Fall 2017 Newsletter

Southern Illinois University



MCMA exterior image


Here are some past and upcoming events in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.


  • The Big Muddy Film Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary Feb. 19-25, 2018. Started in 1979, the seven-day event remains one of the oldest film festivals affiliated with a university in the nation.
  • Jennida Chase, assistant professor, cinema and photography, and Hassan Pitts, MCMA technology coordinator, recently received a Puffin Grant to edit their multimedia project on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Richmond, Va.
  • Twelve faculty members presented their current research and creative work to new and continuing graduates students during at a Graduate-Faculty Symposium on Sept. 8. The symposium gives students deeper insight into the intellectual and artistic work the faculty creates.
  • The college held its annual Involvement Fair on Aug. 25, giving new students a chance to meet current members of student organizations and sign up to work with myriad communication outlets MCMA offers, including “The Big Muddy Film Crew,” “alt.news 26:46,” “Movie Camera Movement,” “National Association of Black Journalists,” “The Daily Egyptian,” “River Region Evening Edition” and WSIU.
  • Faculty presented several “brown bag” presentations and “Film Friday” screenings during the semester.
  • Visiting artists included photographer Preston Rescigno and Michael Cioni, senior vice president of innovation for Panavision, a 2001 alumnus of the Radio, Television, and Digital Media program.
  • Film producer Tom Desch, a 2002 cinematography and film/video production alumnus, showed his documentary on the Frank Lloyd Wright House, “An American Home,” Sept. 20 at the Lake Theater in Oak Park.


Students also attained several accomplishments this past spring and summer. Some of the highlights were:

  • The Daily Egyptian won an Associated Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker Award on Oct. 28. The award recognizes the “best of the best” of college newspapers, according to the ACP’s website, and the Pacemaker is often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism. Individual past and present staff members honored were:
    • Abby Wilhelm, a member of the advertising production staff, who received an honorable mention for an advertising campaign.
    • Brian Munoz, the photography and multimedia editor, who earned an honorable mention for a spot news photograph in SIU Edwardsville’s student newspaper, “The Alestle.”
    • Ryan Michalesko, a former staff photographer, who won third place for an environmental portrait and an honorable mention for spot news photography.
    • Jacob Wiegand, a previous managing editor and photography and multimedia editor, who received an honorable mention in the sports photograph category.
  • Morgan Timms, a May 2017 graduate from the School of Journalism, returned to her native Australia for several weeks after graduation to complete work on her 2017 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting International Reporting Fellowship. She spent time documenting the role of cultural identity in the health and well-being of Aboriginal youth.
  • “Predator”, a short film by Kelechi Agwuncha, a junior in cinema and photography, was picked as a finalist in the Toronto International Film Festival’s TIFFXInstagram Short Film Festival.
  • Anna Spoerre, a senior in journalism, was the college’s nominee for Lincoln Laureate. Spoerre, who has served in a variety of capacities at the Daily Egyptian since 2015, including editor-in-chief and campus editor, spent the summer as a local news intern at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She earned a 2015-16 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting student fellowship and was a reporting intern at the Peoria Journal-Star in summer 2016.
  • Amanda Neuhouser, a May 2017 graduate, produced a short animation about the solar eclipse that was featured on university and college web pages.
  • Lauren Stoelzle, our Master of Fine Arts student, is a 2017-2018 Celia Howard Fellow with the university’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Fellows assist in planning the institute’s many civic education and community outreach programs.