Just Desserts: Gomez, Ramos, McCarville are top undergrad winners for 2022

May 6, 2022

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A group of students standing in front of the Marshall Building
Photo by Michael McKisson Among the members of the 2022 graduating class — Top Row: Sebastian Janik, Bryan Savic, Asher Bookspan, Chris Pirolo, Sam Burdette, Capri Fain. Middle Row: Autumn Froitland, Diana Ramos, Julia Blumberg, Delaina Stenchever, Isabella Barron. Front Row: Wenei Philimon, Ari Koslow, Katya Mendoza, Madison Beal.

The University of Arizona School of Journalism celebrated its students and graduates at the 56th annual Just Desserts student awards celebration on May 5, 2022. Gloria Gomez, Diana Ramos, Ella McCarville, Julia Blumberg and Mandy Loader won top honors at the event, which was held in-person at the Arizona Historical Society. 

Gomez received the Philip Mangelsdorf Award for Outstanding Newsperson of the Year, which recognizes the top reporter/journalist in the program. Gomez, our Don Bolles Fellow covering the state Legislature, wrote more than 60 stories this semester while being mentored by the Arizona Mirror. She investigated Gov. Doug Ducey’s claim that facilities in some Arizona counties are charging victims to process their rape kits. Gomez found that almost every county disputed the report, and those advancing the claim refused to reveal where it’s happening. 

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From left, Gloria Gomez, Diana Ramos, Ella McCarville, Julia Blumberg, Mandy Loader

Ramos accepted the Sherman R. Miller 3rd Award for Outstanding Senior. Originally from Venezuela, Ramos is a member of UA's track and field team. Her work has appeared in the Arizona Daily Wildcat and The Arizona Daily Star as an apprentice. 

The Brewster P. Campbell Award for Outstanding Junior went to McCarville. She is an apprentice at The Arizona Daily Star and has also written for the Tucson Sentinel and Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Blumberg and Loader both took home the outstanding graduate student award. Blumberg, a dual major with Bilingual Journalism and Latin American studies, recently defended her project, “Ecologies of Care: How Cross Border Humanitarian Organizations Support Asylum Seekers.” She has also helped run the Donald W. Carson High School Journalism Diversity Workshop at the school. Loader wrote border-related stories for the Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Republic. She defended her project, "The Human Side of Migration Policy," in December.

About 100 people attended the event, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019.  Michael McKisson, the interim director of the School of Journalism, served as emcee.

Adjunct lecturer Shannon Conner took home the Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching Award. Students nominate the professor and an outside committee voted on the winner. Outreach coordinator Mike Chesnick  won the Carol and Cecil Schwalbe Staff Award for Outstanding Service.

Other awards given out were:

  • Alex Parker Awards for Reporting: Sam Burdette
  • Kathryn Anne Governal Perseverance Award: Chris Pirolo
  • Leadership and Service Awards: Ana Teresa Espinoza
  • William Hattich Awards for Journalism Professionalism: Giorgia Menetre, Samantha Larned, Isabella Maria Barron
  • Donald Still Award – Arizona Daily Wildcat: JT Thorpe
  • Diversity in Journalism Award: Wenei Philimon, Paula Diaz Soet
  • Excellence in Multimedia: Sebastian Janik
  • Abe Chanin Excellence in Sports Reporting Award: Delaina Stenchever
  • Excellence in Broadcast Journalism Award: Jordan Chin
  • Excellence in Science and Environmental Journalism: Madison Beal
  • Excellence in Research: Julia Blumberg
  • School Media Award: Aziz Esmael, Capri Fain
  • J.Y. Bryan Prize for Interpretive Photography: Marison Bilagody
  • Kappa Tau Alpha: Paige Balota Sam Burdette Capri Fain Ryan Potts
    • Certificates of Merit: Asher Bookspan, Allison Burgess, Taylor Curry, Jane Florance, Autumn Froitland, Sohi Kang, Vanessa Lucero, Jelena Lukic, Katya Mendoza, Theresa Palmquist, Ryan Potts, Jacob Mennuti, Vic Verbalaitis

    Those receiving previous awards the last two semesters were:

    • Mark Finley Gold Pen Award for best beginning newswriter: Fall 2021: First – Ana Teresa Espinoza.  Second — Vic Verbalaitis. Third —Sohi Kang.  Spring 2022: First – Erika Howlett. Second – Ainsley Thomas. Third – Paige Johnson.
    • Drew Gyorke Photojournalism Contest: Fall 2021: First – Allison Burgess. Second – Anna Maynard. Third – Gracie Lordi. Spring 2022: First – Teressa Enriquez.  Second – Payton Rutkowski. Third – Gracie Sleeman.

    Those receiving scholarships were:

    • Arizona Daily Star Scholarship: Catherine Hill
    • Edith Auslander Scholarship: Ella McCarville
    • John R. Barnett Scholarship: Capri Fain, Diana Ramos
    • John G. Carlton Memorial Scholarship: Ella McCarville
    • Concerned Media Professionals Scholarship: Emma Brocato, Dani Cazares, Catherine Hill, Isabela Gamez, Mar Ruiz Barraza
    • Peggy Daum Judge Scholarship: Megan Ewing
    • Cosulich Scholarship: Theresa Palmquist
    • Steve Emerine Scholarship: Tatyana Johnson
    • Richard Gilman Scholarship: Dani Cazares
    • Gordon D.C. “Darn Cat” Scholarship: Bryan Savic
    • Hank Hubbard Scholarship: Theresa Palmquist
    • Donovan M. Kramer Sr. Entrepreneurial Scholarship: Mar Ruiz Barraza, JT Thorpe
    • Sara and Harold Love Scholarship: Frida Gomez
    • Douglas D. Martin Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
    • William Milburn Memorial Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
    • Natas Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
    • John Ruby Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
    • Frank O. Sotomayor Scholarship: Vanessa Lucero
    • Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship: JT Thorpe
    • Stephanie C Samoy Scholarship: Isabela Gamez, Vanessa Lucero
    • Nancy and Bob Maynard Diversity Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
    • ODD Environmental and Multimedia Scholarship: Emma Brocato
    • Lois R. Nelson Award: Ella McCarville

    • See the awards program here

    • See the PowerPoint presentation here.

    • Watch the awards online here