Western student wins national writing contest

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University student Courtney R. Swartwout has captured this year’s first-place award in the Association for Business Communication’s second annual student writing contest.

As first-place winner Swartwout will receive a plaque and a $300 cash grand prize. All awards are made possible through contributions of authors Mary Munter and Paul Agrenti and through publisher Houghton Mifflin.

This contest is open to all undergraduate business students. Contestants worked independently to write responses to this year’s case, and entries were submitted by their instructors. All entries are read and ranked by the student awards committee members individually to identify the top student entries, and then were ranked again by businesspersons who also worked individually.

Swartwout’s piece addressed a case written by Dale Cyphert, assistant professor in the department of management at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Swartwout had to put together a three-part document containing a letter handling a customer-service complaint from a disgruntled customer; a memo to the organization’s sales staff about customer service; and a memo to the writer’s instructor describing the rationale for the response.

Swartwout, daughter of Rollie and Donna Swartwout of Franklin, is a junior majoring in communications with a concentration in public relations. She is from Franklin and graduated from Rabun Gap Ga. Nacoochee School in 2002. “Courtney is one of the most talented writers I have ever had as a business communications student,” said Rita Noel, WCU professor of business computer information system and Swartwout’s sponsor. “She was competing against some really big schools and well known programs, I am really proud of her accomplishment.”