On top of the world

By Emily Carson ’14

St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure University junior Emily Steves has been named the school’s 10th Jim Murray Memorial Scholar.

A journalism and mass communication major, Steves is one of five winners of the foundation’s annual nationwide essay contest among students from 28 other invited universities with strong journalism programs. Each of the winners receives a $5,000 scholarship in honor of the late sportswriter Jim Murray.

Steves, a native of Collins, and a graduate of Gowanda High School, came to St. Bonaventure as a freshman with a cross country scholarship. Last semester, she decided to leave the team to spend more time focused on academics.

“Being on a Division I team was really eating up a lot of my time,” Steves said. “I call it retiring.”

Steves spent the summer applying for every scholarship she could find.

“My parents weren’t very pleased that I didn’t have it (the scholarship) anymore,” she said. “I wanted to prove to them that I could take care of it myself.”

When Steves came across the Jim Murray Scholarship, she hesitated to apply.

“I’m really into cross country and track, but I’ve never really thought about sports writing,” she said.

Steves credits Suzzanne Ciesla, administrative assistant for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, for encouraging her to submit an application to the foundation.

“She was leery about applying because she had a full class load and other on-campus obligations,” Ciesla said. “I knew with a bit of pushing on my end her determination and hard work ethics would pay off. And, it did.”

After reading the criteria, writing a feature story on a sports figure in your community or campus, she had an idea.

Catie Greene, ’12, ’13, had inspired Steves with her intense course schedule, extracurricular activities, and stellar GPA.

“I wrote a story about how she’s in all these sports and still maintained perfect grades, and I really tried to get across her personality in the story,” Steves said. “She’s such a goofy person and you wouldn’t really know it. It’s impressive.”

In August, Steves got a call from Linda McCoy-Murray, who established the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation to perpetuate her late husband’s memory and his love and dedication to his career in journalism.

“I was so happy when I got that phone call because I spent a lot of time on that story. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written,” Steves said. “Catie was one of the first people I’ve called, and she was so happy for me.”

Steves is happy to represent St. Bonaventure among the other winners.

“When the foundation announced the scholarship winners and their school emblems on its Facebook page just to see the bell tower next to these really impressive schools and people it’s surreal to be able to represent Bonaventure like that,” she said.

Steves traveled to Pasadena, Calif., from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13, to officially accept the award.

“I’m on top of the world,” she said. “Everything’s finally paying off.”

Editor’s note: Emily Steves, a 2011 graduate of Gowanda Central School, is the daughter of David and Nancy Steves of Collins. She has three older brothers, Jordan, Trevor and Adam. Jordan also went to St. Bonaventure for journalism and graduated in 2009.

Nancy is the public relations specialist for the Seneca Nation Health System. David is a self-employed floor covering installer.

Emily ran on Gowanda’s varsity track and cross-country teams, qualifying for the state championship meets three times and holds five school running records at Gowanda.

Emily states her future is one big mystery. She is interested in public relations and advertising, and credits St. Bonaventure for preparing her well for her future

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