For anyone familiar with online geek culture, this is a huge honor. Penny Arcade is a webcomic (penny-arcade.com) written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik that often targets video game culture. It is massively popular, spawning a sizable media empire that encompasses its own video games and an annual convention, PAX.
Penny Arcade gives out a single $10,000 academic scholarship a year to recognize "one student shown to have the most potential to positively impact the game industry." And for 2012, that student is David Doyle, currently pursuing his degree in journalism at the University of Tennessee. He has previously won awards for his reviews from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists. In my recommendation letter for David, I wrote:
"David looks at gaming as a culture, and his reviews delve into how each game fits into that culture, rather than as simply being an entertainment vehicle. ... Video games need to be discussed from a new perspective, just as cinema once did as it evolved beyond slapstick chases and gunfights. David Doyle can help provide that viewpoint."