Kelly Dean, a senior journalism/new media major and Lumination contributor, was recently recognized for her time with Country Music Association’s  journalism team during last summer’s CMA Fest by receiving the CMA Close Up Award of Merit for Journalism.

“I honestly could not believe I won the Award of Merit,” Dean said. “I had to read the email four times before it registered. I thought it had been a mistake, honestly! I never really have had that much confidence in my writing skills, but I know that writing is something I enjoy.”

Dean credits working the CMA Fest as something that has helped ignite advancements in her career as a writer.

“I have seen major improvement in my writing throughout the past two years,” Dean said. “Especially after working the CMA Fest, because of the real world experience.”

Along with receiving the honor, Dean got the chance to assist the CMA Close Up team with their coverage of last week’s 47th Annual CMA Awards.

She has been part of the Lipscomb journalism team that won the Southeast Journalism Conference’s Best of the South Awards in 2011 that included third place in “Best Video News” and first place as “Best College TV Station”. Dean has also been a part of numerous other successful journalism projects throughout her college years.

“This is the biggest honor I have ever received in my journalism career,” Dean said. “I felt so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the CMA Close Up team to begin with, but to receive this honor was humbling because I was doing what I love in the industry that I absolutely love.”

With graduation nearing, Dean already has focused in on what she wants to do after college.

“Working in the country music industry is the only place I can see myself,” Dean said. “I am so passionate about country music, and I want to have a career that is invested in the music and is able to appreciate and help grow the industry. “

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