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All School Student Awards 2021

Marsha P. Johnson Award

Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who has shown leadership and/or advanced conversations around LGBTQ+ issues through their scholarly work, teaching, or research.

Matt Martin

The Marsha P. Johnson Award goes to Matthew Martin, a rising second-year student in the MFA in Acting program. “He actively fosters and promotes communication, collaboration, and community among his peers and is a go-to person for accurate and efficient information dissemination,” said one professor. He is a member of the Northwestern University MFA Council and his LQBTQ+ advocacy work, including Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and the Transgender Law Center. Matthew is talented, hard-working, and stands out as a leader among his peers.

Burton and Karol Lefkowitz Prize

Awarded to an undergraduate student who has demonstrated leadership capabilities through civic engagement, community service, or other projects designed to improve society or advance social change. One recipient chosen from each of the School’s three divisions: Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies; Communication Studies and RTVF; and Communication Sciences & Disorders.

(Division I)

Amelia Prochaska

The Burton and Karol Lefkowitz Prize (I) goes to Amelia Prochaska, a senior theatre major and advocate who is an enthusiastic champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and served as the executive director of SHAPE (Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators). With her strong sense of social justice, Amelia was a leader in efforts to decolonize the curriculum through painstaking research and resourcefulness. Also a talented performer, Amelia’s influence led one professor to call her “a true leader (who) plans to keep the fight up after she graduates. She’s also a deeply good human who cares.”

(Division II)

Alicia Ross

The Burton and Karol Lefkowitz Prize (II) goes to Alicia Ross, a junior communication studies major. Alicia was the recipient of the 2020 Department Excellence Award, served as a peer mentor for the Undergraduate Research Grant office, and was a Digital Media Strategist in Academic Year 2020. Additionally, she was an ambassador for The Table, a student-run food delivery organization; president of the Christian Science Organization; a senior resident assistant; and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, the Communication Studies Inclusion Task Force, and the Communication Studies Undergraduate Advisory Council. One professor called her “indispensable” in her department work and always eager and ready to help out in whatever role she fills.

(Division III)

Shreya Sriram

The Burton and Karol Lefkowitz Prize (III) goes to Shreya Sriram, a junior in the human communication sciences major. She is the president of Northwestern’s National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) Undergraduate Chapter, which was officially recognized as a student organization in the spring of 2020 thanks in large part to her work. Shreya single-handedly reached out to all undergraduate students interested in creating this chapter and formed an executive board to formally lead it. Through her leadership and cooperation with the department and the community, the NSSLHA group at Northwestern has raised substantial funds for organizations that serve diverse populations affected by communication disorders. Shreya’s persistence and dedication to not only create the organization but to ensure that it supports diversity and inclusion facilitates growth and philanthropic opportunities for its members.

Madeleine Robinson Memorial Award

Presented to a student who is active in community service; established in 1975 by the husband of Madeleine Robinson, a 1959 graduate who died at an early age and was beloved for her community activities in the Aurora, Illinois, area

Brett Mayfield

The winner of the Madeleine Robinson Memorial Award goes to Brett Mayfield. A Communication studies major in the class of 2022, Brett is a first-generation college student, a QuestBridge Scholars Network co-president, Communication Studies Undergraduate Advisory Council volunteer, research assistant for the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact lab, Cradles to Crayons partner relations intern, an Evanston Community Foundation project consultant, and a residential assistant on campus. “I’m so proud of all that he is doing now,” said a professor. “As a student navigating a very different world than he grew up in, he has excelled beyond his peers. I know that he will continue to do wonderful things in the future.”

Lucia Wiant Award

Awarded to a student who has shown outstanding academic or artistic growth in the communication arts and sciences

Samara Malik

The Lucia May Wiant Award goes to Samara Malik, a junior theatre major. A director and performer with dexterity across performance styles, budgets, and venue limitations, Samara has proven to be a hard-working leader and talented artist who brings richness and excitement to her work with peers. “Samara Malik stands out to me as someone who is asking important questions and is thoughtfully seeking answers,” said one professor. Another said, “Samara is a tenacious and outspoken; she contributes a valuable perspective to class discussions.”

Zeta Phi Eta Award

Awarded to a continuing graduate student, or to an outstanding junior or senior who will remain at Northwestern to pursue a master’s degree, who has demonstrated excellence in communication arts or sciences as well as strong scholarship, exemplary character, talent, and leadership ability exemplifying the organization’s motto, “Achieve! With Wisdom, Integrity, and Love”; presented by Zeta Phi Eta, a national professional fraternity in communication arts and sciences and the oldest national group of its kind, founded at Northwestern University in 1893

Shelby Schultz

The Zeta Phi Eta Award goes to Shelby Shultz. Shelby is a junior radio/television/film major with a double major in Asian American studies and a minor in creative writing. She is president of the Undergraduate RTVF Student Association (URSA) and the Northwestern University Women Filmmakers Alliance (NUWFA) and is additionally a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. As NUWFA president, she established new programming to foster career advising, pitch script ideas, and make connections with alumni. In her work with URSA, Shelby championed safe filmmaking during the pandemic through the creation of PPE grants and faculty panels. “Shelby has worked to reorient URSA so that it enfolds students from all the various student groups,” said one professor. “Her aim has been to make URSA truly representative of the undergraduate student body.”

Robert M. Cumnock Scholarship

Awarded to an outstanding first-year student; honors Robert M. Cumnock—a performer and teacher who believed oratory was an art, not a science—who in 1878 founded Northwestern’s School of Oratory, now the School of Communication, and was responsible for the construction of Annie May Swift Hall

Nozizwe Msipa

The Robert M. Cumnock Scholarship goes to Nozizwe Msipa, a first-year communication studies major. Nozizwe is a contributor to North by Northwestern and, prior to coming to Northwestern, served as a teaching assistant with neurodiverse high school students in Zimbabwe where she organized a “climate kids” group that featured action days and a plastic bottle ban. “She was consistently proactive, thoughtful, supportive, and generally a model of engaged academic discussion,” said one professor. “She also was a source of energy, social facilitation, and good humor, but never at the cost of being averse to take risks when working with ideas or reflecting on personal experience.”

Ralph B. Dennis Scholarship

Presented to an exceptional sophomore; honors Ralph Dennis, dean of the school from 1913 until his retirement in 1942,who oversaw a period of exponential growth and whose vitality and personal style in interacting with students made the school unique

Kaniya Hester

The Ralph B. Dennis Scholarship goes to Kaniya Hester, a sophomore in the human communication sciences major. Kaniya has demonstrated outstanding research and academic skills as well as a commitment to equity and inclusion in the communication sciences and disorders department. As a recipient of the Early Research Experience Award in the Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Research Group, Kaniya demonstrated responsibility, diligence, hard work, and ability to give feedback on the lab’s projects. As a result, she soon advanced to co-authoring conference submissions, including serving as a first author on a poster. Her professors noted that she is an excellent writer and thinker, and that her consistently thoughtful, astute contributions move the class forward. Professor Viorica Marian was so impressed that she invited Kaniya to give a guest lecture in her graduate course, the first undergraduate to do so in Marian’s 20 years of teaching at Northwestern.

James H. McBurney Scholarship

Awarded to an outstanding junior; honors James McBurney, dean of the school from 1942 to 1972, under whose leadership it achieved widespread recognition, while the school structure reinforced cohesion among its disciplines

Arshad Baruti

The James H. McBurney Scholarship goes to Arshad Baruti, a junior majoring in radio/television/film. Arshad is a QuestBridge Scholar and Gates Scholarship recipient; a two-time Summer Internship Grant recipient; a Media Arts Grant recipient; an Undergraduate Research Assistant to Professor Kyle Henry; and a director, writer, and performer in both the Out Da Box and Mee-Ow Show comedy groups. Arshad received glowing recommendations from multiple professors; one wrote that Arshad’s “positive energy was infectious, he always contributed meaningfully to discussions, and he conducted an excellent in-depth interview with the Director of Programming at New Fest, New York’s LGBTQ film festival…Arshad’s creativity, critical insights, and ease at working collaboratively with a team of students made him a wonderful collaborator and outstanding student in the class.”

Roy V. Wood Scholarship

Awarded to an outstanding senior; honors Roy Wood, dean of the school from 1972 to 1987, whose door was always open to students and whose tenure saw marked growth in the size of the school, major gains in physical facilities, and advancement in the quality of teaching, research, and creative activity

Valen-Marie Santos

The Roy V. Wood Scholarship goes to Valen-Marie Santos, a senior theatre major. Valen-Marie is a playwright, actor, director, and leader among her peers. She is involved with MulTEA, a multicultural open-mic night, and curated last winter (des) Coloridos, an evening of artistic activism celebrating Latinx history, poetry, art making, and theatre for Radius Theatre, a group she founded for BIPOC students. Additionally, she has been a peer advisor since 2018 with the New Student and Family Programs office at Northwestern and an SoC member of the Board of Directors for Wildcat Welcome 2020. One professor recalls: “During these challenging and isolating times, particularly for theatre artists, Valen-Marie found ways to connect, add energy, and help to create a community of artists. She was also able to seamlessly adjust her work to both a graduate director and a graduate actor, allowing for a very special grad/undergrad collaboration.”