The department recognized the top public relations student, the top media strategies student and the top faculty member for 2014-15.
Trent Seltzer, the chairman of the department, said the department created the Student of the Year award to recognize students who go above and beyond and are working to better the department, the community and the profession.
“In the interest of trying to celebrate students who do good work, we wanted to make them more visible and award them for a job well done,” Seltzer said. “We have some really fantastic students in the program, and I don't think they get recognized enough.”
Lauren West, a senior public relations major from Coppell and the account manager for RaiderComm, the college's student-run public relations firm, was named Public Relations Student of the Year. She said she was honored to win the award, and it meant a lot to be recognized for doing something she was passionate about.
“Winning this award means everything to me,” West said. “Since I am graduating, it is nice to see the progress I have made and things I have learned building up to this. I have had an amazing undergraduate experience, and it is extremely cool to be going out on such a high note.”
The Media Strategies Student of the Year award was given to Wesley Metter, a senior media strategies major from Plano and the vice president of the Media Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group.
“I was so excited to win the award because it showed me the faculty thought my resume was worthy and what I had to say in the interview was worthy,” Metter said. “It really meant a lot to me. It was such a great honor to end my senior year with this.”
Andy King, an associate professor in the department, served as the chairman for the awards committee. He said students submitted applications, which were reviewed by the committee, and three finalists were selected. Finalists were then interviewed to determine the winner.
“We were looking for overall excellence and a balance of academic and personal achievements,” King said, “which included involvement with things such as student organizations within the college, internships or other jobs and opportunities.”
Autumn Shafer, an assistant professor and the faculty adviser for the student organization “Define Your Line,” was named Public Relations Faculty Member of the Year.
Seltzer said in addition to recognizing the students, he also wanted to recognize the faculty's achievements. Faculty members in the department were asked to submit applications highlighting their strengths in the areas of teaching, service and research. A committee of faculty members from CoMC reviewed the applications, and one winner was chosen.
“It is humbling and feels quite special to be recognized in this way by other faculty who I respect,” Shafer said. “I have put a great deal of effort into creating the most useful classes for my students, doing research that matters, collaborating with other faculty and also volunteering for service within the department. It is nice to be acknowledged, although all of the other faculty members are amazing. I just try to keep up with them.”