants in VOWA’s annual high school and collegiate writing competition, which encourages youth and young adults to cultivate their creative talent, write a personal narrative describing an outdoor experience and how it has shaped their current path.

Haworth’s interests are wide ranging. “I have a supernatural passion for the water, including the science behind it. My current interests include aquaculture, coastal technologies, environmental education, and wildlife photography/journalism,” he said. Haworth has also initiated the Chesapeake Bay Student Network, a student-led organization to spread awareness, education, experience, and action towards restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

“We are working really hard in many ways, including having the Chesapeake Bay Student Network ready as an influential organization at Virginia Tech next fall and helping out kids who want more on their résumé. We really want to pull in some imagination and youth towards restoration of the Bay, and what better place than in the jungle of college?”

Haworth spoke about the Chesapeake Bay Student Network at the first Hokie Stone, a Day of Remembrance event that pays tribute to those students lost on April 16, 2007, while also showcasing those with the newfound strength, passion, and dedication to change the world. This event offered online live streaming video to bring Hokies from around the world together to remember and honor those lost.

Haworth says that despite his academic interests in marine science, “My natural talents exist in communication, imagination, the arts, and entrepreneurship — skills I believe could offer some uniqueness towards environmental restoration efforts.” He says he plans to continue his efforts with the Chesapeake Bay Student Network after college while pursuing a career with an organization such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He also says he has plans to maintain an active creative side as a freelance photographer, outdoor writer, and artist.

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