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Nick Erickson: 2014 Devroy Fellow

As I'm sure most other Devroy Scholars experienced, my stomach had butterflies when I was checking in at The Washington Post for my January residency there. But also like the 16 others, I was there because of the hard work and dedication Ann Devroy displayed at all times of her career.

So as I walked up to the security table, I thought of what that tenacious woman would be feeling if she were in my place. She would have one mission in mind: to contribute. And that's exactly the approach I adopted. I wanted to not just represent the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and its journalism program, I wanted to show just how special this department really is.

Seeing the world through free-throw percentages and batting averages, I spent most of my time in the sports desk.

My most rewarding opportunity came when I pitched a feature idea to the sports editor, which he graciously let me pursue. I headed to George Washington University to spend time with a player on the women's basketball team who was born in the Bahamas and came to a different family in the United States to pursue her dream of making it as far as she could in the sport. I felt her story of courage and passion deserved telling, and I think that Ann Devroy would have agreed, because she always practiced journalism with courage and passion.

Of course, this incredible opportunity wouldn't have been possible without the support of so many people. My D.C. hosts from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Craig Gilbert and Carol Guensberg, along with their son Andrew, were wonderful and gracious. All Devroy Fellows are incredibly fortunate to be set up with such a kind family. Of course, the journalism faculty here at UW-Eau Claire sparked my passion for this field. And finally, my family and friends on The Spectator have given me incredible support day in and day out, making even the late-night deadlines memorable and worthwhile.