May 25, 2019  

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Southern Miss Faculty and Staff Honored by Public Relations Association

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Tonya McGee

Several University of Southern Mississippi faculty and staff members have been honored by the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi as part of the organization’s 2015 Spark Awards program. The Spark Awards recognize outstanding work in the field of public relations in six categories.  

The honors included a pair of the chapter’s top awards: the Bud Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year, won by USM School of Mass Communication Assistant Director Dr. Cindy Blackwell, and the Judges’ Choice Award, won by Tonya McGee, marketing specialist for USM Career Services.

Blackwell serves as the advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America at USM, as well as for The Agency, a student-led integrated communications agency. The Kirkpatrick Award is named for the former director of University Communications, Bud Kirkpatrick, who served the University for more than three decades in that position and has been inducted into six halls of fame, including the Southern Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and the Southern Public Relations Federation Hall of Fame.

McGee won one of only three Spark Awards presented by the judges for her social media work @USMCareerSrvcs on Twitter, as well as the top award in the competition, the Judges’ Choice Award.

In addition, Catherine Lott, communication coordinator for USM’s DuBard School for Language Disorders, won the chapter’s President’s Award for outstanding service to the organization.

Other USM award winners included the following:

  • Hanna Knowles

SPARK Award in the category of “Campaign over $5,000”

“Making the Move to Kinesiology - Rebranding Project” for the Southern Miss School of Kinesiology

Award of Excellence in the category of “Writing”

"Making the Move to Kinesiology News Release”

  • Catherine Lott

SPARK Award in the category of “Events, Innovations and Oddments”

“DuBard School Speakeasy”

  • April Jordan and Meredith Williams

Award of Excellence in the category of “Publication and Writing”

“Recreational Sports Brochure”

  • Victoria Scarbrough, Heather Graves, Lynn McCarver and Brittney Westbrook

Award of Excellence in the category of “Design”

“USM Points of Pride”

  • Brittney Westbrook, Jenny Tate and Mad Genius

Award of Excellence in the category of “Publication and Writing”

“2015 National TV Spot”

The following USM faculty and staff members were also named to the chapter’s board of directors for 2016.

  • President – Lott
  • Vice President for Programs – Knowles
  • Vice President for Membership – Olivia Ann Hodges
  • Scholarship Chair – Dr. Vanessa Murphree
  • Member-at-Large – Jim Coll