SMAD honors 2024 graduates and scholarship winners

Media Arts and Design

SMAD, at its annual awards ceremony on April 29, doled out more than $40,000 in scholarships to incoming and returning students and honored top performers from the Class of ’24, which started at JMU amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SMAD Awards Ceremony honors students and their achievements from the previous academic year, including those who won recognition for national and international media creation, as well as scholarship winners and top graduating seniors.

“Our students and faculty are always working on powerful and compelling media projects, but everyone’s so busy,” said Joe Hinshaw, SMAD’s interim director. “We don’t often know what our colleagues and peers have achieved.”

In addition to the dozens of students who won honors, the ceremony included recognition for the “Outstanding Faculty Mentor” and two prominent personalities who will retire in the coming months: professor Rusty Greene, who has taught in the Digital Video and Cinema concentration since 1996, and John Hodges, SMAD’s longtime technology manager who also taught DVC courses.

Watch the full program here:

SMAD honors graduating seniors for their performance in the classroom with “Academic Excellence” awards and recognizes other talented media creators with “Outstanding Contributor” awards for each concentration. In addition, SMAD’s top student receives an overall award.

  • SMAD Top Student: Michael Russo, journalism concentration

  • Creative Advertising Academic Excellence: Nicole Hatcher
  • Creative Advertising Outstanding Contributor: Olivia Highton

  • DVC Academic Excellence: Jolie Smith
  • DVC Outstanding Contributor: Lexie Burns

  • Interactive Design Academic Excellence: Danielle Generous
  • Interactive Design Outstanding Contributor: Natali Anderson

  • Journalism Academic Excellence: Allison Kreisman
  • Journalism Outstanding Contributor: Kayla Brown
  • Journalism Outstanding Contributor: Samantha Game
  • Journalism Outstanding Contributor: Grant Johnson

SMAD also awarded scholarships funded by supporters and alumni. Two of those competitive scholarships go to incoming first-year students and, when combined with JMU Madison Excellence Awards, help cover most of the in-state tuition costs over four years.

 Here are the scholarship winners for 2024:

  • Sen. Harry F. Byrd, Jr.-D. Lathan Mims four-year scholarship to an incoming first-year journalism student: Kayla Katounas, Centreville High School
  • Byrd-Mims senior scholarship: Meirra McChristian (Creative Advertising)

  • Alison Bailey Parker (’12) Memorial Scholarship to an incoming first-year journalism student: Isabel Lewis, Grafton High School in Yorktown

  • Alison Bailey Parker (’12) senior scholarship: Sam Rhinard, DVC

  • Digital Video Group/Donnie Mongold Scholarship: Ryan Garner, DVC

  • John Woody One Day/One University Scholarship: Dani Ellsworth, DVC

  • Jim Acosta (’93) Scholarship for Excellence in Media: Alexa Bonilla, journalism

  • Lindsay A. Czarniak (’00) Scholarship for Excellence: Kaiden Bridges, journalism

  • Imre-Crusse Scholarship for Excellence for a creative advertising student: Sarah Handel

  • Imre-Crusse Scholarship for Excellence for an interactive design student: Mickia Farrar

  • Lawrence Cain Memorial Scholarship: Brooke Arthur, creative advertising

  • Sean T. Harrington (’96) Scholarship: Abby Allard, journalism

  • Blanche Garrett Memorial Endowment Scholarship (for a newly-admitted SMAD student): Charlie Bodenstein, journalism

  • Madison Screenwriting Scholarship: Edwin Domachowski, DVC, and Evita Lewis, DVC

  • Madison Cinema Studies Scholarship: Joy Mulzoff, creative advertising

  • Wendelken-DeLuca Scholarship for The Breeze’s editor-in-chief: Eleanor Shaw, journalism

  • Alan Neckowitz Study Abroad Scholarship: Ashtyn Conners, DVC

  • SMAD Alumni/Professional Advisory Council Scholarship: Alysun Saunders, interactive design


In addition, SMAD honored professor Adrienne Hooker with the “Outstanding Faculty Mentor” award, while professor Dietrich Maune received funding from the SMAD Alumni/Professional Advisory Council to help cover the cost of his research/creative work.

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Published: Sunday, May 5, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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