The USA Department of Communication awards recognize the achievements and accomplishments undergraduate and graduate students have made academically, departmentally, scholarly and creatively.

Communication Scholarships

▼   Eva Golson Film and Television Production Endowed Scholarship

The Eva Golson Film and Television Production Endowed Scholarship was established in 2015 in celebration of the woman who put filmmaking on the map in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama community. Golson is committed to supporting students with a passion for the film and television industry and seeing them succeed. Her career spans 35 years in the industry assisting film and video companies with resources in producing commercials, corporate or industrial productions, music videos, documentaries, television movies, and feature films.

We have two recipients this year receiving a $1,025 scholarship award.

Francisco Cordova is a rising senior from Foley with a concentration in digital cinema and television. As a student, he has participated in JagNation TV to provide game coverage for the Athletic Department and ESPN, and is part of the JagTV team. His goal is to work for a video production company, and ultimately open his own multimedia company.

Rebekah Smith, a resident of Mobile, is a rising senior in digital cinema and television. In 2019, she was producer and technical director at “Jaguar1 Talk Show,” and last year assisted in the production of two independent films. She aspires to a career in film and television.

▼   Peggy Hansen and Jim Aucoin Journalism Scholarship

The Peggy Hansen and Jim Aucoin Journalism Scholarship was established in 2017 to honor an exceptional journalism major who has demonstrated a passion and commitment to journalistic integrity. It is in recognition of Dr. James Aucoin, and his beloved late wife, Dr. Peggy Hansen, who are both known for their love and dedication to students in the field of journalism and the USA Department of Communication.

Sydney McDonald, a Mobile resident, is a rising senior in multimedia journalism and a staff writer at Due South magazine. A member of the Communication Department’s honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, McDonald is interested in music and entertainment writing. Her goal is to land a job in content or public relations writing within the music industry.

Sydney is receiving a $900 scholarship award.

▼   Michael Hanna Endowed Communication Scholarship


The Hanna Endowed Communication Scholarship was established in December 2009 to honor Dr. Michael S. Hanna, Professor Emeritus of Communication. Hanna served USA and the Mobile community for more than 25 years. He was chair of the department for five years, co-authored six textbooks and received numerous awards, including “Best Faculty Member” for Outstanding Service to USA International Students.  Its purpose is to encourage a communication junior or senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 at USA to excel in their track of study.

We have three recipients this year each receiving a $1,500 award.

Sara Boone, a resident of Biloxi, Mississippi, is a strategic communication student and rising senior in South’s Honors College. This spring she completed her second year as editor-in-chief of Due South magazine, which won four awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference.

Sara is interested in photography and design, and aspires to a creative position at a print publication focused in the culinary industry.

Mason Redmond, is a sophomore from Salem, Alabama, is a strategic communication senior and is the incoming president of the American Advertising Federation chapter, for which she helped organize the Mosaic trip to Chicago.

Mason is a JAGPAL and serves on the executive board of Chi Omega. Her career goal is to be an ad agency account manager.

Phoebe Springfield hails from Plano, Texas, and is a rising senior with a concentration in strategic communication.

Springfield is treasurer of our AAF chapter. Last summer, she interned with a neuromarketing research firm, and hopes to advance to a creative career in advertising.

Departmental Awards

▼   Creative Arts Award

The Creative Arts Award honors an undergraduate or graduate student for his or her creative excellence of visual communication, multimedia, print journalism, broadcast journalism, film, television, advertising, public relations or any other field in the art of communication.

  • Megan O’Kuly for her Branding Campaign for the Equine Therapy Group.
  • Matthew McCoy for the Instructional Video for Mobile County License Commission.
  • Marisa Papallatoc for Print Journalism articles, “Close to home: What happened to Danniella Vian?”, “Missing in Mobile” and “Six Months Missing”
▼   Exceptional Internship Award

The Exceptional Intern Award honors an undergraduate student in recognition of his or her exceptional service to the internship program. The student has a proven record of accomplishment and demonstrated leadership and excellence throughout his or her internship. The student’s internship supervisor consistently scored the intern high in performance, behavioral, and administration qualities. For eligibility, students must have completed an internship through the Department’s program.

  • Chris Phengsisomboun for his work with the Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy
▼   Distinguished Internship Sponsor Award

The Distinguished Internship Sponsor Award honors a sponsor who has a proven record of accomplishment in being actively involved in service and leadership to the USA Department of Communication Internship Program.

  • Distinguished Young Women
▼   Hermanson Research Award

The Hermanson Research Award honors an undergraduate or graduate student who has conducted significant research in the area of history, law or ethics and has a high overall grade-point average among graduating students. The award honors the memory of Dr. Louise Hermanson, professor of communication, a beloved and respected professor from 1990 until her passing in 2002.

Jake Heckman, "How Presidential Debates Have Changed: A Historical Comparison"

▼   Outstanding Scholarly Paper Award

The Outstanding Scholarly Paper Award honors an undergraduate or graduate communication student who authored a scholarly paper and submitted it to a publication or conference in the communication discipline. For eligibility, student papers are nominated by a department faculty member and have been singly authored by the student.

  • Ayla Oden, "Framing the Doug Jones for Senate Campaign: A Content Analysis of Negative Messaging and Collective Action Frames from the Doug Jones for Senate Facebook Page"
▼   Exceptional Graduate Teaching Award

The Exceptional Graduate Teaching Award honors a graduate assistant for his or her dedication to teaching students in department of communication’s public speaking program. The recipient also exhibits high levels of responsibility, and received favorable feedback from students.

  • Collin Day
  • Ashley McDaniel
  • MeLeah Miller
▼   Director’s Award for Excellence

The Jag Media director's award for excellence focuses on the areas of leadership, initiative, teamwork and innovation.

  • Antonio “Tony” Peppers
▼   Outstanding Communication Major Award

The Outstanding Communication Major Award are recipients with a cumulative GPA between a 3.5 and 3.74.

  • Benjamin Morris, Broadcast Journalism
  • Morgan Grissett, Strategic Communication
  • Marissa McCraney, Strategic Communication
  • Megan O’Kuly, Strategic Communication
  • Kourtney, McCollum, Multimedia Journalism
  • Kailee Kiminski, Strategic Communication
▼   Distinguished Achievement Award

The Distinguished Award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, and is given to undergraduate students who have earned a cumulative GPA between 3.75 and 4.0.

  • Matthew Casperson, Communication
  • Melissa Jansen, Digital Cinema & Television
  • Jacob Heckman, Communication Studies
  • Anisa Heilman, Strategic Communication
  • Andrea Henson, Strategic Communication
  • Tara Principe, Broadcast Journalism
▼   Early Achievement Awards

The Early Achievement Award recognizes a student in each communication concentration. These students are in the beginning stage of their studies and exhibited excellence in the introductory course associated with their concentration.


  • LaMichael Kirksey, Jr.


  • Bettina-Faye Tobias



  • Brandon Raines


  • Regan Francis


  • Leah Mason Redmond
▼   Outstanding Communication Concentration Award

The Outstanding Communication Concentration Award is a recipient chosen by each communication concentration from undergraduate students. The student has exhibited excellence in their track of study.


  • Jacob Heckman


  • Melissa Jansen



  • Tara Principe


  • Akievia McFarland


  • Shelbey Esculano