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College of Information and Communications

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SJMC recognizes outstanding students

Posted April 24, 2020
Top Video: Watch the entire 2020 Virtual Award presentation, including a message from Dr. Andrea Hickerson, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.  Links to the individual sequence presentations can be found below.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications was unable to host its annual Awards Day ceremony, but that didn’t stop faculty from honoring the school’s best and brightest students.

“The SJMC is stacked with impressive talent,” says Director Andrea Hickerson. “Awards Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate an exceptional few recognized by faculty for their achievements. It is very affirming for the SJMC community to see the totality of the work of these hard-working and gifted individuals as they get ready to make their mark somewhere else.”  

Meet our student award recipients and view some of their outstanding work by visiting the links for each of them.


Watch the virtual presentation of our advertising awards on YouTube »

Outstanding Advertising Seniors

Divneet Lamba
Divneet Lamba is one of American Advertising Federations 2020 Most Promising Multicultural Students, which landed her a lot of New York City career opportunities and her face on a digital billboard in Time Square. She has participated in The Carolina Agency and undergraduate research. Divneet is the quiet researcher who you can always count on for finding a solution to any problem. She has been a great student and hard-working AdTeam member who helped our team take second place in the District 3 National Student Advertising Competition.

Jack Landess
From being the president of the Student Advertising Federation to being awarded the Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship at IBM, Jack Landess has done it all. His intense drive led him to participate in all advertising related opportunities and he has developed into a great leader with a bright future ahead in research and strategy. Jack was part of our National Student Advertising Competition team that took second place at the District 3 competition and is one of only two of our students who have been selected as finalist in the Washington Media Scholars Competition. 

Alpha Delta Sigma - The national professional advertising honorary society in American higher education. 

Jacqueline Heydet
Jack Landess

Broadcast Journalism

Watch the virtual presentation of the broadcast journalism awards on YouTube »

Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Reporting

Elena Barilla
When considering this year’s nominees for Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Reporting, one name stood out from the crowd.  Elena has been at the top of her class in many ways.  As a junior, she won a coveted student Emmy award for Serious Reporting for Columbia Structural Safety, followed by multiple regional awards for her hard news coverage, and was ultimately named top student journalist of the year for the Carolinas (D. Haney Howell Student Journalist of the Year), given by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas). Today, Elena represents the best of us as a multimedia journalist at NBC5 news in New York/New Hampshire.

Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Leadership

Mercy Myers
Mercy Myers epitomizes leadership, which is why she’s this year’s Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Leadership.  When she launches into a team project (like producing a Carolina Insider), you know two things:  (1) she’ll come prepared with a lot of wonderful ideas, and (2) she’ll set a high standard for her teammates.  To be clear, Mercy will never ask more of her colleagues than she’s willing to give herself.  Mercy has proven she’s hungry to learn, grow and demonstrate her commitment to journalism.  We have no doubt she’ll be successful in her broadcast career — not just in her first job a a news producer at WCIV-TV in Charleston, but eventually as a leader in her field.


Watch the virtual presentation of the journalism awards on YouTube »

George Andrew Buchanan Award

Maria Jutton
When he nominated Maria, Professor Kevin Hull put things matter-of-factly: “If Maria doesn’t win one of these awards, we should just cancel the entire the entire awards competition and burn the school down because what’s the point of even being here? She’s perhaps the most impressive student I’ve had in my time here.”  Maria’s multimedia writing is outstanding. She challenged herself to become an ace with the camera and editing, took classes that were outside her comfort zone and was a writer for the CIC communications team. And she did it all with an awesome attitude.  Professors in her Intermediate Reporting and  Senior Semester capstone course echoed the sentiment that Maria “should win every award we give.”   She is the perfect student, Instructor Carolyn Click noted, “smart, inquisitive, and always, always willing to take on any assignment.”  

Rion McKissick Award

McKenzie Lindberg
When she nominated McKenzie, Senior Semester instructor Carolyn Click remarked that McKenzie “did not save up intensity for a rainy day.” Her professors in 471 and Senior Semester say she is a dynamic individual, always working to make her reporting and photography the best it can be. And she did this with honesty and integrity. She hated side-by-side editing but couldn’t resist engaging with her instructor/editors to make her work better. She suffered a spring break bicycling accident that laid her up and put her in a wrist cast but still managed to show up each day to brainstorm stories for the morning meeting. For her journalistic perseverance, McKenzie was honored with the J. Rion McKissick award.

Mass Communications

Watch the virtual presentation of the mass communications award on YouTube »

Outstanding Mass Communications Senior

Jesse Alexander Surette 
Jesse is a prime example of a hardworking, conscientious student from a small South Carolina town. He grew up in Manning and earned an associate degree through Central Carolina Technical College in an early college program while still in high school. He’s a Preston Scholar and a Capstone Fellow; he also interned at Gamecock Live Productions, wrote for the UofSC website, and will graduate with the university’s prestigious Leadership Distinction recognition. He has met every challenge with success and is deserving of the Mass Communications Outstanding Senior Award – graduating with a 4.0.

Public Relations

Watch the virtual presentation of the public relations awards on YouTube »

Outstanding Public Relations Senior

Sarah Eissmann
Sarah has distinguished herself as a leader, role model and a committed student who is highly dedicated to everything she does both in and out of the classroom. She has been a news writer and copy editor for the Daily Gamecock, membership director for PRSSA and an account manager for The Carolina Agency. She has served as public relations director for both  Green Team at Preston and the Residence Hall Association, as well as membership chair of Zeta Phi Eta, a service sorority. Through internships with a children’s hospital and a school district communications office, she developed a passion for in-house communications, which she plans to pursue after completing her master’s degree in public relations at Syracuse University. She has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and an eternally positive attitude that is encouraging to everyone around her.

Hugh Munn Award

Victoria Carroll
The Hugh Munn Award recognizes the public relations senior who has shown the most outstanding contribution to community relations. As this year’s winner, Tori has worked in a variety of health and non-profit settings, flexing her leadership skills and fostering relationships with local businesses and community partners. Tori has served as marketing and events intern for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and as digital marketing intern for the healthcare agency Prescription PR. She also worked in communications for UofSC’s largest philanthropic organization, Dance Marathon, creating visual campaigns for fundraising events. As a CIC Dean’s Ambassador, she helps to represent our fantastic program and recruit top talent to our school. Tori’s work embodies Hugh Munn’s tremendous legacy.

Outstanding Internship

Kaitlin Maroney
The Outstanding Internship Award recognizes the public relations senior with the most outstanding internship experiences. Kaitlin served in eight internship positions across a diverse range of organizations, including top agencies like Chernoff Newman in Columbia, South Carolina, and Burson, Cohn & Wolfe in New York City. Whether pitching for big global brands like Elmer’s, Contigo and Rubbermaid, or advocating for the Carolina Homelessness Outreach here on campus, Kaitlin’s portfolio and phenomenal  experiences outside of the classroom have set her up to pursue her dream gig of working for a large-scale global PR firm.

Visual Communications

Watch the virtual presentation of the visual communications awards on YouTube »

Outstanding Visual Communications Senior

Meredith Price
Meredith is an amazing visual artist, a double major (dance) and her work has a defined clean style. She participated in Student Media, becoming creative director for the award-winning Garnet & Black Magazine in 2019 and won Best Cover Series in the American Advertising Federation’s ADDY's in 2020. Meredith was awarded a Fellowship by the College of Information and Communications to attend South By Southwest 2019 and blogged her experience. She has led teams of students and has a keen eye for impactful and visually engaging communication. Meredith is a multifaceted student, hard working, and diligent, also pursuing dance at a professional level, participating as a full-time dance major at UofSC and dancing with a local professional dance company. 

Outstanding Photographer

Savannah Cerniglia
Faculty said that Savannah could have won multiple awards as she is not only an excellent photographer but is also an outstanding videographer and designer, as you can tell from her portfolio. She won Best of Show and a Gold ADDY award for cinematography for her Charleston Tea Plantation documentary (which has now won a regional award and is going on to Nationals).  Savannah also won a Silver ADDY in Animation or Special Effects for Atomic Coffee. She also was a producer and director of photography for Student Media's 1080C Productions, served as a lead guide and content creator for GIVE Volunteers and was a social media marketing intern for UofSC Undergraduate Admissions.

Outstanding Designer

Maggie Gosiger
Maggie is well-rounded, having taken relevant courses outside of the sequence. Her skills are exemplary; she is a true artist.  The faculty agree that she had the most impressive portfolio from her cohort. Maggie won three Silver ADDY Awards for her Slightly Stoopid Gig Poster,  tv ad “One roll at a time" and documentary "The Big Mo". She also completed three internships, including one with Heat + Deloitte Digital in SoHo, New York, where she doubled as a designer and art director to create social content, creative content, and brand identities for a wide variety of brands. 

Other Honorees


Honor Graduates

Summa Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.0)

Alyssa Haley Broer, Victoria Lynn Canada, Sarah Katherine Eissmann, Courtney Henderson Foster, Maria Elizabeth Jutton, Jack Hamilton Landess, Margaret Ryan Luke, Michael Brendan McDowell, Sarah-Sims  McGrath, Maddox Grace McKibben-Greene, Erica Christine Mijon, Madison Evans Poindexter, Meredith Avery Price, Sarah Jane Simpson, Jesse Alexander Surette and Hanna Marie Wilde.

Magna Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.949)
Samuel States Beall, Tavashia Tiana-Nikita Berry, Tucker Elizabeth Bolhous, Elizabeth Braxton Breeze, Darby Micaela Campbell, Savannah Marie Cerniglia, Natalie Ilima Chuck, Grayson Elizabeth Cline, Rachel Natalie Davis, Julianne Kayce Domnauer, Lauren Kimberly Folsom, Katie Lynn Gilliland, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Graybill, Kiersten Leigh Greene, Olivia Catherine Griffin, Emily Callahan Hall, Meagan Allene Horres, Arlington Edgefield Johnson, Leah Jan Kaczmarek, Ellie Catherine Larson, Alexandria Grace Lee, McKenzie Anna Lindberg, St Cyr Cosette Luttmer, Kaitlin Lucille Maroney, Manuel Enrique Mata Hernandez, Hazel Shea Mathieu, Emma Kathleen Milner, Caroline Eva Moore, Samantha Ann Morris, Mercy Ann Myers, Tyler Elizabeth Nye, Michael Ryan Olson, Sarah Elizabeth Starke Pritchard, Chloe Grace Rafferty, Charlotte Ashley Raiford, Emile Madalyn Roberts, Simeon Reed Roberts, Ansley Guynelle Robertson, Michael Paul Rogers, Olivia Marie Satterfield, Mitchell Redmond Scholten, Taylor Elise Scott, Kelsey Rae Shalonis, Taylor Mary Sharkey, Madison Rachael Sheinker, Alexander Maxwell Shepard, Bryden Elizabeth Simmons, Richard Grant Singleton, Kelly McGill Soder, Lilly Beth Strickland, Zachary Thomas Sweat, Evan Lowry Turner and Natalie Noelle Werner.

Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.749)
Sarah Paige Bozardt, Taylor Elizabeth Apel, Daisy  Arbelaez, Emily Elizabeth Aysse, Samantha Irene Blankenship, Hannah Gray Bonini, Megan Cody Buechler, Carey Rowden Burgess, Anya Victoria Carney, Victoria Marie Carroll, Abigail Esther Cashman, Jaclyn Lorraine Castaldi, Blair Neil Cavanaugh, Denali Renee Culver, Samantha Terese Custer, Nicole Susan Dennis, Abby Rose Diggs, Megan Nicole Edgemond, Elizabeth Marie Ehmen, Christopher Carlos Escudero, Colleen Mary Gallagher, Hannah Rose Garfein, Lauren Kaye Gibeaut, Kelly Noelle Gilson, Molly Delaine Godley, John Michael Good, Dominique Gloria Goodman, Morgan  Grimes, Katherine Elizabeth Hagan, Claire Hensley Hardy, Kelly Elizabeth Hart, Jacqueline Annette Heydet, Drew Louise Hill, Morgan Briggs Hill, Lexie Hope Jarvis, Mikaela Elizabeth Kelly, Sydney Brooke Klawans, Amanda Lynn Kramer, Brennen Lahn, Divneet Kaur Lamba, Payton Giorann Lira, Elizabeth Davis Livingston, Maxwell Stockton Long, Hannah Grace Longyear, Sarah Kathleen Massengale, Kathryn Jane Massucco, Emma Elizabeth McCurley, Caleigh Elizabeth McDaniel, Sloane Legare McIntire, Brittany Ann McLean, Wallace Anne Mixon, Erin Mooney, Phoebe Victoria Murray, Taylor Grace Nicholson, Hannah Parrish Norman, Claire Margret O'Connor, Gianna Irene Pace, Mattie DeVoe Price, William Alexander Rioux, Frances Starr Rosseland-Harrison, Haley Shea Salvador, Sarah Jane Smith, Cassidy Anne Spencer, Landon Charles Stamper, Ashton Ross Stephens, Anna Kathryn Stoddard, Francesca Susan Strazzera, Sarah Elizabeth Supan, Laurryn Kamilah Thomas, Alexandra Maria Valcourt, Sierra Faith Vasko, Bailey Morgan Vincett, Reid Gregory Williams and Caroline Noelle Wolfe.

Albert T. Scroggins Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha - KTA

National Journalism and Mass Communications Honor Society

Savannah Bennett, Annaliese Bennett, Kelli Boling, Brooke Burris, Miranda Butler, Liam Carse, Savannah Cerniglia, Kate Chalfant, Minhee Choi, Madyn Coakley, Olivia Dodds, Elyssa Fishman, Lauren Folsom, Ryan Gareis, McKenzie Hagwood, Catherine Harris, Abigail Hauck, Daniel Haun, McKenna Healy, Ashley Jackson, Howard Jolles, Margaret Luke, Kaitlin Maroney, Alena McCraw, Claire McGrath, Rachael McIntosh, Erica Mijon, Caroline O'Looney, Carson Peaden, Juliana Piano, Meredith Price, Chloe Rafferty, Alexis Robinson, Thomas Santaniello, Hannah Sullivan, Matthew Tantillo, Caroline Tolly, Courtney Trammell, Katie Valdez, Madeline Ward, Hanna Wilde, Sarah Wilson and Laura Zwiebel.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.