CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University student from Junction City has earned a $4,000 National Speakers Association Scholarship - one of four in the nation awarded this year.

Nancy Nichols, a master's candidate in rhetoric and social influence, is being awarded the association's Cavett Robert Scholarship, which is awarded in memory of Robert, founder of the National Speakers Association.

Nichols graduated magna cum laude from OSU with a bachelor's degree in speech communication after transferring to OSU from Lane Community College. In 1994, while a student at Lane, Nichols was voted "Most Inspirational Speaker," and "Speaker of the Year," by the college forensic team.

"Winning this award is just a total morale boost," Nichols said. The scholarship recognizes above-average performance by students who are active in the community, demonstrate leadership and who have the potential to make a significant contribution to society.

Nichols has served as a forensics coach, and while at Lane Community College, she acted as a communications coordinator for a building project that helped bridge the gap between the college administration and the community.

"I was the coordinator for a bond project," she said. "I coordinated communications between the college administration, the architect and faculty and staff."

The Tempe, Ariz.-based speakers association works to provide resources and education to enhance the skills and performance of professional speakers. The group has distributed more than $154,500 in scholarship funds since 1989.

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Marsha Mardock, 480-968-2552