The School of Communication and Media (SCM) 2020 Scholar and Production Awards was a night to remember.
The annual ceremony, which took place on April 29 via Youtube Livestream, celebrated and acknowledged the hard work Montclair State University students put in over the 2019-2020 school year.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the evacuation of the campus, student producers Kyler Weir, Gabrielle Jones and Kristina Lacovone, all senior television and digital media majors with a concentration in television production, along with Ashley Koutras, a sophomore television and digital media major with a concentration in audio and sound design, and Professor Stuart MacLelland came together to produce a memorable livestream to recognize the recipients of the awards.
Jane Banduini, a senior theater studies major, returned to host the award show for her second year in a row, first introducing the SCM director, Keith Strudler.
“With the can-do spirit that exemplifies the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State, I salute you and am humbled by your outstanding work and perseverance,” Strudler said.
The first award of the night went to Alyssa Nogol, a senior communication and media arts major, Sam Carliner, a senior journalism major and Ben Petruk, a freshman journalism major, for the award in Excellence in Audio and Sound Design for their work on “Friday the SMT.”
Banduini then presented Sandra Lavin, a senior communication and media arts major, with the Communications Award for Excellence in Communications and Media Arts, an award that celebrates the understanding of media’s meaning and what it does.
“It’s really important to be able to communicate with a lot of different people,” Lavin said. “Whether it be feelings or a message, it’s so important in our everyday lives.”
Ryan Daniel, a junior film major, received the Excellence in Production Design Award for his video, “Infected.” The award recognizes Daniel as someone with exceptional skills in both creativity and design, as well as executing the final visual product.
The Excellence in Sports Journalism Award was given to Jared Alvarez, a senior television and digital media major with a concentration in sports journalism. Alvarez credited his colleagues at WMSC Radio, where he began sports broadcasting, and his professor, Kelly Whiteside, who helped him obtain an internship with the Montclair State basketball team.
The Excellence in Cinematography Award recognized Andrew Sikoral, a January 2020 film graduate, and Michael Roncinske, a senior film major, for their film “Threads.” The award celebrates the exceptional ability to bring creative photographic elements to life on the screen.
The Excellence as a Host, Talent, Writer or Columnist Award went to Grace Rowland, a freshman television and digital media major with a concentration in television production. Rowland is an anchor on News Lab, who received the award based off of her on-air confidence and quick problem-solving skills in the face of challenges.
Mollie Brawley, a senior communication studies major, received the Excellence in Communications Studies Award. Beyond college, Brawley plans to pursue a career in corporate public relations.
Molly St. Louis, a senior television and digital media major, and Leiloni Braddy, a January 2020 film graduate, shared the Film Award for Excellence in Directing, as well as the Film Award for Excellence in Editing for their work on “The Bracelet” and “Utica Ave.”
“I always had an interest in filmmaking,” Braddy said. “I feel like college gave me the push to really dive into it and learn all the ropes professionally.”
Banduini then introduced Mackenzie Robertson, a senior television and digital media major with a concentration in documentary production, to screen the trailer for her documentary, “27 Years: A Juvenile Justice Story.” The film was accepted for screening in the shorts program for the 2020 Montclair Film Festival.
The Excellence in Journalism Award went to Heather Berzak, a senior journalism major, and Lauren Beckles, a senior communication and media arts major, for their web project, “Vape Crisis Takes Darker Turn into Black Market.” The award recognizes significant work in the field of journalism and reporting campus-wide breaking news.
Michael Sano, a junior film major, won the Excellence in Screenwriting Award for his film, “The Far West of Wayside,” which he said was loosely inspired by “Toy Story.”
Following was the Excellence in Public Relations Award received by Sierra Cole, a senior public relations major, who works as a social media planner at Sprague Library.
Jason Perniciaro, a junior film major, took home two prizes as he received both the Film Award for Excellence in Producing as well as the Communication Studies Student Choice Award for his film, “Moanin’.”
“I’m just so happy that people took a liking to my film and they connected with it,” Perniciaro said. “It’s a huge honor and I’m very grateful for it.”
The Journalism/Television and Digital Media Award for Excellence in Production, All Media recognized Amanda Chiappetta, a sophomore television and digital media major, for her work on “Yellowstone,” and Fritz Bautista, a senior communication studies major, for his digital curriculum guide, “Break the System.”
The Service to the Communication Area Community Award went to Amanda Peacock, a senior public relations major, who displayed a great deal of service to the Montclair State community, whether it be in student life or public relations.
Brianna Ryan, a junior film major, went on to win the Film Student Choice Award while Elena Plumser, a senior television and digital media major with a concentration in television production, earned the final award of the night, which was the Journalism/Television and Digital Media Student Choice Award.
Between the announcements of the awards, student-made video essays regarding the COVID-19 pandemic were screened. They served inspirational and informational purposes regarding the virus and its effect on everyone it has touched.
The School of Communication and Media recognized a great deal of students that have worked incredibly hard not only this past year, but in their entire time at Montclair State to perfect their various works of art. With that being said, the SCM community was able to congratulate their peers and wish them well in the future.