2019 University Excellence in Communications Awards

The inaugural University Excellence in Communications Awards was an afternoon of recognition, camaraderie, and gratitude for our university storytellers. Expert communicators from across the Forty Acres gathered on October 15 in the Mulva Auditorium at the Engineering Education and Research Center to celebrate the stand out work produced by their peers this year. Congratulations again to our 2019 winners!

Winners are shown in bold.

Wood UT Tower Award from University Excellence in Communications Award Ceremony

Writing Finalists

For exceptional long-form and/or short-form writing published online or in print, single articles or multiple stories

Adrienne Dawson
Office of the Vice President for Research

"Not How I Learned It: Rediscovering and Redefining Slave Values in America"

Adrienne Dawson's feature story "Not How I Learned It: Rediscovering and Redefining Slave Values in America", showcased the winner of the Hamilton Book Awards — History Professor Daina Berry. Adrienne approached this story as any good journalist would. She carefully read the book, interviewed the author multiple times, checked her facts, and crafted a compelling narrative. One judge described it as “a fantastic piece.” Congratulations Adrienne!

Avrel Seale
University Communications
"Town and Country"

Marc Airhart
College of Natural Sciences
"Point of Discovery", "Texas Scientist", and practical tips for undergraduate students

Community Outreach Finalists

For exceptional outreach efforts to external communities and community partners in the state of Texas

Jameson Cardenas 
Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health
Steve Hicks School of Social Work

Why does mental health matter to you?

Jameson Cardenas led a collaboration to host a statewide creative works contest and website with the theme "Why does mental health matter to you?" The contest resulted in over 750 entries from school-age children and adults. The winning entries were highlighted on a gallery website that Jameson designed, which judges described as being “visually stunning while helping to shatter the stigma of mental health issues through awe-inspiring art.” Congratulations Jameson!

DDCE Communications Office
Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
Precursors Retrospection Panel

Gayle Hight
McCombs School of Business
Business Outlook Events

Media Relations Finalists

For exceptional work with external media

Catenya McHenry
McCombs School of Business
Media pitches and placement for: "Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation"

The New York Times, Time, PopSugar, YouTube

When Marketing professor Amit Kumar published research about the positive impact of sending thank you notes, Catenya McHenry launched a full communications package. It included a press release, a Medium story and several videos. The research yielded more than $3 million dollars in earned media and was featured in the New York Times, Time magazine, Forbes, and PopSugar. One judge called it "A perfectly executed campaign. Catenya got this research to stand out in a sea of social science research with hits in a variety of publications from pop … to national … to business." Congratulations Catenya!

Mark Airhart
College of Natural Sciences
Media pitches and placement for: "Evolution Used Same Genetic Formula to Turn Animals Monogamous", "Common Weed Killer Linked to Bee Deaths", and more

Shahreen Abedin  
Dell Medical School
Placement of owned and earned local and national media stories highlighting Dell Med's innovation and community engagement

Websites and Applications Finalists

For exceptional work on digital platforms such as websites, web and mobile applications, augmented reality, and/or virtual reality applications

Cockrell School Communications and Marketing Office
Cockrell School of Engineering

Redesign of Cockrell School website

Over more than two years, the Cockrell communications team executed a complete overhaul of the school website and planned the redesigns of the seven engineering academic departments. This project included an update of faculty profiles, new photography, new videos, along with the development of three new websites. Congratulations to the Cockrell team!

Jameson Cardenas
Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health
Steve Hicks School of Social Sork
The Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health’s Art Contest Website

Hannah Jane Collins, with Kimberly Berger, Albert Degollado and Hoyt Haffelder
Dell Medical School
Growth Year Storytelling Project

Cross-University Collaboration Finalists

For exceptional work by multiple teams and individuals, collaborating across campus

First-Generation College Celebration Day Campaign

Beth Waldman and Allie Nambo
Enrollment Management Communications

In collaboration with:

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement 
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
Vice President for Student Affairs
Various Colleges & Schools

Last November, UT joined colleges across the country in marking First-Generation College Celebration Day by hosting our inaugural on-campus event and promoting the occasion on social media. This campaign was a cross-university collaboration led by Enrollment Management and New Student Services with support from DDCE and various colleges and schools. The communications campaign was led by Beth and Allie in Enrollment Management. Judges wrote that this package was “buoyant and energetic, with its enthusiasm penetrating the entire effort — videos, social media, and collateral materials. It was full of individual stories that personified the 'student potential' and 'vibrant Texas' brand pillars.” Congratulations Allie and Beth!

UTNY Launch

Kathleen Mabley, Natalie England, Lizzie Chen
Moody College of Communication

Alicia Dietrich 
College of Fine Arts

Donica Williams
McCombs School of Business 

Tillie Policastro, Gerald Johnson, Emily Cohen, and Michael Gammon
Texas Student Media

Sexual assault resource guide & re-branding of the Safer by the Slice program 

Christian Cabazos and Cynthia Lew
Housing and Dining

Noelle Newton
University of Texas Police Department

Small But Mighty Finalists

For exceptional work by teams of three or fewer people in an office, school or unit that have a big impact

Kristin Phillips
Office of Sustainability
Sustainability Storytelling

"Waller Creek Finds a Place in the Sun", "Energy Stars Cut 20% from Campus Energy Use", "Case Study: Using Plants to Stabilize UT's Hills", "Going Organic: Making UT the Greenest Landscape in Austin", "How to Have Zero Waste Events for 100,000", "A Green Vision that Paid Off: The Story of the UT Green Fund", "Bleed Orange, Live Green Campus Tour", Instagram, Twitter

Kristin is a one-person communications team for the Office of Sustainability. She writes sustainability pieces that cut across disciplines and silos. Her pieces celebrate the hard work of UT staff, students, and faculty. And she increased Twitter impressions from 3000 a month in 2016-17 to an average of 51,000 impressions per month. Judges said “Kristin does a terrific job of showing how policy can translate into meaningful change within the campus environment … and is very effective in making sustainability relevant to the welfare of the people, flora, and fauna on the Forty Acres.” Congratulations Kristin!

Kathryn Wiley and Janet Ehle
School of Nursing
“Longhorn Nursing”

Brooke Bulow and Jess Cybulski
Division of Student Affairs
Student Affairs Integrated Communication and Marketing Strategies
2017-2018 Impact Report, Photo Archive, Website, Strategic Direction, UT Campus Life Update, Alum Spotlight for Gallup SurveyLiving the Longhorn Life Campaign Assets

Social Media Finalists

For offices, schools, or units with the best social media strategy demonstrated by a campaign or overall presence

Angel Horne and Communications Department
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn 

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s social media followers are truly engaged. The Center holds their attention and enriches its feeds with interpretations of native plants and the natural world while also making sure followers are informed about experiences at the Center and understand how to support it. One judge commented, "How can you not fall in love with the pictures of wildflowers and other plants and insects that create an ecosystem." Congratulations to the Wildflower Center!

Laura E. Stevens
Utilities and Energy Management
Twitter Account Re-branding, Campaigns, and Strategies
LinkedIn Page Setup and Engagement

Ryan Goeller, Sara Lentz, Kat Lyon,  
Marsha Miller, Jennifer Singer and Adoria Sommer
University Communications
Everett Stone ‘The Tool Maker’ Instagram Story

Visual Design Finalists

For exceptional work by designers, online or in print

David Steadman
College of Natural Sciences

World Changers Campaign

The College of Natural Sciences’ “World Changers” campaign features a series of visuals with accompanying text that highlight the contributions of those underrepresented in the sciences. It includes a website, posters, social media content, downloadable desktop backgrounds, digital signs and more, incorporating text, portraits and scientific imagery to powerfully tell amazing stories as well as outline the college's values. One of the judges described it as, "Beautiful storytelling with elegantly simple design. Sharply focused on a clear objective." Congratulations David!

Ryan Goeller, Sara Lentz, Kat Lyon, Marsha Miller, Kevin Rathge and Jennifer Singer
University Communications
Senior Stories

Joanna Wojtkowiak
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Wildflower Center Branding
Examples of WorkWildflower Magazine 2018 | Volume 35, No. 2Wildflower Magazine 2019 | Volume 36, No. 12019 Spring/Summer Guide 

Publications Finalists

For exceptional publications produced online or in print

David Ochsner, Michelle Bryant, Allen Quigley, Adam Deutsch, Rachel Griess, Emily Nielsen, and Alexandra Reshanov
College of Liberal arts, Office of Public Affairs
“Life & Letters”

Life & Letters, Summer 2018Life & Letters, Spring 2019 

Editors describe the College of Liberal Arts’ Life & Letters as a 17-year journey of building resources, support, and trust. They aim to fulfill readers' needs by providing compelling storytelling, research and expertise. They support readers' continued need for knowledge, and make them feel engaged and invested in the life, work and aspirations of the college and university. Congratulations to the Life & Letters team!

Molly Dannenmaier
McCombs School of Business
“McComb’s Dean Report”

Marc Airhart, David Steadman, Vivian Abagiu, Esther Robards-Forbes and Christine Sinatra
College of Natural Sciences
“The Texas Scientist”

Marketing and Development Campaigns Finalists

For exceptional campaigns including digital and/or print campaigns

Nick Hundley, Danielle Thoma, and John Dalton
Graduate School

Choose Texas Digital Marketing Campaign

Last year, the Graduate School organized the "Choose Texas" campaign to address declining international applications. The school sent a series of emails to prospective students featuring a video that highlighted current international students. The School also conducted a social media campaign, with Facebook ads reaching 4.5 million people and generating 700,000 video views. UT saw an 8.3 percent increase in international grad school applications following the campaign. Judges wrote, "This campaign knows and understands its audience." "Emails were on message. Videos were upbeat, on brand and informative." Congratulations to the “Choose Texas” team!

Texas Development Marketing & Communications Team
University Development
40 for Forty Campaign
40 for Forty Report, Samples of Digital and Print

Enrollment Management Communications
Enrollment Management
Longhorn Friday Campaign

Photography Finalists

For exceptional work by photographers

Marsha Miller
University Communications

University Photography

From student portraits for the commencement site to a sensitive portrait of a staff member, Mike Shaw, for the cover of Texas Connect magazine, Marsha Miller brings excellence to every assignment. The Mike Shaw cover was a difficult shoot, yet Marsha found a way to bring out the sensitivity and kindness that Mike shares on campus in an intimate portrait setting. Judges commented that every picture Marsha takes makes you want to read the story that goes with it. Congratulations Marsha!

Phil Swann
Charles A. Dana Center
Dana Center’s Literacy First reading tutors

Alyssa Martin
UT Health Austin Marketing
UT Health Austin Photography

Video Finalists

For exceptional work by videographers

Thomas Swafford and Avrel Seale
University Communications

Bill Powers Memorial Video

After former UT President Bill Powers passed away last spring, Avrel Seale, who had been his speechwriter, and Thomas Swafford sifted through hours of archival speeches and selected clips that captured the essence of Powers' leadership. Swafford combined the clips with campus B-roll and music to create a powerful emotional moment in the life of the university. The judges were resounding in their praise, calling it "amazing" and "a labor of love." Congratulations Avrel and Thomas!

Rachel Griess
College of Liberal Arts
Fight Like a Girl

Alyssa Martin
UT Health Austin Marketing
Hook ’em and Logo