Ohio University

OHIO’s J-School holds virtual annual banquet

Published: April 24, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Each spring, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism honors its students with a scholarship banquet. In years past, the banquet was held at Nelson Commons on South Green. Attendance ranged between 250-300 invited guests: students with their family members and friends; University faculty and staff; scholarship donors; and representatives of the Scripps-Howard Foundation.

Attendees looked forward to seeing professor Mary Rogus, chairperson of the school’s scholarship committee, presenting the awards, introducing each student with individual details and “much-anticipated” commentary. After receiving their awards, the students posed for photographs, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow winners, J-School director Bob Stewart, and sometimes their scholarship’s donor.

But that was all in years past, before COVID-19 disrupted campus life in all its unprecedented ways.

This year, the number of scholarship recipients alone is well over the temporary legal limit on public gatherings. Not to mention the inconvenient fact that no one is living or working on campus for the duration of the semester. Would this cherished tradition survive?

It would, if Stewart (who is set to retire in May) had anything to say about it. When the plan to go remote was announced in late March, Stewart hatched a plan.

The “banquet” was held as scheduled on Tuesday, April 21. In place of the traditional large gathering with its catered dinner, attendees followed the Twitter hashtag #ScrippsBanquet2020 and watched Stewart (who wore a tuxedo) serve as livestreaming emcee, playing clips Rogus recorded in advance.

“Our goal was to create, for just a moment anyway, an opportunity to forget about the coronavirus and just focus on our exceptional students, our generous donors, and also, bring together the Scripps School ‘family,’” Stewart said.

Students got in on the action, posting grateful and gracious acceptance tweets, photos in festive attire, and selfies with their families.

“It was so wonderful to be able to recognize our #AmazingScrippsKids, especially during this difficult time,” Rogus said. “I really felt like we were all together celebrating everything that's so great about our school and students.”

In addition to the monetary scholarships (totaling just over $268,000 this year), the school honors seniors in individual categories including service and leadership, and selects outstanding seniors in each major track (Honors Tutorial College, news and information and strategic communication).

Julie Ciotola, an Honors Tutorial College student, won the Overall Outstanding Senior award.

“It was really hard for me to accept that senior year would end this way,” she said. “But having events like the banquet still press on means the world to me. I truly felt connected with my fellow students and our wonderful faculty via Twitter. Even if this isn't how I pictured the banquet, I will remember that night forever, and I'm forever grateful for the amazing experiences Scripps has given me. It has certainly changed my life in the best way.”

Jessica Rutkowski won the Student Media Leader for Strategic Communication. Still in Athens, she watched the livestream with friends.

“The journalism banquet was something I have been looking forward to since my freshman year,” Rutkowski said. “When classes went online for the rest of the semester, my mind immediately started mourning the fact that journalism seniors wouldn’t be honored in the same way. But, of course, the faculty in the Scripps J-School had a plan. It was actually super fun to see all of the awardees being tweeted out one after the other throughout the night on social media because then the awardees’ friends and family could see their recognition.”

Taylor Johnston, digital managing editor for The Post, was awarded the Outstanding Senior award for Entrepreneurship. Still living in Athens, she watched the stream with a friend and on FaceTime with her family.

“Turning on my laptop and navigating to Professor Stewart’s livestream of awards was surreal,” Johnston said. “Even though I haven’t been able to attend classes, see friends in person or finish out my senior year like I had expected these last few weeks, seeing the awards ceremony and receiving recognition really hit home and reminded me that with everything going on, I still made it.”

This year’s awards, in the order they were presented:

  • Emma Dollenmayer, Scripps College of Communication General Scholarship
  • Emma Stefanick, Scripps College of Communication General Scholarship
  • Alejandro Figueroa, Scripps Multicultural Scholarship
  • Jordan Ellis, Lyon Family Scholarship
  • Lauren Wittschen, William H. Morris and Ernest C. Fenderson Scholarship
  • Curtis Feder, Larry and Joann Katz Family Scholarship
  • Vivian Moussa, Jeff Chaddock Leadership Scholarship
  • Olivia Strauss, John W. Wiater Scholarship
  • Joseph Nurre, Barbara and Larry Margolis Advertising Scholarship
  • Emily Crebs, Helen Hoover Scholarship
  • Nolan Cramer, Helen Hoover Scholarship
  • Olivia Ujlaki, Robert L and Teri W. Gerbig - undergraduate
  • Claudia Cisneros, Robert L. and Teri W. Gerbig Graduate Scholarship
  • Regan Gray, Edward J. Martin Memorial Scholarship
  • Sarah Donaldson, Athens News-Bob Baker Scholarship
  • Morgan Spehar, Scripps Howard Foundation--Sue Porter Scholarship
  • Olivia Christiansen, Scripps Howard Foundation--Boyd D. Lewis Scholarship
  • Haley Bender, Don Perris Scholarship Internship
  • Grace Brezina, Don Perris Scholarship Internship
  • Brooke Balzano, Don Perris Scholarship Internship
  • Nolan Cramer, Don Perris Scholarship Grant
  • Ethan Sands, Scripps Multimedia Internship Grant
  • Dejae'Naye Wilkins, Hugh Culbertson Internship Scholarship
  • James Sweet, Russell N. Baird High School Editor's Award
  • Rowan Hetzer, Ron H. Lori Scholarship
  • 2017 Nathan Hart, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • 2018 Megan Gordin, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • 2019  Lauren Serge, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • 2019 Abby Neff, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • 2020 Hannah Campbell, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • 2020 Aya Cathey, Bob and 'Koky' Dishon Scholarship
  • Paige Miller, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Scholarship
  • Alexa Grillis, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Scholarship
  • Jayne Yerrick, Future of Journalism Centennial Scholarship (Ken Klien)
  • Baylee DeMuth, Ralph Izard/Post Scholarship
  • Molly Schramm, Tom and Susan Crites Price Scholarship
  • Jena Catalano, Ty BSJ '84 Votaw Scholarship
  • Lauren Patterson, The Anne Snyder Journalism and Storytelling Scholarship
  • Charlie Knox, Judith A Macknight Future of Journalism Scholarship
  • Bre Offenberger, Marc and Lila Rosenweig Scholarship
  • Hunter Graffice, Emerson "Vic" Sherow Memorial Scholarship
  • Nia Dumas, Emerson "Vic" Sherow Memorial Scholarship
  • Eric Boll, Cortland Anderson Award
  • Audrey Secrest, Cortland Anderson Award
  • Lindsey Osterfeld, Joseph Needle Scholarship
  • Emma Skidmore, Loren Joseph Hortin Scholarship
  • Julia Howell, Fred Palmer Scholarship in Journalism
  • Katie Hawkinson, Jesse and Ruth Zousmer Memorial Scholarship
  • Anna Azallion, Tom and Jan Hodson Leadership and Excellence Scholarship
  • Maggie Prosser, White House Correspondents Association Scholarship
  • Ashton Nichols, White House Correspondents Association Scholarship
  • Cole Behrens, White House Correspondents Association Scholarship
  • Marguerite Augier, Joseph Lichtenberg Memorial Scholarship
  • Noah Wright, Apgar Ethics Award
  • Anna Birk, Andrew Alexander Scholarship
  • Kyra Young, Andrew Alexander Scholarship
  • Bryan Kurp, Dan Lowe Memorial Scholarship
  • Eli Feazell, Dan Lowe Memorial Scholarship
  • Aaron Brandenburg, Herb Moss Business of Baseball Scholarship
  • Arianna Guerra, Lawrence R. Tavcar Memorial Scholarship
  • Sarah Todack, Anne-Cooper Chen Scholarship
  • Makenna Goad, Frances & Margaret Channell Scholarship
  • Charlotte Caldwell, Tom Turnbull Memorial Scholarship
  • Chloe Meyers, Eliza Alcorn Clark Memorial Scholarship
  • Fallon Howard, Larry "Scoop" Press BS Journalism, 1949 Scholarship
  • Hannah Burkhart, Frank Deaner Scholarship
  • Hardika Singh, Ron H. Iori Scholarship
  • Eleanor Bishop, Patricia Westfall Magazine Scholarship
  • Samantha Wiesneth, Margaret McKechnie Scholarship
  • Lily Roby, Margaret McKechnie Scholarship
  • Grant Ritchey, George Starr Lasher Living Legacy Scholarship
  • Olivia Ujlaki, Lasher-Evarts Quality of Writing
  • Alexi Murray, Mary Elizabeth Lasher Barnette Women's Leadership Award
  • Rachel Beardsley, Kay Murphy Price Scholarship
  • Jylian Herring, Kay Murphy Price Scholarship
  • Destiniee Jaram, Richard O. Linke Scholarship

Outstanding Senior Awards

  • Logan Moore, Outstanding Service
  • Taylor Johnston, Outstanding Entrepreneurship
  • Maggie Campbell, Leadership in Professional Organization
  • Anthony Poisal, Leadership in Professional Organization
  • Jessica Rutkowski, Student Media Leader - Strategic Communication
  • Marie Chailosky, Student Media Leader - News and Information
  • Thomas Garverick, Student Media Leader - News and Information
  • Elise Hammond, Student Media Leader - News and Information
  • Winter Wilson, Outstanding Senior, Honors Tutorial College
  • Ally Lanasa, Outstanding Senior, News & Information Track
  • Cassidy Selep, Outstanding Senior, Strategic Communication Track
  • Julie Ciotola, Overall Outstanding Senior
  • Yaz Ebada, Outstanding Masters Student
  • Huyen Nguyen, Outstanding PhD Student