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Awards and Achievements

CFAC Students and Faculty Bring Home Awards This Spring/Summer

Students and Faculty from the Department of Design, School of Communications, School of Music and Department of Dance Are Awarded Top Prizes From National Contests

Our students and faculty have been busy during the 2023 Spring and Summer terms. The College of Fine Arts and Communications would like to recognize some of their accomplishments between April and August.

Hooke was named the grand prize winner in Duke University's New Ideas competition, photo courtesy of the Ballard Center

School of Communications

Emily Hooke, communications student, won the grand prize at Duke University’s New Ideas competition. The competition invites undergraduates around the nation to submit ideas that “contribute to improving civil discourse and [reduce] polarization in society.” Hooke designed a social platform that connects nursing home residents with volunteers around the world. Her startup known as Insta-Gramp works to address loneliness among the elderly and create cross-generational connection through one-on-one remote conversations.

The School of Communications’ AdLab won the #2 ranking for One Club for Creativity’s Top 10 Ad + Design programs. The AdLab has a long history of high rankings at the One Club for Creativity, placing #1 in 2021, #2 in 2017-2020 and #3 in 2022. The #2 ranking this year comes exclusively from advertising entries and awards. Professor Jeff Sheets was interviewed by The One Club and said, “BYU is a unique educational environment, where you get the best of both worlds in terms of an advertising education and a top-tier liberal arts undergraduate education to inspire your mind with the works around you.”

Students from Professor Chris Cutri's Senior Capstone class won the Project Yellow Light Competition, a national competition that aims to bring awareness to the dangers of texting and driving. Zoë Taylor, Bethany Curtis and Rachel Ankeney were able to see their winning TV public service announcement, “Self-Care,” play in Times Square.

Advertising students Taylor Ballard, Tanner Jackson, Morgan Capener and John Starkweather had a winning entry in the Communication Arts (CommArts) 2023 competition which earned them a spot in the 2023 CommArts Advertising Annual Competition. Their winning entry was a part of the NBA All-Star Project for the Utah Jazz and was titled, “Champagne Stain: A Utah Jazz Short Film.” The film was featured on and can be viewed here. Several other BYU students also made the CommArts competition shortlist.

Students on set of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Verse 3"
Photo by Megan Brugger

Journalism and Sports Media students were nominated for the 2023 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter). “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Verse 3” (Derek VanBuskirk, videographer/editor; Liesel Allen, videographer/editor; Alyssa Regis, videographer/editor) was nominated for the College Non-Fiction Short Form category. “The Black 14: Healing Hearts and Feeding Souls” (Carly Wasserlein, videographer/producer; Abby Gunderson, videographer/producer/editor/writer; Elisabeth Ahlstrom, videographer/producer/editor/writer) was nominated for the College Non-Fiction Long-Form category. “Universe Live Sports” (Colton Potter, reporter; Tyler Gibb, reporter; Shyler Naegle Johnson, producer/talent) was nominated for the College Sports Program category. “From Tonga to the Teebox” (Joseph Hovey, producer; Jake Roper, editor; Anna Brower, videographer) was nominated for the Segment category. Winners will be announced on September 9, 2023 at the Student Production Awards Ceremony in Tempe, Arizona.

Katie Russell and Harrison Haycock, both advertising students, took part in a week-long experience in Washington DC. There they represented the School of Communications well by taking second place in the Washington Media Scholars Foundation competition. Their photos were printed in a full-page ad in the Washington Post on June 9, 2023.

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company
Photo by Zara Mina Brunson

Department of Dance

Every three years since 1971, BYU Ballroom Dance Company has competed in the world-renowned Blackpool Dance Festival (BDF), held in Blackpool, United Kingdom. In May 2023, the team returned to Blackpool to compete once again. They continued their long winning streak by bringing home first prize for British Ballroom Formation and British Latin Formation categories.

Department of Design

Multiple Department of Design faculty were honored in the recent Graphis annual competitions. Illustration faculty David Habben and graphic design faculty Linda Reynolds were featured in the Graphis Poster Awards 2024. Reynolds and Habben were each awarded a silver award for their poster entries. Reynolds also received an Honorable Mention for her “Smart Women Collect” poster. Graphic Design faculty Douglas Thomas was awarded two silver awards at the Graphis Design Annual 2024, one for his poster, “Glory to Ukraine,” and one for his album design, “Steven Ricks: Assemblage Collage.”

Two students from the photography program—who also work for BYU Photo—were awarded top prizes at the University Photographer’s Association of America (UPAA). Donovan Kelly received first place and Brooklynn Kelson received second and third place in the Student and Associate category of the Annual Photo Competition. Kelson was also named the UPAA Student Photographer of the Year, an award that recognizes the student that has the most awards for monthly competitions for the 2022-2023 school year.

Tanner Jorden at his piano
Photo by BYU Photo

School of Music

Tanner Jorden, a sophomore studying Piano Performance from Montana placed second in the MTNA Collegiate Young Artist Competition in Reno, Nevada. Jorden won the Northwest regional competition in January, then moved on to the national competition in March. He performed works by Prokofiev, Haydn, Ravel and Chopin. At 20 years old, Jorden is the youngest MTNA finalist ever sent from BYU. Thousands of participants compete in this piano competition – it’s one of the most competitive events in the country. All of the winners besides Jorden were pursuing doctoral degrees.