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UD's Department of Communication recognized the achievements of five graduating seniors with the following awards: the Interpersonal Communication Faculty Award to Trinity Amankwa-Awuah (top row, left), the Department of Communication Faculty Award to Elyse DiPisa (top row, right), the Hal Kierce Award to Stella Galli (bottom row, left), the Adi Patel Award to Meghan Roessler (bottom row, center), and the Lambda Pi Eta Award to Gina Cosenza (bottom row, right).
The University of Delaware's Department of Communication wrapped up the spring 2023 semester by recognizing five hard-working seniors who majored in communication. With varied talents and passions, the graduates share common qualities of leadership and tenacity. They took some time to answer questions about their mentors, favorite classes, and advice for prospective communication students.
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Trinity Amankwa-Awuah, a communication and sociology double major, received the Interpersonal Communication Faculty Award for excellence in the study of interpersonal communication. Trinity is currently in training with the Federal Aviation Administration to become an air traffic control specialist. “I'm learning how to ensure the utmost safety for pilots and passengers alike in the sky, understanding the necessity of communication, teamwork, and quick-thinking skills to save lives every day," she said. At UD, she was a studio manager with Student Television Network. She was also active in the Delaware African Student Association and Wesley Foundation. In her role as a full-time resident assistant, she mentored freshmen and fostered a sense of community through social events and outreach.
Who was your mentor at UD? “There were many people I considered a mentor at UD but one I want to recognize is Steve Mortenson, associate professor of communication, because he has always rooted for my success and has given me helpful advice about my future multiple times. He has also helped point me in the right direction when I needed help as a freshman, such as by helping me to get a laptop when I didn't have one for class."
What was your favorite communication class? “One of my favorite communication classes was Principles of Communication Theory (COMM256) with Dr. Mortenson because it really cemented my love of learning about interpersonal communication and all associated aspects of it. Dr. Mortenson was an absolutely outstanding professor and really made the class engaging, so I really appreciate him for that. He also encouraged me to speak up when I was too shy to do so, so it helped me engage with the content and the other people in the class as well, making for a better experience. The class has remained a favorite all these years."
Do you have any advice for future communication majors? “Explore other aspects of communication. Don't stick to one concentration because you can still take other classes regardless. Be curious and ask questions without worrying what others think because ultimately, you're here for the experience and you don't want to miss out on anything because you were too scared to ask. The time will fly by and you may not have another chance."
Gina Cosenza graduated in fall 2022 with majors in communication and journalism. She is currently working as a digital assistant with 93.3 WMMR and 102.9 WMGK in Philadelphia. Gina received the Lambda Pi Eta Award for contributions to UD's chapter of the National Communication Association's official honor society. Gina is passionate about public speaking and is skilled in audio and video editing. She worked as a communications intern with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Political Communication.
Who was your mentor at UD? “I would like to recognize Lydia Timmins, associate professor of communication. Her help cannot be summed up in just a few words. She has not only been a mentor to me, but also a friend and confidante. She has given me such amazing advice and guided me through my last two years of college."
What was your favorite communication class? “Field Television News Production (COMM326) with Nancy Karibjanian. The practical experience I got in that class still helps me to this day. It was fun, allowed me to be creative, and taught me so much."
Do you have any advice for future communication majors? “Get as involved as possible. Join STN, get involved in the Center for Political Communication. Whatever it is, make sure you're doing more than just your classes. Not only does it help you make friends, it also gives you experiences you WILL use in the future."
Elyse DiPisa earned a degree in communication with a concentration in media communications and minors in journalism and sport management. She received the Department of Communication's Faculty Award in recognition of her plan to pursue graduate study and university teaching in the field of communication. “I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a concentration in media literacy and analytics at the University of South Florida starting this August," said DiPisa. “I will be working as a graduate teaching assistant and will assist in undergraduate media and production courses. In the future, I plan to work in social media and production for a sports or entertainment company. I would also like to become a teacher or professor after my professional career."
Who was your mentor at UD? “Lydia Timmins, associate professor of communication, served as an amazing mentor during my time at UD. She was helpful anytime I was in need of advice and I truly believe she played a huge role in helping me succeed during my undergraduate career."
What was your favorite communication class? “It is so hard to select my favorite communications course, but one that stands out was Advanced Topics in Media Communication (COMM418). The topic for my section was Sport Media and Communication, taught by James Bingaman. Aside from the course combining all my interests into one curriculum, Prof. Bingaman connected me to the graduate director at USF where I have decided to further my education."
Do you have any advice for future communication majors?. “It is never too soon to take on an opportunity. During my second year at UD, I worked as an intern for the first time, and from there, I was continually connected to more and more available jobs and internships within the field. Once you are confident in a passion or interest of yours, do not be afraid to put yourself out there and go for it!
The Department of Communication presented Stella Galli with the Hal Kierce Award, recognizing her as this year's top public relations student. Stella majored in communication with a concentration in public relations and minored in journalism and political communication. She accepted a role as account coordinator for HUNTER, an award-winning international communications firm, and now works for the firm's New York City office. Stella is the president of the UD chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She received national recognition from the PRSSA with the 2023 Lawrence G. Foster Award for Excellence in Public Relations.
Who was your mentor at UD? "Through PRSSA, I had the incredible opportunity to connect with Greg St. Claire, who became my mentor. Greg holds the position of managing director at Edelman, and I am immensely grateful for the guidance he provided me with throughout my college journey. From public relations industry insights to tips on navigating internship/job applications and interviews, his mentorship helped guide me through all of my PR related obstacles and questions! I am so thankful I was able to work with Greg and will continue beyond college as well."
What was your favorite communication class? “This is a hard question because I truly loved all of my COMM classes! However, I believe that the most valuable class I had at UD was taught by Professor Steve Momorella, in which we participated in PRSSA’s 2023 Bateman competition. This class was my favorite because I got to work with an incredible, hard-working team on something we all were passionate about: news literacy! After many late nights in the library and endless hours spent on Canva, our campaign, “Read Beyond the Headlines,” received an honorable mention. I am so proud to have been a part of this class and being in the first University of Delaware class ever to enter the competition. Professor Momorella was an amazing advisor to us, and our professional advisor, Grace Leong, gave us invaluable advice on how to navigate our campaign to success!"
Do you have any advice for future communication majors? "Of course I am going to say it: Join PRSSA! While classes are amazing, you need to get involved. Whether that be PRSSA, STN, UDress, or The Review, the work you do outside the classroom is what helps you get your foot in the door with the industry you want to work in. It also connects you with like-minded students that want to achieve the same goals. When you join an RSO of your interest, you are not only gaining experience, you are introduced to a network of professionals that want to help you.
Meghan Roessler received the Adi Patel Award, presented to a communication student who takes a leadership role in the news and STN or WVUD Radio. Meg's concentration of study was in media communications with minors in journalism and advertising. She served as operations manager of STN and executive producer of 49 News. She also worked as a reporting intern with Delaware Public Media and an oral communication consultant with the University Writing Center.
Who was your mentor at UD? “Someone I'd like to recognize as a huge help to me throughout my years at UD would be Tracey Holden, assistant professor of communication. She was my professor in the first communication class I ever took at UD and made me feel extremely welcome and excited to be a part of this major. She was the first person I went to with any problems and no matter what she would always listen to anything I had to say - I am so grateful for everything she helped me through and was always my go to person!"
What was your favorite communication class? “My favorite communication class was Field Television News Production (COMM326) with Nancy Karibjanian. It is a course that requires you to always be putting in 110% and was worth every ounce of effort I put into it. As someone who has always loved the news reporting world and worked on campus in news for 4 years, this course gave me hands-on experience as to what it is like to work as a news reporter. Nancy was always there to help and answer any questions and the experience I gained from COMM326 are skills I am so excited to take into the real world."
Do you have any advice for future communication majors? “Being newly graduated (which still doesn't feel real in some ways) one of my biggest pieces of advice for undergraduate students is to get as involved as you possibly can. There are opportunities everywhere on a college campus, you just have to make sure you are seeking them out. For Student Television specifically, you can come in with absolutely zero experience like I did and come out your senior year as executive producer of an entire show and have everything you know learned from your peers and what you taught yourself. It is also important to realize that with any activities, not just STN, you get out what you put into it. If you put your effort into and make time for an extracurricular, internship or any activity — you will get so many things out of it whether it be real life experience or just connections to others. So I think overall that is my biggest takeaway and what I want others to realize is that getting involved is incredibly important."
To learn more about pursuing a degree in communication as well as experiential learning opportunities at the University of Delaware, visit www.communication.udel.edu.
Images courtesy of Trinity Amankwa-Awuah, Gina Cosenza, Elyse DiPisa, and Stella Galli. Image of Meghan Roessler by Evan Krape.