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Alumni Honors

2016 Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award Recipients 

Each year, the College of Communication proudly honors the exceptional accomplishments of students in their academic programs, with student media and in college-based student organizations. 27 students from the Class of 2016, nominated by faculty, were recognized today for their outstanding achievements and leadership at an award ceremony on Friday, June 10, 2016.

Below are the award recipients, with an excerpt of the remarks made on their behalf at the ceremony.

  • Academic Programs
  • Student Organizations and Student Media

Academic Programs

Amanda Muller, Communication and Media (BA)
“Amanda regularly contributed her critical perspective on the status quo of health in the United States. She wrote provocative essays about “Illness as Identity,” “Death and Dying,” “Women in Medicine,” and the “Biopsychosocial Model.” Apparently just about anyone who had Amanda in class felt very positively about her contributions.”

Amy O'Malley, Intercultural Communication (BA)
"Amy is not only an excellent student but she is also a tireless and passionate activist. She combines her major in Intercultural Communication with a Peace Studies major in hopes to create a more understanding, cooperative and peaceful world that celebrates our rich diversity. Amy embodies the very type of student we wish to nurture at DePaul given our Vincentian Mission."

Laura Bluett, Digital Communication and Media Arts (MA)
“Maintaining a perfect GPA, Laura not only excelled in her scholarship, she also excelled in her position as Graduate Assistant. Laura's an exceptional student, a dedicated artist, and a thoughtful participant in all her classes.”

Bridgett Brzezinski, Health Communication (MA)
“Combining brilliant critical insight with compassion, excellent scholarship with practical application, Bridgett has consistently impressed her professors with her talent, her commitment, and her instinct for social justice as it applies to the health care setting.”

Aurora Simms, Intercultural Communication (BA)
“Aurora Simms has demonstrated a strong academic performance and impressive leadership ability in classroom and beyond. It is not surprising that Aurora has been on the Dean’s list many times during her years at DePaul.”

Stephanie Wade, Double Major Public Relations and Advertising and Journalism (BA)
“Stephanie is a great writer, reporter, story producer, camera person, video editor, and on-air talent.  She does everything at an extremely high level.”   

Kirsten Onsgard, Journalism (MA)
“Kirsten Onsgard has set the new standard for the kind of extra effort that should be expected from graduate students…as DePaulia’s online managing editor, she also re-designed the website, contributed to multiple national award-winning multimedia packages, and elevated its social media presence and engagement.”

Madison Stewart, Public Relations and Advertising with a concentration in Latino Media & Communication (BA)
“Madison has been an outstanding ambassador for the Latino Media and Communication program and an example for other students. She will bring this cultural sensitivity and passion to her career in Public Relations and Advertising.”

Lilly McNicholas, Media and Cinema Studies (BA)
“Combining impeccable research, insightful argumentation and creative speech, Lilly’s outstanding performance was tangible in every class and crystallized in her excellent grades.”

Jen Kelly, Media and Cinema Studies (MA)
“Not only has Jen been a powerful voice in the classroom, she has continuously proven that her passion goes beyond the classroom. Jen has already presented her work at conferences in  different countries and on panels with Media Studies heavy hitters.”

John Klingle, Media and Cinema Studies (MA)
“We already knew that John was an amazing student, but in the final year of his five-year BA/MA…he also showed us just how dedicated he is. His willingness to start his teaching career in a trial by fire scenario just blew us away.”

Jennifer Himes, Organizational Communication (BA)
“Her accomplishments are marked not only by her top GPA but also by her highly engaging spirit and keen interests in a variety of issues and problems in organizational communication.”

Adila Mazlan, Organizational and Multicultural Communication (MA)
“Adila stands out among her peers…with her sharp intellect, non-negotiable rigor in her studies, and her global perspective. Adila’s remarkable achievements are evident in her course work and GPA, but her leadership shown in her engagement with a variety of university and international communities are unparalleled.”

Sara Autio, Public Relations and Advertising (BA)
“Outstanding” doesn’t go far enough to describe the talent, smarts, enthusiasm, teamwork and total dedication of Sara Autio’s time in the DePaul PRAD program. Her professors describe her in even higher glowing terms – like “phenomenal”, “unbelievable.”

Simone Parker, Public Relations and Advertising (BA)
“Simone was chosen for this award by a broad range of professors all of whom commented on her strengths in all areas - academic achievement, ability to both lead teams and work in teams and overall professionalism in every task she undertakes.”

Chelsea M. Michael, Public Relations and Advertising (MA)
“A future leader in the public relations and advertising profession, Chelsea Michael is highly deserving of the 2016 Outstanding Achievement and Leadership award.  She serves as a positive force in the lives of her classmates, and brings a Vincentian spirit of giving to all that she does.”

Emma Walsh, Relational Communication (BA)
“Emma Walsh is a shining star.  This is not only because she is bright and does stellar work…she dedicates her time and talent to her academic work and also to organizations that help make the world a better place.”

Anna Hanson, Relational Communication (MA)
“Anna Hanson is a shining example of the Relational Communication master’s program and the mission of DePaul as a whole. Anna blends a keen sense of academic discipline with a commitment to activism, embodying the Vincentian values of using one’s gifts to create a better world.”

Student Organizations and Student Media

Dominic Johns, Public Relations and Advertising (BA), for AdVentors
Dominic immediately stood out as someone special. Not only have I seen his work and leadership grow exponentially, but he …took over AdVentors during a crucial turnaround phase...he bridged the gap, and this year was one of our most successful ever.”

Jenna Duddleston, Journalism (BA), for Society of Professional Journalists/Online News Association DePaul Chapter
“As vice president for DePaul's Society of Professional Journalist chapter, Jenna’s leadership and enthusiasm helped SPJ expand its reach…she continually helps DePaul students connect with the larger journalism community in Chicago and beyond.”

MaLeah Peterson, Public Relations and Advertising (BA) and Alexandra Sobczak, Public Relations and Advertising (BA), for Public Relations Student Society of America, DePaul Chapter
“This year’s leadership award goes to a powerhouse tag team who was one part Thelma and Louise and one part Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  But whatever you want to call it, they were clearly a case of one plus one equals three.  Under their leadership, DePaul PRSSA further elevated its reputation on a local, Midwestern and national level.”

Matthew Paras, Journalism (MA), for The DePaulia
“Matt has a good old-fashioned nose for news and proved that outstanding journalistic skills are transferable from one part of the news operation to the next. He is not afraid to tackle difficult stories and ask questions that people do not want to answer and The DePaulia has flourished this year under his leadership.”

Nick Buffo, Journalism (BA), for Good Day DePaul
“The first thing that hits everyone about Nick is his amazing voice.  But he is so much more than that.  He is a really good reporter, interesting writer, creative story producer, and super photographer and editor.  If I needed a tough story knocked out on short notice, I always knew Nick would get it done.”

Stephanie Wade, Journalism and Public Relations and Advertising (BA), for Good Day DePaul
“Stephanie was a great writer, reporter, story producer, camera person, video editor, and on-air talent.  She did everything at an extremely high level.  And on top of that, her work habits were impeccable.  I could count on Stephanie to do it the right way in every single situation.”

Eli Hershkovich, Journalism (BA), Radio DePaul
“Eli Hershkovich has made many lasting contributions to Radio DePaul. Most notably, he inspired the creation of Radio DePaul Sports and raised the bar for sports talk and play-by-play on our channels.”

Derek Peters, Media and Cinema Studies (BA), for Radio DePaul
“Derek Peters has made innumerable contributions to Radio DePaul. In addition to serving in 3 different leadership positions, he developed our popular listening app, created our award-winning podcast, and has helped to cement our reputation as an elite college station.”

Kiersten Sinko, Journalism (MA), for 14 East Magazine
“As a writer, editor and graphic designer, Kiersten's work has been invaluable in establishing 14 East Magazine during its first year. She has helped shape the publication's editorial direction, and…the 14 East logo and style guide that will help the magazine connect with its audience.”