As the 2017-2018 academic year came to its close, the School of Communication (S0C) proudly recognized excellence among its alumni, students, and faculty during its annual COM Week series of events. Here is the list of awards earned by Redbird communicators this year. All of us in the School of Communication family are very proud of these Redbirds’ accomplishments.

SoC alumnus Ethan Galvin receiving his award from Steve Hunt.

Outstanding Alumni Awards

Journalism Outstanding Alum • Les Vann
Communication Studies Outstanding Alum • Jason Berke
Public Relations Outstanding Alum • Jillian Collins
Mass Media Outstanding Alum • Ethan Galvin

Outstanding Senior Awards

Journalism Outstanding Senior • Ema Sasic
Communication Studies Outstanding Senior • Lisa DeWeert
Public Relations Outstanding Senior • Ashlyn Gramm
Mass Media Outstanding Senior • Carleigh Gray

Graduate Program Awards

Outstanding New Graduate Alumni Award • Laura Robbins
Outstanding Graduate Alumni Achievement Award • Patrick Hughes
Outstanding Graduate Student Award • Benjamin Lynn
Outstanding Departmental Thesis Award • Jessica Gabl
Outstanding University Graduate Student Teaching Award Level I Master’s • Alexander Kritselis

Student Organization Awards

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Outstanding Senior • Elizabeth Lynch
WZND Leadership Awards • Nathan Yurgin, Jessica Prainito

General Awards

Civic Engagement Award • Lance Lippert
Journalism Certificates of Excellence • Melissa Henry, Alyssa Jo Carlson, Michael Diaz, Nick Landi, Star Johnson
Presidential Scholars • Dania De La Hoya Rojas, Ashlyn Gramm, Katherine Helander, Charlea Schueler, Hunter Thomas
University Scholars • Crystal Grzeslo
Departmental Honors • Carleigh Gray, Peyton Taylor
School of Communication Bone Scholarship Nominees • Sara Engstrom, Crystal Grzeslo, Kelly Murphy
School of Communication Commencement Speaker • Ashley Chisum Shannon
Jamie Comstock Graduate Faculty Student Mentorship Award• John Baldwin, Caleb Carr, Megan Hopper, Kevin Meyer, Aimee Miller-Ott, Maria Moore, Brent Simonds, Joseph Zompetti

Molly Lawless receiving her award from Steve Hunt.

School of Communication Scholarships

The Iola Stoops Juarez Endowed Journalism Scholarship • Kade Heather, Cindy Hernandez, Monica Mendoza
The Pantagraph Endowed Scholarship • Rebecca Fletcher
The Martin F. Duffy Scholarship • Julie Martin, Hannah Zettl
The Randy Salerno Endowed Memorial Scholarship • Julie Martin
The Mayor Judy Scholarship • Bridget Norman
The Vicki Lynn Kelley Endowed Scholarship • Ashley Antonini
The Edwards Medal Speech Contest • Bethany Dain
The Doris Dungey Endowed Scholarship • Hope Daly
The Lloyd & Mary Watkins Endowed Communication Studies Scholarship • David Donnick, Jennifer Wadas
The Marvin D. Kleinau Endowment in Forensics• Riley Carroll
The Dr. John Baldwin Leadership Endowed Award • Molly Lawless
The Harry & Jo Thiel “Red Line” Scholarship • Cindy Hernandez
Illinois Broadcasters Association Endowed Scholarship • Brian James

TV-10 Awards

Illinois News Broadcasters Association

Outstanding Videography • 1st Place – Brad Fosler • 2nd Place – Jake Epstein
Outstanding Hard News Program • 2nd Place – “Bottom Line” by Melissa Schoper, Carleigh Gray, Stephanie Rodriguez, Coty Diaz, Janeil Lewis
Illinois News Broadcasters Association Student Scholarship • Carleigh Gray
Radio Television Digital News Association Carole Simpson Scholarship • Stephanie Rodriguez

TV-10 News Team

Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards

Best Longform Entertainment Programming • 3rd Place – “Ten on 10” by Kourtney Adams, Tiffany Hernandez, Ashley Shannon, Matty Jiles, Jessi Brutton
Best Newscast • 3rd Place – “TV-10 News” by Alyssa Ortiz, Isabella Rodriguez, Haley Kosik, Alyssa Carlson, Tiff any Morrison, Kate Chapman, Dania De La Hoya
Best TV News Package • 2nd Place – “Peterson Trial” by Stephanie Rodriguez, Coty Diaz
Best TV Photojournalism • 3rd Place • Katlyn Broderick
Chicago Midwest Regional Emmy Nominations Arts & Culture • “That’s Art Now” by Adam Rebora
General News • “Music For Mom” by Carleigh Gray
IBA Multicultural Internships Summer 2018 • Katarina Beck, Dania De La Hoya

WZND Awards

Broadcast Education Association

Signature Station Award, 2018 College Radio Station of the Year

Society of Professional Journalists Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards

Radio In-Depth Reporting • Finalists – “Bird’s I View- Election Preview” by WZND News Staff RADIO
News Reporting •  Finalists – “Dakota Access Pipeline Protests” by Baylee Steelman
Radio News Reporting • Finalists – “Democratic National Convention” by Haley Kosik
Radio Sports Reporting •  Finalists – “ISU Pep Band” by Carie Kuehn
Radio Feature • Finalists – “EIU Funding Feature” by Mike Miletich

WZND with their award for Broadcast Education Association 2018 Signature Station of the year.

College Broadcasters Association

Best Social Media Presence •  1st Place – WZND
Best Station Imaging • 2nd Place – WZND

Illinois Broadcasters Association

Best Radio News Story • 1st Place – “Planned Parenthood Protest Story” by Maddy Wierus,
2nd Place – “Trump Protest Story” by Jake Fahrow
Best Radio Recorded Promotion • 1st Place – “Tinder Promo” by Ashley Antonini, Andrew Cohen, Luke Schneider,  3rd Place – “WZND Rules to Win Promo” by Andrew Cohen, Melanie Holden
Best Radio PSA • 1st Place – “Special Olympics PSA” by Mike O’Donnell, 3rd Place – “Redbird Safe Walk” by Julia Gramont
Best Radio Sports Story • 1st Place – “MiKyle Mcintosh Story” by Blake Haas, 3rd Place – “ISU Golf Story” by Neil Doyle
Best Radio/TV Live Game Sports Broadcast • 1st Place – “ISU Softball vs Bradley” by Neil Doyle, Matthew Goeken,  3rd  Place – “MVC Semifinal” by Neil Doyle, Steve Wrzala
Best Sales Presentation • 1st Place – “Lucca Grill” by Adam Evans
Best Station Use of New Media • 1st Place – “WZND Social Media” by Mackenzie Nickens, Sharvelle Bullock
Social Media Staff •  3rd Place – “” by Kristina Ilieva, Kaitlyn Mayer, Multimedia Staff
Best Radio/TV Promotional or Public Service Campaign •  1st Place – “Watch Out for WZND” by Jessica O’Grady, and Claire O’Ryan, Promotions Staff
Best Radio Aircheck •  2nd Place – Nathan Yurgin
Best Radio Station Newscast • 3rd Place – Andy Olson

SINBA Awards

Outstanding Hard Radio Program •  1st Place – “Bird’s I View. One Year Later” by WZND News Staff
Outstanding Soft Radio Program • 1st Place -“Redzone” by Connor Boyd, Steve Wrzala, Jason Klaer
Outstanding Radio Newscast •  1st Place – Matthew Goeken
Outstanding Radio Sports Reporting • 1st Place – “ISU Pep Band” by Carie Kuehn,  2nd Place – “Accardo” by Frank Murray
Outstanding Radio Sports Play-by-Play • 2nd Place – “Morehead” by Steve Wrzala
Outstanding Use of Sound • 2nd Place – “ISU Pep Band” by Carie Kuehn

Student Involvement Awards

Registered Student Organization: Outstanding Philanthropic Program • “Turkey Bowl” by WZND
Broadcast Education Association Abe Voron Scholarship • Ashley Antonini, Brian James
John Bayliss Award • Kaitlyn Mayer
2018 Signature Station of the Year • WZND

2018 Vidette Staff

Vidette Awards

Illinois College Press Association

General Excellence • 1st Place – Vidette Staff
Opinion Pace • 1st Place – Ema Sasic, Editorial Board
Editorial Cartoon • 1st Place – Ash Brown
Sports Page Design •  1st Place – Josh Tolentino
Headline Writing •  1st Place – Deb Bethel
Classified Section • 1st Place – Classified Staff
Online News Site • 2nd Place – Vidette Staff
Front Page Layout • 2nd Place – Ema Sasic
Entertainment Supplement • 2nd Place – Vidette Staff
Sports News Story • 2nd Place – Vidette Staff
Feature Page Design • 2nd Place – Emily Griffith
Feature Photo • 2nd Place – Monica Mendoza, Honorable Mention – Monica Mendoza
Sports Photo • Second Place – Jenna Kadziulis
Advertisement Less Than Full Page • 2nd Place – John Lynch, Honorable Mention – Evan Morris
Multimedia Reporting •  3rd Place – Vidette Staff, Honorable Mention – Ema Sasic, Mary Cullen, Kelly McNamara
In-Depth Reporting •  3rd Place • Ema Sasic
Sports Column • 3rd Place – Josh Tolentino
Sports Feature Story • 3rd Place – Nate Head
General News Photo • Honorable Mention – Natalie Stuckslager
Photo Essay • Honorable Mention – Kelly McNamara, Jenna Kadziulis
Column Excluding Sports • Honorable Mention – Emily Griffith
Sports Came Story •  Honorable Mention – Nate Head
Advertising Campaign • Honorable Mention – Evan Morris, Vidette Staff

ISU Forensics team posing with their 4th place trophy.


National Forensic Association National Tournament Spring 2018

Illinois State placed fourth out of 80 schools. The team earned 21 Octafinalists, 10 quarterfinalists, and five semifinalists. Bethany Darin took 6th in Extemporaneous Speaking and Kate Rich took 3rd. Craig Heyne took 6th in Prose. Kate rich took 2nd in Rhetorical Criticism and 4th in Impromptu, she also was the overall champion for Persuasive. Kristen Bridgemen was the overall champion for Program Oral Interpretation.

American Forensics Association National Tournament (Spring 2018)

Illinois State placed ninth out of 72 schools. The team earned eight quarterfinalists, one semifinalist, and one finalist. Bethany Dain took fourth place with Impromptu Speaking.

2018 Illinois Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship

Illinois State took second place overall, welcoming five state champions: An’Tonai Boykin, Tia Collins, Mike Maloney and Kate Rich. Illinois State received the George Armstrong Cumulative Sweepstakes award, the Curt Byars Oratory award, and took second overall. Kate Rich and Rocky Roque earned qualifications to represent Illinois at the Interstate Oratory Contest.

2018 Interstate Oratorical Contest

IOC is the oldest public speaking contest in the United States. Kate Rich and Rocky Roque will represent Ilinois in April 2018. This is the first time in the history of this tournament that ISU captured both qualifications given to the state of Illinois.


WGLT Staff (from left to right)- Charlie Schlenker, Ryan Denham, Baylee Steelman, and Judith Valente.

2018 Illinois News Broadcasters Association Spring Convention

Best Digital Presence • 1st place
Best Reporter • 1st place- Ryan Denham
Best Reporter • 2nd place- Judith Valente
Best Lighting Feature • 2nd place-  Jon Norton

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2 thoughts on “Kudos earned across the School of Communication

  1. Diana Corley Schnapp BS'68; MS'70 says:

    What a great testament to the work of both faculty and students is proven by the many awards. My entire career in Speech Communication was the result of the coursework and faculty in the discipline.

  2. Ray Fenton BS'67,MS'68 says:

    Wow! What a good year for the School of Communication! Glad the Forensics Teams are still doing well.