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CIC honors undergraduate students

For the second year in a row, the College of Information and Communications was unable to host its annual Awards Day ceremony, but that didn’t stop faculty from honoring the school’s best and brightest undergraduate students. Winners from both schools were recognized in a Virtual Awards Day celebration on April 15.

“Congratulations to all the award winners," said School of Journalism and Mass Communications Director Andrea Hickerson. "They have shown tremendous perseverance the last year and they have excelled despite the circumstances. I couldn’t be prouder.”

This year's ceremony was expanded to include the School of Information Science.

"This is an amazing and resilient class," said iSchool Director David Lankes. "It has been a pleasure to be part of their education."

Meet our student award recipients and view some of their outstanding work by visiting the links for each of them.


Watch the virtual presentation of the advertising awards on YouTube »

Lara Rose Zwiebel

Lara Rose Zwiebel - Outstanding Advertising Senior Award   

Lara Zwiebel has spent the past four years immersing herself in the Columbia and university community, having served as marketing director of Chi Omega in 2018 and as an intern at the South Carolina State Fair. She is currently an intern at Jones, McAden & Associates. She earned the title of Top Marketer from Google’s Online Marketing Challenge and is currently competing in the Washington Media Scholars Foundation Case Competition. After graduation, she will join Kargo in New York City as client services coordinator.

Gabrielle Joyce

Gabrielle Teresa Joyce - Outstanding Advertising Student Creative   

Gabrielle Joyce is from Westchester, New York.  She has had the opportunity to lead a Google OMC Team, as well as collaborate as a creative on the university's Ad Team. Her favorite project from her time at the university is her  Final Straw commercial, which won a Silver Student Addy in 2021. She credits her wonderful professors for inspiring her passion for the creative field.

Sarah Soonok Turner

Sarah Soonok Turner - Outstanding Advertising Student Researcher  

Sarah Turner is an advertising major from Aiken, South Carolina. She is a member of the 2021 AdTeam, Student Advertising Federation, Order of Omega Greek Leadership Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She was also named a semifinalist in the Washington Media Scholars Foundation 2021 media plan case competition. She is an active member in her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta and on the Carolina Coquettes Dance Team. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in the marketing research and analytics field. 

Alpha Delta Sigma - The national professional advertising honorary society in American higher education. 
Julia Brodeur, Gabrielle Joyce, Kaitlyn Marino, Caroline Stringfellow, Sarah Turner

Broadcast Journalism

Watch the virtual presentation of the broadcast journalism awards on YouTube »

William Volk

William Edward Volk - Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Reporting

Will Volk is a broadcast journalist from Goose Creek, South Carolina. He graduated in December. Volk has produced hundreds of stories as an independent multimedia journalist. Many times, his video has been used by local television stations and newspaper websites. While a student at South Carolina, Will was a camera operator for Gamecock Live Productions and SEC Network+. He also was a freelance sports photographer for ABC Columbia's high school football show. He hopes to work in local television as a multimedia journalist or sports reporter. Watch one of his stories for Carolina News & Reporter»

Spencer Travis Buckler

Spencer Travis Buckler - Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Senior Award for Leadership  

Spencer Buckler is from Baltimore but has been busy during his time in Columbia. In the summer of 2020, he worked as an associate producer at WBAL-TV, the NBC affiliate in Baltimore. He has also worked at SGTV at South Carolina since his freshman year, having served as station manager, news director and executive producer.  He interned with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation in Charlotte. You can usually find him watching reality TV, exploring new cities or cheering on the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. He looks forward to telling people's stories for a living. 

Information Science

Watch the virtual presentation of the information science award on YouTube »

Erica Barnette

Erica Barnette - Samantha K. Hastings  Student Award for Undergraduate Leadership   

Erica Barnette has been a leader in the iSchool. She was a CIC Ambassador, president of the Information Science Student Association and student representative on the school’s undergraduate committee. She is also the co-owner of Validide, a company that uses blockchain technology to give people a way to authenticate and control their identity information. This startup came out of her coursework in the iSchool. The faculty and staff at the iSchool are proud of Barnette’s work and look forward to watching her do even more great things. 


Watch the virtual presentation of the journalism awards on YouTube »

Christopher Lorensen

Christopher Adam Lorensen - George Andrew Buchanan Award

After a 10-year career in nuclear chemistry, six of which were spent on naval submarines, Christopher Lorensen made a life-altering decision. He packed his bags, activated his GI Bill and started a degree in journalism. Upon arriving at South Carolina, Lorensen joined The Daily Gamecock, where he wrote stories for the news and opinion departments. You can read some of the articles he wrote in his senior semester capstone course Carolina News & Reporter. While he graduated from the “print” side of the journalism school, he is now the 5 p.m. producer at WACH Fox 57. "It’s teaching me new approaches to stories," Lorensen says. "And I never knew the pressure of working on a submarine would be rivaled by the pressure of working in a newsroom".

Taylor Sierra Washington

Taylor Sierra Washington - J. Rion McKissick Award 

Taylor Washington is from Columbia. She is a former managing editor and arts and culture editor at The Daily Gamecock. She is also a Dow Jones News Fund alumna and has interned with the Charlotte Business Journal. This summer, she will intern at the Chicago Reporter as a data journalist through the Dow Jones News Fund. She is interested in diverse storytelling and aims to explore how issues such as race and class impact the communities she reports on. Read some of her articles in Carolina News & Reporter. In her free time, Washington is an avid cook and moviegoer. 

Mass Communications

Watch the virtual presentation of the mass communications awards on YouTube »

Nathanael L. Lemmens

Nathanael L. Lemmens - Outstanding Mass Communications Senior Award   

Nathanael Lemmens grew up in the small mountain town of Hendersonville, North Carolina. He entered the university with a wide range of interests, but eventually decided to study mass communications, which has helped him develop a love for professional storytelling. At South Carolina, he completed a semester abroad in Northern England, worked with Student Gamecock Television and Seeking Refuge Podcast and interned at Seacrest Studios in Charlotte. Upon graduation, he's excited to see how everything he's learned at UofSC will help him succeed in the working world. 

Public Relations

Watch the virtual presentation of the public relations awards on YouTube »

Stephen Campbell Mims III

Stephen Campbell Mims III - Outstanding Public Relations Senior Award     

Stephen Mims is a second-generation Gamecock born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina. He is a senior public relations major and is also pursuing an accelerated Master of Mass Communication specializing in strategic communication management. Campbell’s work experiences in the field include interning for a local municipality in South Carolina where he helped align the city’s messaging using best practices for internal and external communication and working for a prominent South Carolina government relations firm.  Campbell is currently employed with the South Carolina Public Charter School District, where he provides public policy and strategic communication support to assist in advocacy efforts which promote the district’s mission to create and grow excellent schools where they are needed most in South Carolina. 

Contessa Domonique Davis

Contessa Domonique Davis - Outstanding Public Relations Senior Award and the Inclusive Excellence in Public Relations Award

Contessa Davis is from Sumter, South Carolina. On campus, she serves as chapter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, press secretary to the student body vice president, and is a University 101 peer leader. Post-graduation, Davis plans to attend graduate school in Washington, D.C., to study political management. She plans to become a political strategist who advocates for those who are underrepresented by amplifying diverse candidates for public office as well as getting progressive and equitable legislation passed. 

Cierra Nicole Martin

Cierra Nicole Martin - Hugh Munn Award for Outstanding Community Service   

Cierra Martin served as an orientation leader and team leader for the Office of New Student Orientation, served a two-year term as the director of public relations for the campus organization Dance Marathon, and was the vice president of community relations for the College Panhellenic Association. She was a member of the university's Advertising Team class, which produced and presented a Tinder campaign and plans book for the National Student Advertising Competition. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in sports communication. 

Matthew David Edwards

Matthew David Edwards - Outstanding Public Relations Internship Award

Matt Edwards is originally from New Jersey. He is interning with the Allen University athletic department in Columbia. Some of his favorite memories at the J-school and the university in general have been writing for The Daily Gamecock, attending meetings for UofSC National Sports Media Association student chapter, and taking three of associate profesor Kevin Hull's classes. Ultimately, he is striving toward a sports media career to combine his passions for storytelling and the sports industry. This July, he will begin working on his master's degree in public relations at the S. I . Newhouse School of Public Relations at Syracuse University.  Read some of Matt's articles for Carolina News & Reporter.

Visual Communications

Watch the virtual presentation of the vis comm awards on YouTube »

Emily Schoonover

Emily Schoonover - Outstanding Visual Communications Senior Award

Emily Schoonover is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator from LaGrange, Georgia. At South Carolina, she has served as designer and creative director for Creative Services, The Carolina Agency and Garnet & Black magazine. She loves all things creative and enjoys being outside, taking care of her houseplants, and making ceramics in her free time. View some of her  award-winning work»

Emma Michele Kontir

Emma Michele Kontir - Outstanding Designer

Emma Kontir is from Eastern North Carolina. She has always loved photography and planned on focusing on it in college. However, after taking the introduction to vis comm classes, she discovered a love for design and branding. She held an  internship at Student Health Services doing graphic design for its public relations and marketing department.  She also recently started working on branding and social media marketing for a local wine bar startup. In both positions, she really enjoys being able to get creative using both photography and design to communicate cohesive brand messages. 

Alec Michael Catanzarite

Alec Michael Catanzarite - Outstanding Videographer

Alec Catanzarite was born and raised in Charleston and loves to make videos. His interest in visual communications began in middle school but really took off during his junior year in high school after purchasing a DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone. This sparked his passion for the visual arts and has helped him become the successful creative he is now. He took advantage of many opportunities at South Carolina including creating content for programs such as the club hockey team and Barstool Gamecocks.  He especially loves to shoot aerial videography and astrophotography. 

Zhané Bradley

Zhané Bradley - Outstanding Photographer

Zhané Bradley is a lover of art, stories and travel. While her medium of choice is photography, her goal is to use her skills as a visual artist to encourage creative expression and empower underrepresented voices across various audiences. She pairs a wide range of creative leadership experiences with a passion for intercultural communication. This experience includes holding positions as the Photo Editor of Garnet & Black Magazine, a Graphic Design/Marketing intern for UofSC's Education Abroad Office, and a Digital Media intern for LIFE Argentina, a nonprofit organization located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Honor Graduates

Summa Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.0)
Olivia Clarke, Carlye Collison, LeAnne Davison, Olivia Dodds, Skylar Etheridge, Katelyn Grayum, McKenzie Hagwood, Howard Jolles, Melanie Kennedy, Nathanael Lemmens, Kaitlyn Marino, Sydney Onoyan, Juliana Piano, Thomas Santaniello, Emily Schoonover, Sarah Sharpe, Rachel Strieber, Anntwanette Sulton, Madeline Ward

Magna Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.949)
Fallon Adams, Erica Barnette, Frances Bello, Savannah Bennett, Michaela Berley, Virginia Bethune, Jordan Biener, Julia Brodeur, Camdyn Bruce, Zoe Brummel, Spencer Buckler, Alyssa Bunting, Morgan Campanella, Liam Carse, Kate Chalfant, Mary Charles, Spring Clark, Jennifer Colter, Meghan Crum, Megan Davies, Contessa Davis, Natalie DeArment, Ryan Ducey, Joanna Dyches, Elizabeth East, Matthew Edwards, Rebecca Fair, Paige Fallon, Annabella Ferrante, Elyssa Fishman, Kathryn Franklin, Nicole Frazer, Carlie Gasia, Abby Gerwit, Elizabeth Green, McKenna Healy, Fionna Henderson, Abigail Hissong, Kailey Hoard, Erin Holley, Haley Huff, Logan Ingram, Ashley Jackson, Taylor Jennings-Brown, Olivia Jordan, Stephanie Justice, Madison Kids, Emma Kontir, Nicole Kransberger, Naomi Lawrence, Dylan Leatherwood, Katherine Lloyd, Katherine Longrich, Lewis Martin, Brighid McDonough, Claire McGrath, Zachary McKinstry, Mackenzie McNabb, Melissa Mesnick, Stephen Mims, Joseph Motluck, Kelsey Norris, Sloane O'Cone, Erin O'Donnell, Caroline O'Looney, Nicole Palmer, Alexandrea Pardue, Grace Peasley, Paul Philpot, Arunmani Phravorachith, Jordan Postal, Nicole Ring, Jonah Rotholz, Brandi Sanichar, Mackenzie Siverson, Peter Smith, Caroline Stringfellow, Jenna Sulkowski, Matthew Tantillo, Stephanie Train, Forrest Tucker, Sarah Turner, Emma Vallebuona, Kourtney Vermillion, Julia Wakser, Sarah Whaley, Mary Whorton, Sarah Wilson, Alan Wolf, Graeme Wolverton, Anne Young, Lara Zwiebel, 

Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.749)
Katherine Almeida, Emily Amit, Lauren Arabis, Haley Bain, Sara Banyard, Kelly Batt, James Beach, Tierney Becker, Parker Bellingham, Andrea Betancourt, Taylor Betkowski, Lovianna Blackwell, Jacob Bolin, Qhira Bonds, Adelaide Bottomley, Caroline Bristow, Bentley Brown, Rachel Busler, Katelyn Cannon, Meagan Caraway, Maegan Carter, Olivia Christine, Dillon Clark, Megan Corsi, Olivia Countess, Caleb Crawford, Kate D'Alessandro, Louis Donofrio, Kiara Ealy, Sophia Edwards, Reed Farnen, Jacqueline Ferrara, Breland Foster, Johnathon Fuerte, Luke Gardner, Tylor Garrison, Emily Gordon, Sophie Grady, Kathleen Griffith, Lexi Hack, Chandler Hale, William Hall, William Hallman, Benton Harley, Christal Harvin, Gillian Haviland, John Heeke, Grace Hendrix, Ryan Hibbison, Kylie Hummel, Emma Hynek, Riley Jankowski, Caroline Jeffcoat, Logan Jennes, Elizabeth Johnson, Gabriella Kinzler, Alexandra Koch, Zoie Lagoudis, Tsz Ki Lam, Madison Lindley, Julia Linthicum, William Little, Constantine Lomis, Cierra Martin, Abigail Martin, Allyson McCorry, Bailey Milhorn, Sarah Moriel, Kira Norwood, Kailee Novak, Rendan Overcash, Isabella Payne, Audrey Prevost, Catherine Rawl, Danielle Reeder, Ansley Rochester, Chloe Rogalin, Summer Rogers, Blair Roughen, Amanda Sciora, Kate Shelley, Summer Shinn, Sara Slaughter, Taylor Smith, Katelyn Smith, Collin Speicher, Erin Springer, Vanessa Stevens, Samantha Stone, Ethan Styll, Micayla Sullivan, Amzie Tanton, Kelly Teseny, Daphne Thompson, Hannah Tiballi, Sidney Tilton, Emma Valenti, Raine Walker, Kylie Walsh, Ryker Webb, Kathryn Williamson, Samantha Winn, AnnaRae Wood, Carson Woodham, Augusta Worthington, Kassidy Wright, Corey Zucco

Albert T. Scroggins Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha - KTA

Grace Badaki, Frances Bello, Jordan Biener, Jackson Bingham, Anna-Austin Boyers, Mary Charles, Carlye Collison, Natalie DeArment, Rebecca Fair, Terri Feagin, Johnathon Fuerte, Sydney Glassberg, Kimberly Glover, Christal Harvin, Justin Hauser, Abigail Hissong, Emma Hynek, Kiera Jefferson, Dejon Johnson, Stephanie Justice, Naomi Lawrence, Nathanael Lemmens, Carly Love, Kaitlyn Marino, Lewis Martin, Javier Martinez, Kelsey Norris, Sydney Onoyan, Alexandrea Pardue, Arunmani Phravorachith, Jordan Postal, Nicole Ring, Hanna Robinson, Ricardo Rodriguez, Kate Shelley, Joshua Tekle, Samantha Winn, Kassidy Wright

University Awards

President's Award
Selection for the President's Award is based on academic accomplishments, leadership achievements, co-curricular involvement and service to the Carolina community. Recipients have demonstrated major achievement in the categories of service, leadership, academics and research. Students chosen to receive this honor are among the university's most exceptional graduating seniors. 

Stephen Mims, Rachel Strieber, Caroline Stringfellow, Courtney Trammell, Sarah Wilson

UofSC Outstanding Seniors
Students who receive the university’s outstanding senior award have demonstrated major achievement in the categories of service, leadership, academics and research.

Addison Burke, Carlye Collison, Contessa Davis, Meredith, Stephen Mims, Paul Philpot, Jordan Postal, Sarah Sharpe, Andrew Smith, Rachel Strieber, Caroline Stringfellow, Caroline Tolly, Courtney Trammell, Sarah Turner, Sarah Wilson

Joseph H. Gibbons Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Senior Award
The Joseph H. Gibbons Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Senior Award is given annually to a senior member who has demonstrated the most significant leadership and has contributed the most to the organization’s success during the year. Selection is made by the membership and includes a financial honorarium.

Stephen Mims and Sarah Sharpe

Graduation with Leadership Distinction
Students who earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction demonstrate extensive, purposeful engagement beyond the classroom, understanding of course concepts in “real world” settings, and application of learning to make decisions and solve problems.

Lauren Arabis, Sara Barnyard, Andrea Betancourt, Zhane Bradley, Carlye Collison, Matthew Edwards, Annabella Ferrante, Elyssa Fishman, Kathleen Griffith, Hayley Huff, Yaunna Hunter, Shelby Johnson, Allyson McCorry, Caroline O'Looney, Thomas Santaniello, Sarah Sharpe, Rachel Strieber, Sarah Watson.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.