Ontiveros, Burdette, Migoya, Ramos win top 2021 student awards

May 14, 2021


Vanessa Ontiveros, Sam Burdette, Diana Ramos and Clara Migoya captured top honors May 13 at the University of Arizona School of Journalism’s 55th Just Desserts student awards celebration.

For the second year in a row, Ontiveros received the Philip Mangelsdorf Award for Outstanding Newsperson, which recognizes the top reporter/journalist in the program.

She was an apprentice reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, a production assistant at Arizona Public Media for The Buzz podcast and radio show and news editor at the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

Burdette captured the Sherman R. Miller 3rd Award for Outstanding Senior. The editor-in-chief for the Daily Wildcat, Burdette recently finished a hybrid honor’s thesis that asked journalists and scientists the question, “What gets in the way of your communication with journalists/scientists?”

Ramos received the Brewster P. Campbell Award for Outstanding Junior. An international student from Venezuela, Ramos is a student-athlete on the track and field team and writes for the Daily Wildcat.

Migoya was named the Outstanding Graduate Student. An international student from Mexico, she has a background in field science. Professor Ruxandra Guidi says Migoya “has gone above and beyond in her classes, challenging herself academically and emotionally to learn the ropes and ethics of journalism.”

School Director Carol Schwalbe emceed the event. For the second straight year, the event was held virtually via Zoom and Facebook Live. J-school alum Nicole Santa Cruz (‘09) gave the closing remarks.

“Journalism allows you to give a voice to people who are used to being silenced,” said Santa Cruz, who wrote about homicide for the L.A. Times before joining ProPublica in May.

“We need good journalists who can respond to change," said Santa Cruz, who worked for the Wildcat while a student. “We need people who are curious and we also need your creativity. There are so many ways to tell stories...There are opportunities if you’re willing to work hard. We need people who want to step outside their comfort zones.” 

Adjunct Professor Fred Brock won the Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching Award, in which students nominate professors and an outside committee votes on the winner.

The Carol and Cecil Schwalbe Staff Award for Outstanding Service went to Debbie Cross, the coordinator for the graduate program and the Center for Border & Global Journalism.

Before Santa Cruz’s remarks, the school honored retiring professors Susan Knight, Linda Lumsden, William Schmidt and Nancy Sharkey — and Professor Schwalbe, who is stepping down June 30 as director after three years.

Other awards given out were:

  • Abe Chanin Excellence in Sports Reporting Award: Sebastian Janik
  • Alex Parker Awards for Reporting: Sunday Holland, Quinn McVeigh, Alana Minkler
  • Diversity and Inclusion Award: Clara Migoya
  • Donald Still Award – Arizona Daily Wildcat: Sam Burdette
  • Excellence in Broadcast Journalism Award: Brody Dryden
  • Excellence in International Journalism: Peiyu Lin
  • Excellence in Multimedia: Alexandra Pere
  • Excellence in Research: Sofia Revilak
  • Excellence in Science and Environmental Journalism: Madison Beal
  • Innovation Award: Pascal Albright, Sam Burdette, Don E. Merson, Alexandra Pere
  • Jack Sheaffer Outstanding News Photography: Tommie Lorene
  • J.Y. Bryan Prize for Interpretive Photography: Lexi Horsey, Lauren Salgado
  • Kathryn Anne Governal Perseverance Award: Tommie Lorene
  • Leadership and Service Awards: Pascal Albright, Mandy Loader
  • School Media Award: Jesse Tellez
  • William Hattich Awards for Journalism Professionalism: Yasmin Acosta, Brody Dryden, Sebastian Janik, Mandy Loader, Jackson Peters  
  • Certificates of Merit: Fatemah al-Qattan, Paige Balota, Amanda Betz, Jamie Donnelly, Amaris Encinas, Emily Fuchs, Blake Gephart, Frida Gomez, Gabriela Harrod, Riley Holman, Sydney Jones, Kat Kennedy, Ella McCarville, Jacob Mennuti, Sofia Moraga, Harrison Moreno, Bellah Nelson, Theresa Palmquist, Ryan Potts, Rebecca Thompson, Lisa Urban, Elvia Verdugo, Conor Villines, Marquies White
  • Kappa Tau Alpha: Madison Beal, Julia Blumberg, Hannah Cree, Jamie Donnelly, Megan Ewing, Autumn Froitland, Emily Fuchs, Alyssa Grabinski,  Sunday Holland, Priya Jandu, Sebastian Janik, Bennito Kelty, Jelena Lukic, Quinn McVeigh, Giorgia Menetre, Bellah Nelson, Vanessa Ontiveros, Wenei Philimon, Diana Ramos, Katie West

Those receiving previous awards the last three semesters were:

  • Mark Finley Gold Pen Award for best beginning newswriter: Spring 2020: First – Capri Fain. Second — Grant Hoover. Third — Sara Davis. Hon. Mention — Gloria Gomez, Bryan Savic. Fall 2020: First – Jane Florance. Second — Jake Higginson. Third — Noah Cullen. Hon. Mention — Sebastian Leyva. Spring 2021: First – Katie Thuemling. Second — JT Thorpe. Third — Maggie Rockwell, Payton Toomey.
  • Drew Gyorke Photojournalism Contest: Fall 2020: First – Tanya Ence. Second — Jessica Hunter. Third — Caitlin Claypool. Spring 2021: First — Kate Ewing. Second — Sophia Heemsbergen. Third — Sohi Kang.

Those receiving scholarships were:

  • Arizona Daily Star Scholarship: Yasmin Acosta
  • John R. Barnett Scholarship: Yasmin Acosta, Jillian Bartsch, Madison Beal, Katya Mendoza
  • Minnette Doris Burges Scholarship: Mandy Loader
  • John G. Carlton Memorial Scholarship: Pascal Albright, Sammy Cibulka, JT Thorpe
  • Concerned Media Professionals Scholarship: Christian Alvarado, Noah Cullen, Katya Mendoza
  • Bernice Cosulich Scholarship: Karin Arlene Canedo Moreno, Julianna Strano, Payton Toomey
  • Gordon D.C. “Darn Cat” Scholarship: Brendan Jacques, Denise Meeks
  • Steve Emerine Scholarship: Mar Erisnelida Ruiz
  • Richard Gilman Scholarship: JT Thorpe
  • Hank Hubbard Scholarship: Madison Beal
  • Peggy Daum Judge Scholarship: Jillian Bartsch, Amaris Encinas
  • Ruth A. and Donovan M. Kramer Sr. Entrepreneurial Scholarship: Adrian Encinas, Kerigan Greeson, Sunday Holland
  • Sara and Harold Love Scholarship: Yasmin Acosta
  • Douglas D. Martin Scholarship: Julianna Strano
  • Bob & Nancy Maynard Scholarship: Devin Lagarde
  • William Milburn Memorial Scholarship: Madison Beal
  • ODD Environmental & Multimedia Scholarship: Jordan Chin
  • Sandra Ann Kelly Ramirez Memorial Scholarship: Kynzie Watahomigie
  • Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Scholarship: Bryan Savic, Devin Legarde
  • Jon Ruby Scholarship: Jordan Chin
  • Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship: Christian Alvarado
  • Frank O. Sotomayor Scholarship: Mar Erisnelida Ruiz
  • Jane Swicegood Student Exploration Grant: Alisa Ivanitskaya, Sofia Moraga Franco, Meredith O’Neil
  • Lois Whisler Scholarship: Pascal Albright, Amaris Encinas