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SMC holds annual Honors and Awards Banquet

TAMPA, Fla. -- More than $86,000 in scholarships were awarded this year to mass communications students by non-university organizations and individuals during the School of Mass Communications annual Honors and Awards Banquet, held on Thursday, April 25, at the Busch Gardens Colony House. The School also recognized retiring faculty and outstanding alumni for their hard work and contributions.

“We are so grateful to our donors for making all of our scholarships and fellowships possible,” said Nico Karagosian, senior director of development. “Despite USF’s relatively affordable tuition, private support has become increasingly necessary to assist students with reaching their goals. Without the generosity of these donors, many students would face insurmountable financial obstacles. Instead, they are realizing their educational dreams.”

The evening began with a warm welcome from Kelli Burns, Ph.D., and a dinner for the honorees and their friends and family. Burns is associate director and associate professor for the School of Mass Communications, head of the public relations sequence and adviser to the honor society Kappa Tau Alpha.

A sincere thank you went out to two retiring professors, Kenneth Killebrew and Edward Friedlander for their time at USF and with the mass communications program. Killebrew began teaching at USF in 1996, and Friedlander began teaching at USF in 1995.

More than 60 students were chosen and recognized for their achievements and awarded scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000. Only juniors and seniors who have declared a major in mass communications, have completed at least six hours of mass communications courses at USF, are currently enrolled in mass communications courses at USF and have a 3.0 overall GPA were eligible to apply. Applicants were required to write a personal statement explaining their goals and interests pertaining to their sequence.

Public Relations student Danielle Kushner was awarded the Deanne Dewey Roberts Scholarship, the largest award of the evening.

“Receiving the Deanne Dewey Roberts Scholarship is an inspirational honor, and I am very thankful,” Kushner said. “I've heard from many that Deanne was a motivated woman who valued inspirational leadership. To me, this award illustrates that I also value inspirational leadership. I am driven to creating positive change within the communities I am involved with and will continue to give back. As a member of my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, I live our tagline, ‘Exceed the Expectation.’ It is clear that Deanne exceeded all of her expectations, and this award means that I am living my values! While I do not seek for any reward or recognition for my work, I can honestly say that this award means the world to me."

This summer Kushner will be interning at GolinHarris, a public relations and communications firm, in New York City. She is expected to graduate in May 2014 and hopes to continue to work in a PR firm after graduation while giving back to organizations she’s passionate about.

Six undergraduate students and two graduate students from the School of Mass Communications were inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha (KTA) the day before the banquet. Kappa Tau Alpha is a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communications. Burns recognized the eight students at the event as KTA Top Scholars.

Torie Doll, who graduated from the telecommunication sequence earlier this month, was one of the six undergraduate students inducted into KTA.

“Being inducted into KTA is a big honor for me,” Doll said. “Not only was I the only production student at USF who was given this honor, it also meant I ranked in the top 10 percent of my major. I remember last year's award ceremony and seeing the KTA induction. Since then, I had been hoping I would get that email -- and I actually did! I always knew I had good grades, but I never realized exactly how I ranked among my peers and so the email came as a shock.”

Doll said she is very proud of herself.

“It felt great to wear the KTA pin and medal at graduation,” she said. “Hard work always pays off in the end. Graduating in general is an accomplishment, but then to be recognized for it, that's a feeling no one can take away from you.”

Doll has been working as a video editor at Diamond View Studios for the past year and will continue to work there for the next few years. Her dream goal is to work at a production company editing movie trailers.

A long-time member of the KTA honor society James Doughton was inducted to the Kappa Tau Alpha Hall of Fame. Doughton graduated from USF with a B.A. in Mass Communications. He worked many different positions at the St. Petersburg Times, worked as the advertising director for the New York Times Co. in Sarasota and was named publisher of the Gainesville Sun. In 2012, Doughton was named publisher for the Ocala Star-Banner and became regional publisher for the Halifax Media Group with responsibility for Gainesville, Daytona, Ocala, Lakeland, Winter Haven and Sarasota.

Following the KTA awards, an Outstanding Alumnus Award was given to Mario Garcia Jr., president of Garcia Interactive. Garcia attended graduate school at USF and received a B.A. in mass communications where he also has served as an adjunct professor. He is a digital strategist, storyteller and multidisciplinary designer with an eye for innovation.

“It's really an honor to be recognized by the School of Mass Communications,” Garcia said. “Any recognition like this is humbling, but it also validates a lot of the decisions you make along the way that you may have questioned at the time. It’s a reminder to keep an open mind, stay positive and leave room for serendipity in anything you do.”

While Garcia pursued his B.A. in mass communications, he gained a solid foundation in mass media and storytelling to engage audiences. Garcia said with all of the great professors he learned from, there was one class that that stood out from the rest: Broadcast Law with Manny Lucoff, Ph.D.

“At the time, I thought it was the most challenging class I took at USF,” he said. “But the experience of learning to adapt to his expectations and push myself really stuck with me and influenced much of my professional career.”

Garcia said he is constantly learning new things about the digital world. He speaks, blogs, teaches and trains in the areas of multi-platform storytelling and design, sharing his passion for all things digital.

“The digital landscape is evolving at such a great speed that learning never stops,” he said. “And just being able to share the excitement of each new discovery and how its application help change the media landscape is rewarding.”

The following faculty members handed out the scholarships in their sequence: Hal Vincent, advertising; Kelly Werder, public relations; Kristin Arnold Ruyle, journalism and telecommunications; and Michael Mitrook, graduate studies.

Advertising Awards
Venkata Addepalli, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Andrea Basile, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Christa Beck, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Trent Bellet, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Chelsie Blackwell, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Sarah Brandon, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Ashley Damschen, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Aisha Hatter, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Annie Macklin, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Christopher Mejia, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Daria Milligan, Endowed Advertising & Cammie Lyn Krusoe Memorial Scholarship
Chelse Osborn, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Steven Piskoty, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Kyla Ross, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Joanna Salwa , Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Connor Storch, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Carla Viloria, Endowed Advertising Scholarship
Kayla Whitten, Endowed Advertising Scholarship

Public Relations Awards
Sophiko Geguchadze, Nelson E. Irving Endowed Scholarship
Marissa Kosiec, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Danielle Kushner, Deanne Dewey Roberts Scholarship
Christian Quintero, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Jordan Rose, Tampa Electric Company Minority Scholarship
Angela Schweers, Garry K. Bernstein Memorial Scholarship
Kelsey Tucker, Cammie Lyn Krusoe Memorial Scholarship
Ashley Weinaug, John Cassato Scholarship
Julianne Wilhelm, Michael B. Manning APR Scholarship
Michaela Williams, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Nicole Yourison, Walter E. Griscti Scholarship

Journalism Awards
Rolla Al-Abbasi, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Mary Badonsky, Tampa Tribune Minority Scholarship
Danielle Davis, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Elizabeth Engasser, Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship
Arielle Giordano, Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship
Brandi Hollis, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Divya Kumar, Mass Comm Endowed Scholarship
Andrea Romero, Tampa Tribune Minority Scholarship
Marc Seide, Tampa Bay Times Minority Scholarship
Shaunda Wickham, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship

Telecommunications Awards
Christopher Andrews, Kerry Sanders NBC News Fellowship
Veronica Beltran, Tampa Bay Television Scholarship
Rachel Brown, Brighthouse Network Scholarship
Lee Buese, Jack Harris Endowed Scholarship
Amanda Castillo, Tampa Bay Times Minority Scholarship
Elsie De Marziani, Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship
Andrew Haimerl, Nelson E. Irving Endowed Scholarship & Brighthouse Network Scholarship
Brett Jacobs, Brighthouse Network Scholarship
Shayla Keller, Brighthouse Network Scholarship
Angelika Krug, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Kristel Lugo, Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship
Kevin Mangal , Tampa Electric Company Minority Scholarship
Annarelis Marquez, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Lashawn Metellus, Adele Tyre Memorial Scholarship
Banel Paulinis, Tom McEwan Endowed Scholarship
Tavondra Price, Brighthouse Network Scholarship
Shalaine Rowe, Kerry Sanders NBC News Fellowship
Rita Sibaja, Tampa Bay Television Scholarship
Tyler Smith, Jim Liguori Endowed Scholarship
Hope Williams, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Charity Wright, Brighthouse Network Scholarship

Graduate Studies Awards
Nicholas Fancera, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Lauren Webber, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship
Tracy Wisneski, Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship
Theresa Woods, John and Jerry Wing Alexander Endowed Scholarship

Kappa Tau Alpha Recognition
Undergraduate Inductees:
Jessica Lee
Ainsley Carter
Torie Doll
Jade Webster
Raneshia Lawrence
Stephanie Fred
Graduate Inductees:
Lauren Webber
Rob Oldenbanning

To learn more about the awarded scholarships, view the School of Mass Communications Scholarships’ flier. Visit the College of Arts and Sciences' Facebook page to view pictures from the banquet.

Filed under:Arts and Sciences Mass Communications Student Success   
Author: Ella Farnsworth