School of Communication students were awarded for their outstanding work this academic year on Monday night at the 65th Annual Student Showcase and the PRADDYs.

The Showcase also honored alumna Lissette Gonzalez, meteorologist for WFOR, CBS4 in Miami, as the SoC Communicator of the Year. Gonzalez graduated UM with a double major in broadcast journalism and vocal performance. She went on to obtain an additional degree as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist from Mississippi State University with honors. She also earned the National Weather Association (NWA) Television Weathercaster Seal of Approval and is a member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. 

After accepting the award, Gonzalez thanked the SoC’s Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Paul Driscoll for his guidance and encouragement when she was an undergraduate. She also urged students to network and give back to their communities throughout their careers. “UM helped prepare me with the knowledge and the skills for my career,” she said. “Never forget where you came from or the people who helped you get there.”

School of Communication Awards

Communicator of the Year: Lissette Gonzalez, WFOR, CBS 4


The Edward Pfister Award for Excellence in Media Management: Natalee Fernandez

Outstanding Senior in Media Management: Susan Hinchey

Outstanding Senior in Electronic Media: Kathryn Sotolongo

Outstanding Senior in Print Journalism: Alysha Khan

Outstanding Senior in Broadcast Journalism: Catie Staszak

Outstanding Senior in Visual Journalism: Nancy Cermeno

Outstanding graduate student in Journalism and Media Management: Caridad Tabares


Rising Star in Advertising:

  • Holly Bensur
  • Brian Johnson

Advertising Leadership: Michelle DuBois

Excellence in Advertising: 

  • Khadija Andrews
  • Ivana Cruz
  • Alexis Plair
  • Jamie Shankman

Rising Star in Public Relations: Gabriela Reyes

Public Relations Leadership: Julia Rudo

Excellence in Public Relations:

  • Nataie Baj
  • Morgan Chicchelly
  • Casey Gasinowski
  • Chelsea Wortham
  • Emily Young




Portfolio of the Year: Brian Koenisberg  
Honorable Mention: Michelle Dubois 

Integrated Campaign: Heartless Philly by Aijah Daley
Honorable Mention: MINI – Gears by Kylie Wyman

Non-traditional Campaign: Smirnoff Barvendor by Michelle Dubois & Danny Barry
Honorable Mention: Radioactive by Allison Bergstein

Print Campaign: Goodyear – Getting Somewhere by Magali Ferber
Honorable Mention: RockCat – NeverSeen by Katherine Lee

Design Campaign: Alexander Allen
Honorable Mention: House of Cards by Julian Torres

Magazine Design: XY by Pascal Kowenhoven
Honorable Mention: Bite by Karli Evans

Package Design: Mommy’s Juice by Kylie Wyman
Honorable Mention: RokCat by Daylin Reyes

People’s Choice for Advertising: ETSY WAS HERE by: Ariana Pierre, Polina Vashchilko and Joe Picozzi



Media Kit: Branches, by Andrea O’Neal
Honorable mention: Stop Bullies, by Caitlin Driscoll

Press Release: NASCAR Championship, by Natalie Baj
Honorable mention:  PGA TOUR U Launch, by Shadia Ayoub, Eliot Murphy, Karen Vaysman, and Rob Vanisko

Brochure: Stop Bullies, by Caitlin Driscoll
Honorable mention: Students of the World, by Jacinta Yong

Promotional Materials: Celebrate Asia Flyer, by Jacinta Yong
Honorable mention: Diversity Week, by Cristiana Gonzalez

Social Media: Waltman Ortega Gallery Plan, by Julia Rudo
Honorable mention: Family Resource Center, by Gabriela Reyes, Carly Klein, Ariana Pierre and Jess Kharasch
Honorable mention: Filipino Student Association, by Sara Miller, Charlotte Pallace, Chloe Zeng and Jacinta Yong

Best in Show: Stop Bullies, by Caitlin Driscoll

Student submissions were evaluated and selected by a team of accomplished advertising professionals who served as judges:

  • Ronn Pearson: Creative Director extraordinaire, formerly of SapientNitro (Miami), Digitas (NYC), and RappCollins (NYC)
  • Aryel Rivero: Owner of Promovizion, and formerly of Timberland (NH), Mullen (Boston), CPB (Miami) and Y&R (Miami)
  • Vanessa Clavijo: Art Director, Studio Artist, Integrated Producer, (CPB) and most recently Designer and Creative Recruiter
  • Alex Luna: Sr. Copy writer at Y&R Miami – Has had stints in 4 different countries and can write copy in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
  • Andrew Siegel: Copywriter at SapientNitro, UM and Miami Ad School alumnus. Client include: Chrysler, vitaminwater, Dodge, Stoli, The Miami Heat, among others
  • Sonia Acosta: Art Director at SapientNitro. Miami Ad School alumnus. Clients include: HBO Boardwalk Empire, Chrysler, Fiat, Dodge,  Citi Bank, Miami Heat, Budweiser  2014 FIFA World Cup, among others. 


Student Media Awards


Rookie of the Year: Claudia Fernandes 

Writer of the Year: Patrick Riley

Photographer of the Year: Melissa Mallin

Most Committed to the Brand: 

  • Andrea O’Neal
  • Taylor Duckett

Editor of the Year: Rori Kotch


Best Story: Kristen Spillane

Best Design: Michelle Lock

Best Photo: Zachary Beeker

Most Improved: Julie Griner

Most Enthusiastic: Christopher Dalton

The “Ibis”: Hannah Meister



Rising Star: Marlee Lisker

Without you, we’d be lost:

  • Monica Herndon
  • Carlos Mella

Best Listener: Alex Gonzalez

Best Team Player: Ashley Martinez

Most Versatile Player: Erika Glass

Best Team Spirit:

  • Emma Deardorff
  • Sarbani Ghosh
  • Jassenia Rodriguez 

Best Attitude: Nick Gangemi

Most Skilled: Morgan McKie

Most Meticulous: Lyssa Goldberg 

Prizes of Patience:

  • Sherman Hewitt
  • Emily Dabau
  • Monica Sabates
  • Alina Zerpa

Best Headliner: Spencer Dandes 

Hustle Award: Alysha Khan

Best Barista: Danny Cepero

Best Managers: Margaux Herrera and Nicky Diaz 



Rex Pompadur Award for Outstanding Service to UMTV:

  • Lauren Behar  (Student General Manager, UMTV)
  • Aaron Agrasanchez  (Director, “NewsVision”)
  • Amber Couzo  (Executive Producer, “SportsDesk”)

Robert Corley Groves Award for Outstanding Achievement in TV Producing:

  • Kamrel Eppinger  (Executive Producer, “NewsVision”)
  • Adriana Dueck  (Executive Producer, “NewsVision)
  • Erika Glass  (Executive Producer, “SportsDesk”)
  • Erika Jackson (Executive Producer, “The Pulse”)
  • Carlee Rasner, (Executive Producer, “Newsbreak”)
  • Christina Deguer (Executive Producer, “UniMiami”)

Alpha Epsilon Rho Honor Society, Society of Broadcast Journalists Outstanding Senior:

  • Nick Swyter
  • Arielle Orsuto
  • Catie Staszak
  • Hyan DeFreitas
  • Alysha Khan

Carolyn Cefalo Medal for Outstanding AERho Senior: Nick Swyter