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Student Update

SJMC's students continue to win awards, grants, honors, and recognition for their work.

Undergraduate Student Update

SJMC senior Carla Ballecer has been named a 2007 Most Promising Minority Student by the American Advertising Federation. Ballecer, who will graduate in May 2007, is a double-major in strategic communication (in the SJMC) and marketing (in the Carlson School of Management). She is also the co-founder and vice-president of Professional and Cultural Opportunities (PACO), a University organization for students interested in international business. "I have no doubt that Carla's critical thinking skills and creative insights will lead her to the top of the advertising world," says SJMC professor John Eighmey, who nominated Ballecer for the Most Promising Minority Student competition.

SJMC student Allison Dinnocenzo, a senior on the strategic communications track, finished in the top 20 (out of 800+ entrants) in the Chevrolet Super Bowl Challenge to create the Chevy commercial for the 2007 Super Bowl. "Even though we did not make the top 5 it is incredibly exciting to know we were so close!" said Dinnocenzo, who was a student in John Eighmey's Jour 4259 class and credits Eighmey and the course for helping her create the Chevy ad project.

Alla Ilushka, an SJMC senior on the strategic communications track, was crowned Miss Minnesota USA on November 26, 2006. Ilushka will now advance to the Miss USA pageant, which will be televised nationally in April 2007.

Recent SJMC alumna Kim Johnson(B.A. '06) is the winner of two College Emmy Awards, given by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Television Academy, which includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa and western Wisconsin. Johnson won in the College News category for "Stop on Red," a story looking at the controversy over the Minneapolis stop light cameras, and in the College Programming category for "My Mom Got a Boob Job," a point-of-view documentary on breast augmentation surgery. This is the fourth year in a row that an SJMC student has won both College Emmy Awards from the NTA. Johnson now works as a reporter for WDIO-TV News in Duluth.

On January 17, 2007, SJMC junior Erin McGillivray was interviewed during ESPN's broadcast of the University of Minnesota men's basketball game versus Illinois. McGillivray, who is on the strategic communication track in the SJMC, is the president of The Barnyard, the student organization which provides marketing and promotional support to men's basketball at the U. During the live interview with ESPN announcers Terry Gannon and Steven Bardo, McGillivray described The Barnyard's activities, which include promoting the basketball team to students, raising money for charity, and planning special events. McGillivray's appearance on the broadcast was part of ESPN's "Student Spirit Week" feature.

The SJMC's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has again been selected to host a regional event by PRSSA's national headquarters. The event, entitled "A Taste of PR," will be held on February 17 in Murphy Hall, and will provide attendees with an overview of the public relations field. Sessions will address public relations in fields ranging from health care to public affairs, and the event will also include networking sessions, an agency tour, and a panel on crisis communication. PRSSA members from schools around the region will be invited to attend. This is the second year in a row that the SJMC chapter of PRSSA has been selected to host a regional event.

The SJMC's 2005-06 student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was named Chapter of the Year for Region 6 at SPJ's annual convention. This is the third consecutive year that the SJMC's chapter of SPJ has been named Chapter of the Year for Region 6, which includes schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.

Meghan Stafford, a senior in the SJMC on the strategic communications track, was chosen as a top-five finalist in the PRWeek Student of the Year competition. The competition honors undergraduate public relations students who shows outstanding ability in a range of core PR skills and is designed to attract, encourage and reward future talent. Stafford and the other four finalists were flown to New York in late January for a one-day competition which included a presentation, pitch call, and on-the-spot PR scenario. The winner of the competition, who will receive $5,000 and a paid internship at one of the world's largest PR firms, will be announced on March 8 at the PRWeek Awards.

Class of 2010 includes new Star Tribune Scholars

This fall, the SJMC welcomed two new Star Tribune Scholars to Murphy Hall. Alexander Ebert of New Berlin, Wisc. and Alexander Robinson of Menomenee Falls, Wisc., members of the class of 2010, join Aisha Eady '07, Lora Pabst, '07, Joelle Penisten '08, Jeannine Aquino '08, Emma Carew '09, and Rodrigo Zamith '09 in the program, which provides students with a scholarship worth $15,000 per year for four years plus a summer internship at the Star Tribune after the junior year.

The two "Alexes" spent their first semester adjusting to college life and learning the ins and outs of life in the SJMC. "My first semester at the U went really well," says Alex Robinson, "and the people I've met in SJMC are genuinely pleasant. I felt very welcome here." Alex Ebert agrees. "I've been most impressed with the warmth and experience of the teachers and staff in the SJMC," he says. "The facilities here are astounding, and my classes made great use of technology."

Both Alexes agree that being a Star Tribune Scholar has helped with their adjustment to the University. "Being in the program has helped because I know who to go to if I need help with something," says Alex Robinson, who points to Linda the SJMC's student services coordinator, and the other Star Tribune Scholars as particularly helpful sources. Alex Ebert is also grateful for the connection the program provides between the SJMC and the Star Tribune: "By visiting the Strib and talking with several journalists from the paper," he says, "I have created a more concrete path directing my career into the newsroom."

Graduate Student Update

Ph.D. student Kate Roberts Edenborg has been selected as the chief marketing officer on the board of directors for Minnesota Women in Communication (MWC). MWC offers diverse networking and educational opportunities, and promotes communications' role in business growth.

Heath journalism graduate student Nicole Endres was one of several writers for the Minnesota Medical Foundation who received several communications awards in the 2006 Pride of CASE District V competition. CASE is the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. District V includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

An article written by Becky Jungbauer, a graduate student in the SJMC's health journalism M.A. program, appeared on the front page of the Pioneer Press on October 28. The article, entitled "Health care choice limited for inner-city communities," focused on how high-quality healthcare clinics are often difficult to access for inner-city residents.

On September 21, Ph.D. student Nahid Khan spoke at a Bethel University conference entitled Journalism Through the Eyes of Faith. Khan's talk was entitled " Muslims in the Newsroom, News Coverage and the Nation's Story." Khan's research focuses on American news coverage of Islam in America and American Muslims as an American religious community.

Ph.D. student Maureen Schriner was lead writer for daily and executive summaries for the Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform, held in Rochester May 21-23. Schriner is a freelance communicator for Mayo Clinic and several other Minnesota organizations.

Health journalism graduate student Suzanne Sobotka won the national Science Journalism Student Award from the Society for Neuroscience. She attended the Neuroscience 2006 conference, the Society's annual conference in Atlanta, and was paired with a senior science journalist during the conference.

SJMC Ph.D. student Rebecca Bolin Swensen had a paper titled, "Conflict in the Kitchen: Shaping the Identity of Women, Wives and Patriots on the American Homefront" published in the spring/summer 2006 issue of Media Report to Women.

Ph.D. student John Wirtz is second author on the lead article in the current issue of Human Communication Research. The article, entitled "How does the comforting process work? An empirical test of an appraisal-based model of comforting," was written with Susanne M. Jones, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Minnesota.