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2020 School of Communication Student Awards Announced

campus buildings shot at angle

Approaching the finale of an extraordinary academic year, the School of Communication paused to recognize the “best of the best” during the 2020 Student Awards Ceremony. 

Hosted by SOC Dean Raul Reis, the April 21 ceremony took place via a live webinar, which was attended by more than 100 students, faculty and family members  (and recorded for all to view here). The program recognized 37 nominees across all four departments—Communication Studies, Journalism, Marketing Communication, and Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD). Eight awardees were presented with honors by their respective faculty chairs.

“We created the SOC Student Awards last year as a way for us to celebrate and recognize the very best work and accomplishments of our very best juniors and seniors,” said Reis. “Now, it’s more important than ever for us to come together around what unites and defines us. Communication is essential for creating a sense of community and belonging. And creating a sense of community through empathy and through communication skills is exactly what we’re all about.”

The 2020 SOC Student Award Honorees


Yuqi (Liv) Wang & Tanya Cimenian as co-recipients, Communication Studies

Tanya Cimenian
Tanya Cimenian
Yuqi (Liv) Wang
Yuqi (Liv) Wang

“They were the first peer consultants in the Speech Lab. Over the past two years, Liv and Tanya have exhibited exceptional leadership in contributing to the growth of the Lab through their work with individual students, always stepping up to take extra hours during busy times, planning and running successful events for students such as Game Nights, Furry Fridays, Tasty Tuesdays, and the Pitch Speech contest. Even now, they are working remotely, Tanya from Maine and Liv from China. Tanya is graduating this semester and Liv will graduate in December following a semester at Emerson Los Angeles.” — Jane Pierce Saulnier, Communication Studies Associate Professor, nominator

“What’s very exciting for myself and for people in Communication Studies is the Speech Lab, even with the crisis, continues with Tanya working from Maine and Liv working from China. So it’s with great honor that I present these two exceptional students with the 2020 award for Leadership.” — Greg Payne, Communication Studies Department Chair

Additional nominees for Leadership

  • Megan Kirsis, Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Hannah Flaherty, Marketing Communication
  • In (Nicole) Bae, Marketing Communication
  • Lauren Granada, Journalism

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Jasmine Williams
Jasmine Williams

Jasmine Williams, Communication Sciences & Disorders

“A double major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Political Communication, Jasmine is engaged in civic leadership across many different campus organizations at Emerson. As president of Flawless Brown, Jasmine has overseen and aided in producing: four Magazines, five staged productions (two of which Jasmine directed), two full-length film productions, the 5th-anniversary Flawless Celebration, and a partnership with 826 Boston in which Flawless assisted high school student’s with their college essays. Jasmine has served as the CSD and School of Communication representative to POWER (Protesting Oppression with Education Reform). She has served as the intercultural commissioner for the Emerson Student Government Association, and the Vice President for the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association Emerson chapter. Jasmine is also a STAR (Student Admission Representative) in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and was recently inducted into the Purple Key Leadership Society at Emerson College. Jasmine is truly engaged in the Emerson Community and we are very proud of the work she has done to support justice and inclusion in her time at Emerson.” — Lisa Wisman Weil, CSD Scholar-in-Residence, Undergraduate Program Director, nominator

“Jasmine, this award is a fitting and well-earned tribute to all the work you have done on and off this campus. Thank you for your dedication, your commitment, your empathetic engagement and your genuine care for those around you. We are already so proud of all of your achievements yet to come.” — Ruth Grossman Communication Science & Disorders Department Chair

Additional nominees for Civic and Community Engagement

  • Sarah Anderson-Krim, Marketing Communication
  • Carla (Michelle) Campos, Marketing Communication
  • Mary Rose Saad, Journalism
  • Kaitlyn Bryson, Communication Studies

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Andrew Geiger
Andrew Geiger

ANDREW GEIGER, Communication Studies

“Andrew is a transfer student from California who came to Emerson because of our Esports track in the Sports Communication major. During his career at Emerson, Andrew has worked closely with Esports adjunct professor Kevin Mitchell in arranging guest speakers, forums and workshops at Emerson as well as Boston and the Northeast that have brought Esports industry leaders together to discuss the vocational opportunities in the fastest growing area globally in sports. This has included working as an intern in local and national Esports events as well as being selected for the ESPYS Workshop in 2018 in Los Angeles.

“Andrew was very intrigued by our entry into a new area, which was new a few years ago, Esports. And with his guidance working along with professors, we’ve developed a new program, which is one of the first in the country in terms of a major, as well as a track at the graduate level. He’s someone who not only works in the classroom, but he’s organized virtual conferences in Barcelona, as well as working with Kevin Mitchell, our faculty advisor, for local conferences.” — Greg Payne, Communication Studies Department Chair, nominator

Additional nominees for Innovation

  • Isha Marathe, Journalism
  • Anna-Katharina Lisenfeld-Han, Marketing Communication
  • Kristen Cawog, Marketing Communication
  • José Garcia, Marketing Communication
  • Amanda Carvalho da Silva, Communication Sciences & Disorders

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Cassandre Coyer
Cassandre Coyer

Cassandre Coyer, Journalism

“Cassandre is a French national who came to the U.S. to attend Emerson.  Although English is not her native tongue (nor is Spanish, in which she is fluent), she has excelled in her academics at Emerson and is a last-term senior with a 3.9 GPA.  In addition to churning through her coursework at Emerson, Cassandre has embraced the broader definition of an ambitious and well-rounded education by doing a semester in London to study the effects of globalization, and a month in Medellin, Colombia, documenting the lives of women and families displaced by the violence. Additionally, she was active in WERS and the Berkeley Beacon, where she was deputy arts editor, and has written for Atlas Magazine and Your Magazine. She has interned as an editor of the non-profit Borgen project, which deals with hunger issues, and she is currently on the highly competitive internship in the newsroom of the Christian Science Monitor.” Journalism Department faculty, nominators

“Cassandra is will not only make Emerson proud, but she’s going to be one of those incredibly outstanding journalists that you just want to have working with you.” — Janet Kolodzy, Journalism Department Chair

Additional nominees for Academic Excellence – Undergraduate

  • Bethelly Jean-Louis, Communication Studies
  • Kent Ellertson, Marketing Communication
  • Duo (Miranda) Yu, Marketing Communication
  • Michelle Gaudet, Communication Sciences & Disorders

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Esther Duke
Esther Duke

Esther Duke, Communication Sciences & Disorders

“Esther is nominated based on her outstanding, independent research in the area of diversity in speech-language pathology, a topic that is highly relevant to both Emerson College and the field of communication sciences and disorders. Through her work, Esther is pursuing systemic change in the field of SLP to increase diversity of professionals who, on a national level, currently identify as 92 percent white and 96 percent female. Esther is a nontraditional-age student with a previous career in the corporate world. She describes herself as “deeply unsettled by the lack of diversity in SLP graduate programs across the country.” Over the past 12 months, driven by her passion to be a change agent, her intellectual curiosity, and her strong organization, analytical, and interpersonal skills, Esther has designed and carried out an exceptional research project that will certainly have an impact on the field at multiple levels.” — Robin Danzak, Communication Sciences & Disorders Associate Professor

“Academic excellence can be defined in different ways. […] Beyond the good grades, the mind of a researcher, and the dedication to learning, Esther exemplifies academic excellence by doing it all with style! Her gentle good humor, empathy, loyalty, creativity, and reflective thoughtfulness make her a leader in any group. […] Thank you for your leadership, for always raising the bar, and for inspiring everybody around you to do their best work, simply through your example.” — Ruth Grossman, Communication Sciences & Disorders Department Chair

Additional nominee for Academic Excellence – Graduate

  • Evan Visconti, Journalism

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The selection committee chose to present this year’s award to two nominees based on their individual contributions.

Hannah Flaherty
Hannah Flaherty

Hannah Flaherty, Marketing Communication

“Hannah is one of the most mature and committed students I have had the pleasure of working with. She volunteered to help with the Marketing Communication orientation in Fall 2019, and has been a great asset since then. While I have not had her in class, I have worked with her in our new Marketing Communication Student Engagement Advisory Team (MKSEAT), where she has shown excellent engagement and leadership initiative. She’s incredibly responsible, creative, energetic, and bright. She never misses a meeting, and regularly reaches out to students whose schedules are challenging, or whose time management skills are not as strong as Hannah’s. She helped conceive a marketing plan for our first student open house, she has been instrumental in managing student contribution to the team, and she is very motivational to all of us working with MKSEAT. Hannah has worked for years as an Orientation Leader, and with the college’s Career Development Center. She brings a tremendous ability as a networker to everything she does, and unlike most students she can leverage near-professional relationships with staff members to solve problems. She’s a committed marketing student, a committed member of the college community and just really an overall superstar.”  — Nejem Raheem, Marketing Communication Associate Professor

“Hannah has contributed excellent engagement and leadership initiatives inside and outside the classroom. She has been incredibly helpful leading the students in the Marketing Communication Student Engagement Advisory Team. In short, she shows up early and she shows up often as a committed member of the Emerson community.“ — Brent Smith, Marketing Communication Department Chair

Diego Torres
Diego Torres

Diego Torres, Marketing Communication

“Diego has earned the highest r-e-s-p-e-c-t from his peers and professors. Having transferred into Emerson from Miami Dade College, he has shown a remarkable ability to raise the bar in classroom discussion (even before a class session actually begins). He has found countless ways to apply his leadership skills and creative talents, working with peers on Raiz, igniting the relaunch of our idled student chapter of the American Marketing Association, and other endeavors. He has been a highly driven academic achiever who brings a tide that raises the efforts of others in his midst. Accordingly, he has been a Most Valuable Peer (MVP) in the School of Communication and a Most Valuable Representative (MVR) for the Marketing Communication program and the Emerson College community.” — Brent Smith, Marketing Communication Department Chair, nominator

Additional nominees for Most Valuable Peer – Undergraduate

  • Jessica Braunstein, Marketing Communication
  • Elizabeth Sweeney, Communication Studies
  • Gabriella Mrozowski, Journalism
  • Sam Babineau, Communication Sciences & Disorders

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Alyssa Barzach
Alyssa Barzach

Alyssa Barzach, Communication Science & Disorders

“Alyssa has shown strong commitment, exemplary performance, fulfillment to community service, service to both the department and to the college, service to the greater discipline of speech language pathology, and most valuable peer to prospective, first, and second year graduate students.  Alyssa is both an ambassador to the profession of speech language pathology and serves as a role model to her peers. When asked, her peers describe Alyssa as, “The saving grace of our cohort – a ray of sunshine, provider of all study guides, everyone’s best friend”. Alyssa continuously takes on service roles within the graduate program, often volunteering to take on projects that will benefit her peers. One recent project included Alyssa spearheading our process of establishing a peer “buddy” system, pairing second-year students with incoming students. Alyssa has also done several “Instagram Takeovers” for the Admissions Department where she has interviewed her peers, orchestrated a “day in the life of a CSD student” series and otherwise highlighted the strong peer relationships that develop between our graduate students, which will in turn recruit prospective students who share those values and continue the cycle of kind and collaborative students for which the CSD Department has become known for.” — Patti Nelson, CSD Scholar-in-Residence, Undergraduate Program Director, and Jenna Castro-Cabon, Clinical Instructor

“Alyssa, your support for your peers is evident in big and small moments — from organizing Friendsgiving, pairing up with an undergrad CSD Clinic Buddy, or simply making friends laugh when they need it. In the words of your peers, you are ‘the saving grace of our cohort – a ray of sunshine, provider of all study guides, everyone’s best friend.’ […] None of these awards capture your generosity of spirit, grace under pressure, your kindness, and your infectious positive attitude as well as this one. We could not think of a more deserving recipient.”   — Ruth Grossman, Communication Sciences & Disorders Department Chair

Additional nominees for Most Valuable Peer – Graduate

  • Benjamin Pejko, Communication Studies
  • Alberto Gilman, Journalism

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Natalie Clydesdale
Natalie Clydesdale (Photo by Mark Brodie)

Natalie Clydesdale, JOURNALISM

“It is my honor to present the Award for Student Athlete of the Year to Natalie Clydesdale, a tremendous student, a tremendous athlete and a tremendously poised and polished sports journalist.  As a student, Natalie has co-anchored two WEBN Super Bowl shows and has been an active WEBN sports reporter throughout her four years. Over four years, Natalie has maintained a 3.968 GPA, the highest in the department among graduating seniors, while playing 98 games and scoring 689 points for the women’s basketball team.  Natalie was named to the NEWMAC Women’s Basketball Academic All-Conference team for the 2019 season. In her senior year, Natalie was recognized as Defensive Player of the Week as she clinched both the game and a playoff berth with a heroic last-second steal against Worcester Polytechnic.”  — Stanford Nance, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Affairs

“The journalism faculty, to a person, strongly supported Natalie for this award. Natalie is one of those people who gets things done and gets things done right.  She is and will be a tremendous team player for any news organization team.” — Janet Kolodzy, Journalism Department Chair

Additional nominees for Student Athlete of the Year

  • Carter Bruce – Women’s Soccer, Communication Studies
  • Grace Tepper – Women’s Volleyball, Communication Studies
  • Camille Mumford – Women’s Volleyball, Communication Studies
  • Joe Paladino – Men’s Basketball, Marketing Communication
  • Skyler Celotto – Men’s Lacrosse, Marketing Communication

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Watch the full SOC Student Awards program here:

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