In 2012, the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication began a new award. And a new tradition. The Above the Fold Award honors those with distinguished careers under 40 years of age. The award is given to those who have showcased exemplary accomplishments in their early careers. The Award is given out at the school's annual Spring Showcase event. In 2012, four alums whose careers span the journalism, strategic communication and business sectors were honored.
Mary LaHammer has a double degree in both journalism and constitutional law history. Post graduation, Mary was an anchor and reporter for an ABC station in Washington and NBC in North Dakota. She began working at Twin Cities Public Television in 1998, where she is currently a program host and political reporter. She has won multiple Emmys and various other awards in several states for her journalism work and photography.
Alan Bjerga received his master's degree in mass communication from SJMC. He worked as the managing editor of The Minnesota Daily during his graduate career. After gradation, he worked for the Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, where he won the NAAJ's top writing award. He currently works at Bloomberg News covering agricultural policy. Since beginning there, he has received other awards for his journalism work from various organizations in the industry. He served as National Press Club president in 2010, and was also the president of the North American Agricultural Journalists from 2010-2011. Bjerga is also an adjunct instructor at Georgetown University.
Danielle Engholm has been working in the public relations and marketing communications fields for the past 16 years. Previously, she has worked on promotions for the University of Minnesota athletic department, and was a media relations specialist at Media Relations Inc. Currently, she works at Padilla Speer Beardsley. She has been recognized in the public relations and business-to-business marketing fields by receiving regional and national awards for her work, including the 2011 Platinum PR Award: Trade Show/Event PR, which her team earned for the promotion of Rockwell Automation's 2010 Automation Fair.
Tim Larson is president and CEO of Jostens, Inc. Larson began working at Jostens in 1992 as an intern, starting out training sales representatives, students and educators. He worked his way up in the company, holding various leadership positions, before he became senior vice president and general manager of Jostens' Memory Book business in 2005. Under his leadership, the Memory Book business experienced considerable growth and soon became the top provider of memory books created over the Internet.