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School of Communications hosts end-of-year awards celebration

During its annual awards ceremony, hosted April 18 in Turner Theatre, the school acknowledged high achievement from students, faculty and staff.

The School of Communications recognized the achievements of students, faculty and staff during the past academic year at the school’s annual awards celebration held on April 18 in Turner Theatre. The end-of-year awards ceremony featured several heartfelt moments – and even included the floss, heads on sticks and a few “dusty” eyes.

Assistant Professor Young Do Kim (left) and Communications Manager Tommy Kopetskie were recognized at this year’s awards celebration.

Presiding over her first school awards ceremony, Communications Dean Rochelle Ford called the gathering an opportunity for “excellence to be recognized in Elon University School of Communications.”

Photos of the ceremony are available on the school’s Flickr page.

Student Achievement

Nineteen outstanding students were selected from among more than 1,300 communications majors to be honored for their exceptional contributions in and out of the classroom. Those honored meet the highest academic standards, have been active in on-campus media and student organizations, and have achieved great success in challenging internships.

Outstanding Senior Awards

These five awards recognize outstanding personal and professional achievements by graduating seniors who have demonstrated through consistent performance extraordinary knowledge and ability in their areas of specialization, and have made significant contributions to the School of Communications and the major.

Anna Cosentino, Media Analytics Award. Presented by Brian Walsh.
Maya Eaglin, Journalism Award. Presented by Rich Landesberg.
Lillian Engel, Cinema and Television Arts Award. Presented by Nicole Triche and Colin Donohue.
Brooke Muller, Strategic Communications Award. Presented by Jessalynn Strauss.
Hannah Podhorzer, Communication Design Award. Presented by Phillip Motley.

Student Scholarships

Times-News Scholarship
Victoria Traxler ’21

This scholarship provides financial aid for a student studying journalism in the School of Communications who has demonstrated leadership, scholarship, service to the community, and exemplary character traits. Presented by Colin Donohue.

William F. Neff Experience Scholarship
Kaitlyn Lengyel ’22

This scholarship is awarded to a student within the School of Communications to complete one of the Elon Experiences. Presented by William Moner.

Stanley Albright and Grace Lillian Cook Scholarship
Brian Rea ’21

This scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in journalism. Presented by Kelly Furnas.

D’Angelo Family Scholarship in Memory of Bill and Kappy Leonard         
Grace Morris ’20

Established by Drs. Lawrence and Dolores D’Angelo P’02, the D’Angelo Scholarship recognizes the achievements of an outstanding rising senior in the field of broadcast communication. The late Bill Leonard, former president of CBS News, was influential in the creation of “60 Minutes,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and a host of other landmark news programs, and Kappy Leonard was the unofficial first lady of the news division. Presented by Anthony Hatcher

Dubois Legacy Scholarship
Jasmine Ruffin ’21

This endowed scholarship recognizes students who demonstrate a consistent commitment to academic study, and shows great promise through participation in informational study and internships. The scholarship honors Courtney Dubois Needham '95, and her family, Charles and Keith Dubois, for the many contributions they have made to Elon and to the field of communications. Presented by Nicole Triche

Anthony & Olga Duke Communications Scholarship
Kyra Letsinger ’21

This scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in communications who has a strong academic record. Presented by Sana Haq.

A.J. Fletcher Award
Calissa Holder ’21 and Cameron Wilson ’21

This award honors an outstanding student majoring in strategic or broadcast communications who demonstrates a wide-ranging interest in the field, service to the community and leadership in campus or his/her personal life. Presented by Denise Hill and Michele Lashley

Foreman Scholarship
Sophia Ortiz ’21

This scholarship, awarded to a promising student in television production, is named in memory of James Michael Elzar Foreman, a student in the School of Communications who died in 2007. The scholarship is to be used for an Elon Experience. Presented by Nicole Triche.

Brad Hamm International Communications Scholarship
Joseph Henry-Penrose ’20

This scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior enrolled in the School of Communications who is either an international student or has demonstrated strong international interest. Presented by Bryan Baker.

James F. Hurley Legacy Scholarship
Anton Delgado ’20

This scholarship is awarded to a junior in journalism or communications who has demonstrated excellence in the field. The scholarship is named in memory of James F. Hurley Sr. and James F. Hurley Jr. and in honor of James F. Hurley III, all of whom served as publishers of The Salisbury Post. Presented by Anthony Hatcher.

James Wesley Willard II Memorial Scholarship
Brianna Nobles ’21

This scholarship is named in memory of James Wesley Willard II, a student in the School of Communications who died in 2005. It is awarded to a student in the School of Communications who has a strong academic record. Presented by David Bockino.

Priestley Scholarship
Abigail Gibbs '21

This scholarship assists a female student who is a rising sophomore, junior or senior majoring in print journalism and who is preparing for a career as a writer for public circulation newspapers and magazines. The scholarship was established by the late Dr. Mary Ellen Priestley, a former professor of English and journalism at Elon and adviser to The Pendulum, and her husband, Gerard. Presented by Kelly Furnas

Founding Dean Scholarship
Jack Haley ’21

This scholarship was established in 2018 by School of Communications advisory board members, faculty, staff and alumni in recognition of the 17 years of service by the school’s founding dean, Paul Parsons. The scholarship is awarded to a rising senior with a strong academic record in one of the school’s majors. Presented by Paul Parsons.

The Sport Management Scholarship and Outstanding Major in Sport Management honors will be presented at the Sport Management Department’s banquet on Tuesday, May 7.

Faculty Achievement

Following the student awards, three faculty members and one staff member in the School of Communications were recognized for their outstanding work this academic year.

Ford presented Assistant Professor Young Do Kim, Associate Professor Dan Haygood, Assistant Professor Max Negin and Communications Manager Tommy Kopetskie with the following awards.

Excellence in Teaching Award
Young Do Kim

The award recognizes a faculty member who is outstanding in the classroom, current in the discipline, a quality academic adviser, and committed to student learning at the highest level.

From the dean’s introduction: Young Do Kim teaches a full six-course load in the Sport Management Department and specializes in sport marketing and sport finance classes. Additionally, he supervised five students completing internships and advised 15 sport management majors. In their evaluations, students noted that Kim develops great relationships and establishes a learning environment that is among the best at Elon. One student in Kim's finance class said: “by far and away, the best professor I have ever had in school. Super engaging and fun to learn from.” Kim’s teaching and mentoring extend beyond the classroom as he has mentored majors and minors in case competitions and undergraduate research.

Kim’s “teaching impact has been substantial, as he raised the bar for teaching excellence in the department,” said Associate Professor Tony Weaver, chair of the Sport Management Department.

Excellence in Scholarship Award
Dan Haygood

This award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly and creative work is of high quality and brings distinction to Elon.

From the dean’s introduction: While most students recognize faculty’s teaching and mentoring abilities, faculty are also required to be scholars. In 2018, Dan Haygood presented three peer-refereed research papers at journalism conferences on topics ranging from history of U.S. sports broadcasting to an analysis of news magazines’ coverage of Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek in the 1930s. Additionally, he hosted conference presentations and turned his research into journal articles and book chapters. Haygood has collaborated with fellow professors to produce published research on topics related to advertising jobs and journalism history. At this year’s Broadcast Education Association conference, a panel discussant said Haygood’s research paper was named as a top paper because it was ready for publication, with no edits or revisions necessary. In addition to traditional scholarship, he organized a panel at BEA about branded sports content featuring working professionals, and supported high school journalism by speaking at the Columbia Press Association convention discussing branding of scholastic journalism/media properties and helping with the North Carolina Scholastic Journalism Institute. Furthermore, he reviewed papers for an AEJMC conference and participated in professional development workshops on and off campus. 

“Although he is on sabbatical, he has not just rested away from campus, he has worked feverously on finishing his sport history book,” Ford concluded.

Excellence in Leadership Award
Max Negin

The award recognizes a member of the School of Communications who richly contributes to the betterment and reputation of the school and the discipline.

From the dean’s introduction: Part of Elon University’s strategic plan was to establish ESPN-quality broadcasts and to create a recruiting vehicle that would draw talented students to Elon to engage in sport communications. Max Negin took on this challenge with focus, energy and dedication. He successfully created a new course for students accepted to the Maroon Sports Cohort, where he exposed them to the world of live sport broadcasting and the opportunities on campus and professionally in the sport management and communication industries. While admissions selected the students, Negin captured their diverse interest and skill levels to prepare them possible opportunities. Understanding that this new sport broadcasting program needed stronger, formal relationships with university athletics, admissions and the Communications and Sport Management Departments, he led the newly formed Maroon Sports Advisory Committee, which has developed a plan for the upcoming year, including a successful rebranding of Maroon Sports to the newly named Elon Sports Vision. Additionally, he served on the successful search/hiring committee for the school’s new coordinating producer for Maroon Sports. He has continued to advise and support the productions of the school’s ESPN2 show, “Elon Phoenix Weekly,” negotiating and renegotiating the contract with Spectrum to increase the show’s reach. His leadership continues to elevate Elon’s reputation in sport broadcasting. In addition to his teaching and research, he continues to be one of a select group of editors and replay technicians sought after to be hired to work national and regional broadcasts across multiple sports.

Outstanding Staff Member Award
Tommy Kopetskie

The award recognizes a staff member of the School of Communications who contributes to the betterment and reputation of the school and its initiatives.

From the dean’s introduction:

Tommy Kopetskie is responsible for ensuring that the achievements and activities of the Elon School of Communications are chronicled, highlighted, shared and promoted. As one who might be called a journalist in residence, he emerged into a strategic communications leader of the school, developing a branding strategy based on pro-bono brand-audit, a survey of students, and leading a new faculty and staff branding committee. The result is a new communications strategy that highlights key brand attributes like analytics, job placements and engaged learning; videos embedded into the school's website and social media channels; and strategic use of LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Kopetskie became a supervisor with students assisting him with communications activities and he continued to advise the university’s yearbook.

“(Tommy) is a humble, dedicated team member who meets deadlines, thinks, writes and produces amazing content for print, online, mobile and broadcast,” Ford said.


​At the conclusion of the ceremony, Ford and Parsons jointly recognized Associate Professor Jessica Gisclair, outgoing chair of the Communications Department. Gisclair, who will remain on faculty, served as department chair for nine years, a time of significant growth for the school and its student body.

Tommy Kopetskie,
4/19/2019 2:35 PM