Students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications were honored at the virtual American Advertising Awards gala on Feb. 27, 2021. AAF of the Midlands recognized student winners in a variety of categories and honored overall winners for print, interactive and broadcast media. Gold winners (first place) will advance to regional competitions; those who place there will advance to the national level.
"I’m particularly impressed with our students this year," associate professor and visual communications sequence head Tara Mortensen says. "These award-winning pieces were produced in the middle of the pandemic, which really shows their hard work and grit as well as the commitment of the faculty mentors."
The Carolina Agency, the J-school's student-run agency which offers real work for real clients, won a Silver ADDY competing against professionals in the Special Event Materials category. Advertising major Will Hollerung and visual communications majors Sarah Sharpe and Emily Schoonover won for their interactive holiday project under the direction of TCA faculty advisor Ernie Grigg and instructor Jason Porter.
The invitation, sent during the week leading up to Christmas, asked clients to join one final zoom meeting — hopefully their final one of what they deemed the "dumpster fire year" filled with zoom meetings. Once the client clicked on the join now button on the invite they were taken to a live Zoom webinar of TCA's holiday Holiday Zoom log — a literal Christmas dumpster fire complete with Christmas lights, stockings and tree, holiday music and even an appearance from Santa (0:20 second mark).
Emily Schoonover was the recipient of several other awards, including Student Best in Show and a Gold ADDY (first place) for Tarot Snap Filter, an interactive Snapchat filter which accompanied an article in the Fall 2020 Garnet & Black magazine. The filter was an augmented reality project she started developing during an Independent Study class she did with Porter.
Schoonover also won a Silver ADDY for the design of a recruitment advertisement for Garnet Media Group and — along with G&B staff, which included vis comm majors Mark Maddaloni (editor-in-chief) and Alizajane Hicks (art director) — she shared a Silver ADDY for the design of the Fall 2020 print issue.
Two vis comm students won awards for work created in Sabrina Habib's Video for Mass Communications class. Graeme Wolverton garnered a Special Judges' Award and Gold ADDY in cinematography for Demo Reel. Ryan Richson's Rock the Vote earned a Gold ADDY in the Social Media Execution category.
Devin Evola, a vis comm student in Mortensen's class earned a Gold ADDY in the Editorial Spread or Feature Series category for Empower Project. Two other students under Mortensen's tutelage, Katie Valdez and Michelle Ballman were also honored with Silver ADDYs for their Integrated Brand Identity campaigns; Valdez won for Yemen Hunger Crisis Awareness and Ballman for Love Local.
Advertising major Gabrielle Joyce and Chloe Neal (vis comm) also earned Silver ADDYs. In the Film, Video and Sound category, Joyce won for The Final Straw. Neal's entry for G&B Illumination Behind the Scenes, won in the Elements of Advertising - Cinematography category.