School of Communications celebrates student and faculty excellence

The school hosted its end-of-year awards celebration on April 20 to acknowledge high achievement from students and faculty.

Elon University’s School of Communications recognized the achievements of both students and faculty during the past academic year at the school’s annual awards celebration on April 20.

During his introduction, Communications Dean Paul Parsons called the ceremony one of the best hours of the year, noting it’s an opportunity to “celebrate excellence in the School of Communications.” 

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

Student Achievement

Eighteen outstanding students were selected from among more than 1,200 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.

Pictured (from left) are Outstanding Senior Award recipients Haley Longbottom, Tommy Hamzik, MaryClaire Schulz, Jacob LaPlante and Rachyl Jackson.
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.

TOMMY HAMZIK, Journalism Award. Presented by Kelly Furnas
MARYCLAIRE SCHULZ, Strategic Communications Award. Presented by Barbara Miller
JACOB LAPLANTE, Cinema & Television Arts Award. Presented by Max Negin
HALEY LONGBOTTOM, Communication Design Award. Presented by Phillip Motley
RACHYL JACKSON, Media Analytics Award. Presented by Qian Xu

Student Scholarships

William F. Neff Experience Scholarship

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

Staley Albright and Grace Lillian Cook Scholarship

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

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 Ashley Pinney.

Dubois Legacy Scholarship

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 William Moner.

Anthony & Olga Duke Communications Scholarship

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

A.J. Fletcher Award

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 Amanda Sturgill and Vanessa Bravo.

Student scholarship recipients included (front, from left) Emmanuel Morgan ’19, Alexandra Schonfeld ’19, Maya Eaglin ’19, Lumiere Rostick ’20, Diego Pineda Davila ’19, (middle) Paul LeBlanc ’18, Jackie Pascale ’18, Kannon Hall ’19, Kerry Windle ’18, (back) Liam Collins ’20 and Bryan Anderson ’18.
Foreman Scholarship

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 Max Negin.

Brad Hamm International Communications Scholarship

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 Rich Landesberg.

James F. Hurley Legacy Scholarship

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 Colin Donohue.

Priestley Scholarship

This scholarship assists a female student who is majoring in 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 Michael Skube.

Times-News Scholarship

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.

James Wesley Willard II Memorial Scholarship

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 Nagatha Tonkins.

The Sport & Event Management Scholarship and Outstanding Major in Sport and Event Management honors will be presented at the Sport & Event Management Department’s banquet.

Faculty Achievement

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

Parsons presented Associate Professor Phillip Motley, Assistant Professor Vanessa Bravo and Director of Internships and Assistant Professor Nagatha Tonkins with the following awards.

Pictured (from left) are School of Communications faculty and staff members Phillip Motley, Vanessa Bravo and Nagatha Tonkins.
Excellence in Teaching Award

The award recognizes a faculty member who is excellent in the classroom, current in the discipline, a quality academic adviser, and committed to student learning at the highest level. The recipient is a teacher who embraces fresh ways to engage students in active learning and who displays a willingness to teach when and where needed.

From the dean’s introduction: Professor Motley is an exceptional teacher, drawing on a decade of professional experience as a multimedia designer, animator and art director. He teaches in the communication design major and is a faculty anchor in the M.A. in Interactive Media program. He teaches “Visual Aesthetics” and the iMedia capstone as well as leading Winter Term fly-ins, including a trip to the Dominican Republic in January 2017. iMedia students revere him for the quality of information he provides and for his honesty in critiquing their work. They praise his balance between theory and practical application and refer to him as a knowledgeable, down-to-earth professor. Motley also is teaching this term in Elon’s newest innovation – the Design Thinking semester. A colleague describes him as “a master teacher, productive scholar and emerging leader.”

Excellence in Scholarship Award

The award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly and creative work is of high quality and brings distinction to Elon. The recipient will be an individual whose publications and presentations are of the highest quality, helping advance the school’s reputation. Likewise, the recipient will excel in mentoring students in undergraduate research.

From the dean’s introduction: Professor Bravo is doing important work at a time when human migration is a national topic. She studies how Latin American countries maintain relationships with their diaspora communities, especially among those who relocate to the United States, and how Latinos maintain communication with family in their home countries. Bravo has published two book chapters and seven journal articles – with an eighth forthcoming – in some of the highest-regarded publications, including International Journal of Communication and Public Relations Review. Most are solo author, showing she can take a concept from origin to completion on her own. Her scholarship informs her teaching, just as it should be, adding depth and specificity to courses ranging from “Communications in a Global Age” to the university elective “Latinos in the U.S. and the Media.” In recognition of her expertise in the classroom, Bravo finished third nationally in AEJMC’s Promising Professors competition.

“Vanessa, thank you for your serious scholarship that helps illuminate the world we live in,” said Parsons.

Excellence in Leadership Award

The award recognizes a member of the School of Communications who richly contributes to the betterment and reputation of the school and the discipline. The recipient will be an individual who displays leadership on the campus and national levels, as well as an ability to bring new ideas to reality that reflect well on Elon and the School of Communications.

From the dean’s introduction: Nagatha Tonkins has made an enormous impact on our school’s internship program since coming as director nine years ago. The numbers certainly are daunting: 265 internships for credit this year, hundreds of supervisor evaluations and e-portfolios, 21 classroom presentations, 390 student appointments, and many innovations that have made Elon a model for internship excellence. The last accreditation site team told President Leo M. Lambert that the school’s much-acclaimed internship program is “led by a dynamic director who calls her job the best in the university.” She also organizes alumni wisdom sessions at Homecoming for current students.

Added Parsons, “Nagatha, internships are vitally important to the success of our students, and your leadership has guided our internship program to national distinction.”