School of Communications celebrates outstanding students and faculty

The school hosted its end-of-year awards celebration on April 19 to acknowledge high achievement from students and faculty.

Elon University’s School of Communications recognized the achievements of students and faculty during the past academic year at the school’s annual awards celebration held on April 19 in the Jane and Brian Williams Studio.

During his introduction, Communications Dean Paul Parsons called the ceremony one of the highlights 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

This year’s Outstanding Senior Awards recipients are (from left) Stephanie Hays, Azzurra Catucci, Paul LeBlanc, Ansley Hamilton and Anna Zwingelberg. The seniors were recognized at the School of Communications’ annual awards celebration on April 19.
Eighteen 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.

PAUL LEBLANC, Journalism Award. Presented by Kelly Furnas.
ANNA ZWINGELBERG, Strategic Communications Award. Presented by Derek Lackaff.
AZZURRA CATUCCI, Cinema and Television Arts Award. Presented by Nicole Triche.
STEPHANIE HAYS, Communication Design Award. Presented by Phillip Motley.
ANSLEY HAMILTON, Media Analytics Award. Presented by Brian Walsh.

Student Scholarships

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 Janna Anderson.

Communications Dean Paul Parsons (left) humorously stands in for Diego Pineda ’19 during the presentation of the Dubois Legacy Scholarship, conferred by Colin Donohue, director of student media. Pineda is studying in the Elon in Los Angeles program this semester.
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 William Moner.

Stanley Albright and Grace Lillian Cook Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in journalism. Presented by Anthony Hatcher.

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 Rich Landesberg.

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 Colin Donohue.

While presenting the Foreman Scholarship, Associate Professor Tom Nelson introduces recipient Rachel Ellis ’19.  
Anthony & Olga Duke Communications Scholarship

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

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 Lee Bush and David Bockino.

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 Tom Nelson.

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 Elma Sabo.

While presenting the James Wesley Willard II Memorial Scholarship, Assistant Professor Vanessa Bravo speaks on behalf of recipient Noah Dyson ’21.
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 Alex Luchsinger.

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 Vanessa Bravo

Founding Dean Scholarship

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 Tommy Kopetskie.

The Sport Management Scholarship and Outstanding Major in Sport Management honors will be presented at the Sport Management Department’s banquet on Wednesday, May 2.

Faculty Achievement

Associate Professor Barbara Miller Gaither, Associate Professor Derek Lackaff and Assistant Professor Nicole Triche were recognized at this year’s awards celebration.
Following the student awards, three faculty members in the School of Communications were recognized for their outstanding work this academic year.

Parsons presented Assistant Professor Nicole Triche, Associate Professor Derek Lackaff and Associate Professor Barbara Miller Gaither with the following awards.

Excellence in Teaching Award

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: Nicole Triche is a remarkable teacher, drawing on nearly a decade of experience in public television and documentary filmmaking. Shortly after earning her M.F.A., she began teaching at Elon, leading courses such as Cinema Production, Creating Multimedia Content, and Directing the Documentary. What’s remarkable is that, when asked to suggest what would make her classes better, students seem taxed to find much of anything they would change. Instead, students praise her active teaching style, honest assessments of their work, and her ability to set high standards and push students to achieve them. On the graduate level, Triche has led iMedia students to Costa Rica, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Belize in recent years. Her student class project from Belize won second place in the nation in a digital/web competition. Finally, Triche is a superb mentor. She works with elondocs students, Honors students and B.F.A. cinema students on capstone projects.

“Nicole, thank you for your commitment to students, with teaching at the forefront,” Parsons said.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

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: Derek Lackaff is an accomplished scholar always bringing fresh ideas into the classroom. Since joining Elon in 2010, he has authored chapters in books titled “Civic Media” and “Human-Computer Interaction” and published in the Journal of eDemocracy & Open Government and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. At first, Lackaff’s primary research focus was using technology to advance civic engagement. But an iMedia course to Ireland inspired a new area of scholarship. He learned that the vast majority of Ireland’s population speaks English and only 1% now speak the Irish language on a daily basis. That piqued his interest in the relationship between language and identity. Social platforms such as Facebook are designed for global majorities, not linguistic minorities. But Lackaff believes technology offers an opportunity to preserve and revitalize indigenous and minority languages through open-source software.

“Dr. Lackaff will be in Norway as a Fulbright Scholar next year. Derek, may the winter be brutal and you look forward to returning to Elon the following year. Seriously, we need you back,” Parsons said. “Thank you for your scholarship that helps illuminate the world we live in.”

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.

From the dean’s introduction: Barbara Miller Gaither is an exemplary teacher-scholar-mentor, and her leadership on campus is substantive. She has served as associate director of the university Honors program since 2016 and served as interim Honors director last fall. This past January, with frostbite warnings in effect, she took 18 Honors Fellows to the mountains near Asheville for a weekend of service working with Habitat for Humanity and interacting with those who will live in the Habitat homes. It’s this kind of selfless allocation of time that program leaders do. She also is on the Lumen Prize board, co-edited an issue of the undergraduate research and mentoring journal, and served on the task force that is expanding faculty course reassignments and sabbaticals. Previously, she served for five years as adviser to our Public Relations Student Society of America chapter – one of the largest campus chapters in the nation.

“Barbara, your leadership on this campus, particularly in the area of academic excellence, has benefited our school enormously,” Parsons concluded.