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Top jschool graduates for 2010

Selecting top graduates has never been an easy job, yet every year since I’ve been on the faculty we’ve collectively rolled up our sleeves to select students from each of our sequences, a top “overall” senior, as well as top masters and doctoral graduates.

I’ve sometimes wondered over the years if this was such a good idea, given how many outstanding graduating seniors and grad students we have each year. Sure, there’s always a “top” GPA, but rarely does that translate into who wins top graduate awards. After all, a journalism education is more than just about grades.

On the other hand, our winners invariably are in the top 5-10% grade point averages. They also have had the kind of impact outside the classroom that means they will be remembered for years to come. So, once again, we used the occasion of our annual awards banquet to recognize top graduating seniors. The text below borrows heavily from the script that Tom Hodson read from at the banquet.

This year we salute the following top graduates:

Advertising: Lauren Miller

From day one, Lauren Miller hit the ground running in the Scripps School of Journalism. Lauren graduated with 40 hours more than the minimum of 192. That says much about her intelligence, motivation and focus.

Lauren has been active in the American Advertising Federation National Student Competition every year, including presenting for the Coca Cola team in her freshman year. She served as Ad Club’s treasurer, was a member of the executive board of directors, marketing and research director and campaign director during her time at Scripps. It’s no surprise that due to her commitment and hard work, Ohio University won the National Competition in 2008. And the 2009 Ad Club’s campaign for the Century Council will launch this year.

During her time at OU, Lauren was also a sales representative for University Directories and was ranked number one on the team. According to her professors, no one has done so well in the advertising sequence and accomplished so much for the OU Advertising Association.

Broadcast: Drew Schaar

Carr Van Anda: Bethany Williams

This is the first year we’ve given an outstanding senior award in the Carr Van Anda sequence. We felt the need to do so because we now have quite a number of students electing this inter-disciplinary option.

Bethany Williams transferred into the Scripps Journalism School after her freshmen year. Using the Carr Van Anda option, she has pursued her interest in documentary journalism, blending courses in broadcast journalism, Media Arts & Studies as well as courses from the Film School. And she did all of that while maintaining a near perfect GPA.

Bethany interned with the NPR program “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” last summer and plans to pursue her career as a documentary film maker.

Bethany graduated in March and recently returned to the U.S. from a six-week writing trip to Europe.

Journalism HTC: Emily Grannis

Our outstanding HTC senior, Emily Grannis, was campus senior writer for The Post since March 2007, reporting on the OU administration and Faculty Senate as well as student affairs and the Student Senate.

Her outstanding honors thesis on the development of the Paraguayan press is titled “Hard Pressed: The Paraguayan Media and Democratic Transition, 1980s-1990s.”

Magazine: Sarah Binning

Sarah also minored in English, and earned a near perfect GPA.

News Editorial: Emily Mullin

Emily has had internships with the Tribune-Review newspaper of Greensburg, Pennsylvania; the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire in Washington, D.C.; and Columbus Business First. Most recently, she has worked as a freelancer for the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Online Journalism: Ryan Lytle

Our top online journalism senior is Ryan Lytle. Ryan transferred into the Scripps Journalism School after his second year at OU.

In the past two years he completed three internships with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website, the washingtonpost.com, and most recently with the Today Show. Ryan was fortunate to be working at the Today Show when OU defeated Georgetown in the Big Dance. And of course Today Show co-host and alum Matt Lauer wanted to celebrate, so Ryan made his network debut, chest bumping, and nearly knocking out Matt on live TV!

Public Relations: Adria Courtot

Our Outstanding PR Senior’s accomplishments become even more impressive when you know she only transferred to Ohio University two years ago and then still had to transfer into our program.

From the moment she stepped foot on campus, Adria Courtot was determined to achieve her goal of transferring into Scripps. She joined PRSSA and ImPRessions right away and made a big impact with both. She served as PRSSA’s Vice-President of Internal Relations and she previously edited PRSuccess, the chapter newsletter.

In ImPRessions she served as an Account Executive where she supervised ten other students on the Up ’Til Dawn account. Adria interned with the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

Adria was an excellent student who maintained a high GPA and was on the Dean’s List and was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship.

Overall Outstanding Senior: Chelsea Toy

Chelsea Toy exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit necessary to succeed in the modern media business. She produces hard news, long-form features, press releases, and marketing plans. She blogs, tweets, and shoots video. She speaks Spanish and Swahili and has basic conversational skills in German and Malay.

During the past four years, Chelsea won 10 journalism awards and scholarships, including the competitive Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Award and the David L. Shashower Visionary Scholarship in Communication from Liggett-Shashower in Cleveland.

In her free time, she competes in rodeos and has earned national and Canadian barrel-racing titles. For her senior honors project, she launched The Barrel Racing Blog, which receives 3,000 hits each month and she explored the ethical issues involved when journalists cover communities of interest in which they participate.

Not surprisingly, she already has a full-time job as an assistant editor for Horse & Rider where she will produce content for its four-color glossy consumer magazine and companion web products, as well as develop a social media strategy.

Chelsea also has excelled in the classroom, transferring into the Honors Tutorial College as a sophomore and earning a near-perfect GPA. She served our school as a Scripps Ambassador and helped recruit dozens of top ranking prospective students by leading tours and sharing her college experiences with them. We wish continued success as she moves into full-time professional life.

Masters student: Aisha Mohammed

Aisha Mohammed wrote what Pat Washburn considers to be one of the top five papers in his two and a half decades of teaching the historiorgraphy class. She wrote about magazines produced by sex workers for sex workers.

Doctoral student: Jen Lovejoy

Jennette Lovejoy has a history of publishing and presenting academic articles that would be impressive for a tenure-track assistant professor, and she has yet to defend her thesis. She already has a job with the University of Portland. And she throws a football with a nice, tight spiral.

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