Melanie Wilderman wins SPJ Teacher of the Year award

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Melanie Wilderman wins SPJ Teacher of the Year award

April 27, 2012

 Melanie Wilderman
Northwestern Oklahoma State University is home to the Society of Professional Journalists Teacher of the Year Melanie Wilderman. Wilderman, who was nominated by current and former students, is an instructor of mass communications and Northwestern News adviser.

Last weekend Melanie Wilderman, instructor of mass communications at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, attended the annual Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) awards ceremony honoring outstanding journalists, and brought home the Teacher of the Year award.

Northwestern students past and present nominated Wilderman in the teaching category, which is open to any journalism educator in the state. Students sent in letters of recommendation describing what qualities made Wilderman qualify for this honor.

“It’s probably the biggest honor I’ve ever been awarded,” Wilderman said.

Wilderman, who graduated from Carl Albert High School, was presented with the SPJ award by a professor she had while attending the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Peter Gade.

“I’m grateful for Dr. Gade who taught me journalism and the desire to do journalism research,” Wilderman said.

“He gave me my first teaching job as an adjunct and ultimately led me on this path of teaching.”

Wilderman asked him personally if he could present the award to her. He obliged because he believes that one of the best feelings is to watch his students succeed.

Besides Gade, she acknowledged Debra Chester and Dr. David Craig for having a profound influence on her journalism career.

The Choctaw native also has been recognized for her teaching abilities by former Northwestern students. In 2009 she won Northwestern’s John Sheffield Student Government Association Teacher of the Year award.
Since 2005, Wilderman has been a part of the Northwestern faculty and also has served as the Northwestern News adviser. Besides teaching students, another reason she enjoys her job is because of her colleagues.

“My department is really awesome,” Wilderman said.

“I work with my husband Ted Satterfield and Dr. Jesse Schroeder, instructors of mass communications, and Tammy Brown, Communication Department chair. We all get along great, we get a lot accomplished when working together and it’s just pleasant.”

Wilderman spends her spare time writing, both as a freelance writer for Oklahoma Living Magazine and as a published author. Her “Ghost Glimpser” books are available through Kindle.

When asked what advice she would provide to young people who may want to write, she said to write as much as possible and be honest and courageous.

Wilderman says that one thing she tries to instill in all of her students is the importance of the responsibility that comes along with journalism.

“I have so many former students who are successful, and my news staff now is doing great,” Wilderman said.

“There hasn’t been a shortage of people to step up at the Northwestern News. I’m sure it sounds cliché, but seeing your students succeed is just amazing. I still can’t believe they nominated me for the SPJ award. I can’t think of the words to tell them how much this means to me.”

-NW-