Nicholson School of Communication and Media alumna Valezka Gil obtained first place in the Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Award in the category of Best Feature Story on television with her report “Cosecha de Sobrevivientes” (Harvest of Survivors).

“This award came at a very defining moment in my career, it came when I needed it most,” Gil said. “It gave me the reassurance I was looking for at the time when I started doubting my work.”

“Cosecha de Sobrevivientes,” broadcast on Telenoticias 31, tells the story about a community garden in the shape of a pink ribbon that provides free, organic veggies to breast cancer patients and survivors.

Gil is an anchor/reporter for Telenoticias 31, which is transmitted on WTMO Telemundo 31 – the local station that serves the Spanish-speaking community in the Central Florida area. As part of her responsibilities at Telenoticias 31, Gil produces and presents breaking and most relevant local news to viewers in the central Florida area. Gil joined Telemundo 31 in 2013, formerly known as Telemundo Orlando.

Last year, Gil was elected president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists of Central Florida. In 2015 Gil was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy Award as best on-camera talent during live reporting. Gil also received a Paoli Award for best news reporter of the year in 2013.

Gil earned her bachelor’s degree in radio and television with a focus in broadcast journalism and a minor in theater from the University of Central Florida. While studying in NSCM, Gil won two scholarships for outstanding journalism students from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a grant from the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando.

“I owe a big part of who I am to NSCM,” Gil said. “Everywhere I go I’m proud to say I’m a UCF Knight.”

Gil was part of the University of Central Florida’s newscast UCF Knightly News and Knightly Latino, anchoring, producing and reporting.

“While in NSCM, I learned that I have to work harder and harder each day,” Gil said. “Be the first one to get to the newsroom and the last one to leave.”