Celebrating the 2024 Alumni Award Winners

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s 2024 Alumni Awards Ceremony will take place Friday, April 26 and will celebrate a group of accomplished alumni, faculty and staff members, undergraduate and graduate students.

This year’s impressive list of accomplished alumni includes a variety of careers in teaching, digital communications, restaurant management, sports coaching and broadcasting. They will be honored along with our James L. Baughman Senior Achievement Award winners, Teaching Excellence Award and Leadership Award winners, and Terry Hynes Innovative Leadership winners. Please join us in honoring these outstanding alumni, faculty and staff, and students and their incredible accomplishments. On, Wisconsin!

Ralph O. Nafziger Award

This award is named for the late Ralph O. Nafziger, who was director of the school from 1949 until his retirement in 1966. Nafziger built an international reputation as a leader in journalism education. The honorees receive recognition for showing remarkable professional initiative and promise within 10 years of graduation.

Mack is a multimedia producer at Milwaukee PBS where she has produced award-winning segments for “Black Nouveau,” one of the station’s legacy programs that shares stories about African Americans in the city. She was also a co-host of the station’s first podcast “Speaking Of..,” which received a Public Media Award in 2022. Mack’s favorite part of storytelling is getting out into the community and meeting a diverse group of people who share their own experiences for inspiration and change. Check out our infographic about Mack’s impressive achievements.

Cara Lombardo is Deputy Wall Street Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal in New York where she edits and reports for a team that covers banking, private equity, corporate dealmaking, hedge funds, fintech companies and more. She was the first to report that Twitter was preparing to sell itself to Elon Musk in April 2022. Lombardo was also part of a team that won a Gerald Loeb Award in 2021 for the paper’s coverage of Amazon’s business practices. She also appeared in “Icahn: The Restless Billionaire,” an HBO documentary about activist investor Carl Icahn. Learn more about Lombardo’s career here.

Sharon Dunwoody Early Career Award

The Sharon Dunwoody Early Career Award recognizes distinguished achievement in teaching and research within 5-10 years of graduation from the PhD program.

Manisha Pathak-Shelat, a Professor of Communication & Digital Platforms and Strategies at MICA, India, also serves as Co-Chair of the Centre for Development Management and Communication (CDMC). She believes in socially engaged scholarship, aiming for global impact through teaching and writing. With a Ph.D. in Education and extensive experience across India, Thailand, and the U.S., Manisha specializes in communication for social change, digital cultures, and gender studies. Her prolific research, showcased internationally, addresses how individuals engage with media for agency, identity exploration, and social change. She has won several awards including The Soviet Land Nehru Award, Shastri Indo-Canadian Faculty Research Award, The Salzburg Seminar Fellowship and more. Find out more about Pathak-Shelat in this infographic.

Woohyun Yoo is a prominent figure in health communication, renowned for his innovative research on digital media’s impact on patient engagement and public health. In 2014, he joined Dongguk University’s faculty in South Korea. His research, which includes over 40 peer-reviewed articles and award-winning conference papers, focuses on leveraging digital platforms for addiction management and preventive health behaviors during crises. Currently an Associate Professor at Incheon National University, he continues to lead impactful projects funded by prestigious institutions, emphasizing education and research to advance public health communication. See our Q&A with Yoo here.

Distinguished Service Award

Each year the School honors outstanding alumni. Faculty select award winners based on their achievements in all fields of journalism and mass communication.

Following graduate management school, Donegan relocated to Seattle, where he played a pivotal role in the establishment and growth of numerous companies, including Starbucks and Quartermaine Coffee Roasters. Throughout his 27-year tenure, he has been instrumental in the success of Ivar’s seafood restaurants in Seattle, all while actively volunteering with various organizations such as The Seattle Aquarium, New Waterfront Park, Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Historic Waterfront Association, WA Hospitality Association and more. Check out our Q&A infographic here.

Yasmin Farooq boasts an impressive career as a two-time Olympian, World Champion and esteemed coach of the University of Washington Women’s Rowing Team. Beginning as a walk-on coxswain at UW-Madison, she quickly rose to lead the Badgers to national titles, eventually becoming team captain and MVP. Transitioning from an accomplished athlete to a renowned coach, Farooq has left a mark on the sport, guiding Stanford University and the University of Washington to NCAA titles and achieving historic victories. Recognized for her exceptional coaching prowess, she has received numerous accolades, including inductions into the USRowing Hall of Fame and the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame. Check out this Q&A infographic to learn more about Farooq.

Patty Loew is a Professor Emerita in the Medill School of Journalism and inaugural director (retired) of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University. A citizen of Mashkiiziibiig, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Dr. Loew is a former broadcast journalist in public and commercial television. She is widely recognized as an accomplished author, winning awards for her books on Native American history and culture. Dr. Loew’s extensive documentary work, including award-winning productions aired on PBS, explores themes ranging from sports to environmental activism. She is deeply committed to mentoring Native youth and has played key roles in organizations supporting journalists of color and Native American journalists. Learn more in this Q&A.

James L. Baughman Senior Achievement Award

Congratulations to our 2023 James L. Baughman Senior Achievement Award Winners! These students were selected for their outstanding academic, professional and community service achievements.

Rachel Hale, Class of 2024
Xinlin (Grace) Jiang, Class of 2024
Emily (Em-J) Krigsman, Class of 2024
Audrey Thibert, Class of 2024
Sophia Vento, Class of 2024

Terry Hynes Innovative Leadership Award 

The Terry Hynes Innovative Leadership Award honors the leaders and mentors that strive to make the School of Journalism a place where students are excited to study communication and feel a sense of community throughout their time in Vilas. The award provides financial support for faculty and staff to take advantage of opportunities that enable them to develop, deepen and deploy their strengths; identify and compensate for their weaknesses; and master skills of strategic thinking and effective communication in order to make a positive impact on the lives of those they serve in the School.

Sterling Anderson, System Engineer IV

Pam Garcia-Rivera, Media, Information and Communication Career Adviser

Matt Hermann, Teaching Faculty III; Sports Communication Certificate Adviser

Dhavan Shah, Jack M. McLeod Professor of Communication Research, Maier-Bascom Chair

Graduate Student Awards

Teaching Excellence Award

Congratulations also to our graduate students who received the SJMC Teaching Excellence Award. The Teaching Excellence Award is presented in recognition of outstanding and inspirational teaching performance.

Linjie Dai Headshot Heysung Lee headshot Indri Maulidar headshot

Linjie Dai                    Heysung Lee            Linqi Lu                   Indri Maulidar

Sean Pauley headshot Abby Qin headshot Nitanga Safi Binbin Wang headshot

Sean Pauley                 Abby Qin               Nitanga Safi              Binbin Wang

Leadership Award

Congratulations to our graduate students who received the SJMC Leadership Award. This award is in recognition of outstanding service as a leader and organizer of the Communication Crossroads Conference.

Lynne Cotter headshot

Lynne Cotter            Wil Dubree                Hyerin Kwon             Linqi Lu

Ryan Wettschurack headshot Thomas Zhang headshot

Alexus Moore            Nitanga Safi            Ryan Wettschurack  Thomas Zhang