Demers, others honored at 2019 Just Desserts

May 10, 2019
Group of people

RECENT GRADUATES (from left): Ground — Zeina Cabrera-Peterson, Victor Garcia, Erin Thomson, Robby Leaño, Jordan Williams, Dalal Radwan, Alexis Richardson, Kristan Obeng. First step — Carsyn Currier, Olivia Jackson, Micheal Romero, Alex Eschelman. Second step — Zach Ogden, Marissa Heffernan, Jasmine Demers, Alexander Gonzalez, Caryn Vieira, Hector Ponce, Jessica Suriano, Ava Garcia, Ambur Wilkerson. Third step — April Lanuza, Nick Meyers, Eddie Celaya.


Jasmine DemersMarissa HeffernanAlec White and Jessica Suriano captured top honors May 8 at the University of Arizona School of Journalism’s 53nd Just Desserts student awards celebration at the Arizona Historical Society.


• Photo gallery by Nick Smallwood   

• 2019 Just Desserts program   

• Video of ceremony





Demers, a graduating master's student, received the Philip Mangelsdorf Award for Outstanding Newsperson of the Year, which recognizes the top reporter/journalist in the program.

She was an apprentice reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, writing several cover stories for "Caliente," and was editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Demers also defended her master's project, "42 Repeats: A Family's Multigenerational Battle with Huntington's Disease," that included an emotional video at

Heffernan captured the Sherman R. Miller 3rd Award for Outstanding Senior. At the Arizona Daily Star, she was the NASA Space Grant Intern and an apprentice reporter, producing multiple front-page science and news enterprise stories.

White, a broadcast student, received the Brewster P. Campbell Award for Outstanding Junior. He was sports editor at the Arizona Daily Wildcat and landed an internship this summer at Fox Sports Arizona.

Suriano was named the Outstanding Graduate Student. Her master's project, "Prove It," focused on the social and institutional factors contributing to sexual assault on campus. She was a Pulliam Fellow at the Arizona Republic last summer.

Assistant Professor Susan Swanberg won the Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching Award, in which students nominate professors and an outside committee votes on the winner.

The inaugural Carol and Cecil Schwalbe Staff Award for Outstanding Service went to Gladis Tolsa.

Other awards given out were:

  • Kathryn Anne Governal Perseverance Award: Erin Thomson
  • Alex Parker Awards for Reporting: Eddie Celaya, Jordan Williams
  • William Hattich Awards for Journalism Professionalism: Victor Garcia, Elizabeth Quinlan, Kathleen Kunz, Dalal Radwan
  • Leadership and Service Awards: Pascal Albright, Ava Garcia, Dalal Radwan
  • Douglas Martin Courage and Integrity: Jasmine Demers, Olivia Jackson, Rob Leaño
  • Excellence in Research: Zeina Cabrera-Peterson
  • Abe Chanin Award for Excellence in Sports Reporting: Alex Eschelman
  • Donald Still Award – Arizona Daily Wildcat: Marissa Heffernan
  • J. Y. Bryan Prize for Interpretive Photography: Sofia Moraga Franco
  • Excellence in International Journalism: April Lanuza, Kristan Obeng
  • Innovation Award: Rocky Baier, Ava Garcia
  • Excellence in Broadcast Journalism Award: Carsyn Currier, Sascha Fruehauf, Vanessa Ontiveros, Ambur Wilkerson
  • Excellence in Science and Environmental Journalism: Dominika Heusinkveld, Nina Kolodij
  • School Media Award: Nels Bergeron, Nick Meyers
  • Jack Sheaffer Award for Outstanding News Photography: Griffin Riley
  • Diversity in Reporting Award: Phillip Bramwell, Erin Thomson
  • Certificates of Merit: Maddie Bullington, Shannon Fojtik, Victor Herrera, Tommie Huffman, Rob Kleifield, Jamie Maese, Alana Minkler, Gabby Mix, Teagan Rasche, Haille Saal-Khalili, Shayne Tarquinio, Tori Tom, Madeleine Viceconte, Alexis Whitaker
  • Kappa Tau Alpha: Rocky Baier, Katelyn Caldwell, Victor Herrera, Elizabeth Humston, Alisa Ivanitskaya, Meredith O'Neil, Teagan Rasche

Those receiving previous awards the last two semesters were:

  • Mark Finley Gold Pen Award for best beginning newswriter: Fall 2018: First – Pascal Albright. Second — James Parisi. Third — Jamie Donnelly. Spring 2019: First — Quincy SinekAiya CancioSeth Markowski. 
  • Drew Gyorke Photojournalism Contest: Fall 2018: First – Kasey Adrian. Second — Alana Minkler. Third — Karyme Cuadras. Fall 2019: First — Marisa Latzman. Second — Rebeca Moreno. Third — Lexi Horsey.

Those receiving scholarships were:

  • Arizona Daily Star Scholarship: Jamie Donnelly
  • Edith Auslander Scholarship: Pascal Albright
  • Concerned Media Professionals Scholarship: Meredith O'Neil, Nick Trujillio
  • Bernice Cosulich Scholarship: Tommie Huffman, Rebeca Moreno
  • D.C. “Darn Cat” Scholarship: Priya Jandu, Maya Noto
  • Steve Emerine Scholarship: Meredith O'Neil
  • Richard Gilman Scholarship: Alana Minkler, Sofia Moraga Franco
  • Hank Hubbard Scholarship: Alec White
  • Peggy Daum Judge Scholarship: Rocky Baier, Alec White
  • Donovan M. Kramer Sr. Entrepreneurial Scholarship: Airday Sued
  • Douglas D. Martin Scholarship: Nina Kolodij
  • William Milburn Memorial Scholarship: Nina Kolodij
  • Lois R.Nelson Scholarship: Ireland Stevenson
  • Sandra Ann Kelly Ramirez Memorial Scholarship: Alana Minkler
  • John Ruby Scholarship: Sascha Fruehauf
  • Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship: Jesse Tellez
  • Frank O. Sotomayor Scholarship: Pascal Albright
  • Lois Whisler Scholarship: Tommie Huffman

Past Just Desserts