2020 Media Studies Graduate Awards

Media Studies Graduate Students & Faculty

Zoom images of students and faculty at media studies grad awards

The historic 2020 Spring Semester, known to some as the "Spring Sequester" due to the Covid-19 quarantine measures, is drawing to a close. This is the time when we typically celebrate the amazing work that our students have developed over the course of the semester and the academic year. While this year we're navigating these rites of passages quite differently (such as Moody College's and UT's virtual commencement ceremonies), nothing has changed about the caliber of our students, their research, and their output: they've been shining brighter than ever, despite these challenging circumstances.

On May 12, the graduate media studies MA and PhD programs held a planned awards ceremony to honor outstanding students, but rather than in person, the event took place over Zoom. Here are some of their accomplishments.

Award Categories

  • Outstanding Assistant Instructor: 
    • Kathy Cacace
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant:
    • RTF 307 Media & Society Teaching Team: Lily Kunda, Stephany Noh, Melissa Santillana, and Daelena Tinnin
  • Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant:
    • Nathan Rossi and Melissa Santillana 
  • Outstanding Service to the Department:
    • Kate Cronin and Maggie Steinhauer
  • Outstanding Service to the Field:
    • Selena Dickey
  • Outstanding MA Thesis:
    • Paxton Haven (1st Place)
    • Mengmeng Liu (Honorable Mention)
  • Outstanding MA Report
    • Kira Deshler
  • Outstanding Dissertation
    • Jinsook Kim (1st Place)
    • Nick Bestor (Honorable Mention)


Accomplishments of Note

Briana Barner

  • Graduate School Continuing Fellowship, UT-Austin, 2020-2021

Laura Brown

  • Honorable Mention, Best Graduate Student Paper, SCMS Television Studies Special Interest Group, for "A Comedy of Errors: NBC's Sitcom Failings of the 1970s"

Selena Dickey

  • Roderick P. Hart Student Achievement Award, Moody College of Communication, 2019-2020
  • Jesse Jones Fellowship, Moody College of Communication, 2020-2021

Rusty Hatchell

  • Publication, “Fargo North: Calgary’s Turn Toward Postnational Regionality in FX’s Fargo,” Middle West Review 5, no. 2 (2019): 115-26.

Jinsook Kim

  • First Place, Student Writing Award, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, for "Sticky Feminist Activism: The Gangnam Station Murder Case and Sticky Note Activism Against Misogyny and Femicide."

Katrina Margolis

  • Honorable Mention, Best Graduate Student Paper, SCMS Media Industry Studies Special Interest Group, for "Watch Me Run with My Legs Cut Off: Authorship and Power Through the Production Culture of Sweet Smell of Success.

Brett Siegel

  • Publication, “Concussions and Capital: Tom Brady, CTE, and the NFL’s Crisis of Identity.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 2019. 
  • Publication, “‘True Champions and Incredible Patriots’: The Transformation of the Ceremonial White House Visit under President Trump.” Journal of Emerging Sport Studies, 2019, Volume II.

Daelena Tinnin

  • First Place, Best Graduate Student Paper, SCMS Black Caucus, for "Black Feminist Futures: Technologies of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer."

Lesley Willard

  • Graduate School Continuing Fellowship, UT-Austin, 2019-2020


Elana Wakeman
Sr. Programs & Communications Coordinator