Communication Studies Office Wins “Real Panthers Decorate Blue” Contest

November 2, 2015

To commemorate the 100th EIU Homecoming, the university held its annual Real Panthers Decorate Blue contest and the communication studies office won first prize in the small office category.

The contest’s theme “100 Never Looked So Good” encouraged offices, dormitories, and local Charleston businesses to demonstrate pride in EIU via decoration. Office Manager Kim Turner and Instructor A.J. Walsh conceptualized and executed the motif for the communication studies office. Their theme sought to encapsulate the history of EIU.

Turner said, “The homecoming theme is 100 Years of Homecoming, so we incorporated some historical elements such as a timeline with photos from past homecoming events, then/now photos, and former panther and homecoming logos.”

The office of the Department of Communication Studies celebrates the 100th EIU Homecoming.

The office of the Department of Communication Studies celebrates the 100th EIU Homecoming.

The communication studies office had entered the contest in the previous three years and its first win. The office won a certificate, a plaque, and a pizza party.

EIU Speech Team Has Success on 74 Swing

October 19, 2015

The Eastern Illinois University Panthers were successful in a variety of events on the two day 74 Swing through Illinois State University and Bradley University on the first weekend of October 2015.

Speech Panthers at Illinois State University on October 3.

Speech Panthers win awards at Illinois State University on October 3, 2015.

On October 3, the Speech Panthers traveled to Illinois State University in Normal, IL. At the tournament, Senior Marques Brown, a communication studies major from Normal, IL, was the tournament champion in Varsity Program Oral Interpretation. Brown also placed fourth in Individual Sweepstakes and sixth in Varsity Dramatic Interpretation.

Several team members had strong showings at the event. Junior Amanda Lewis, a communication studies major from Woodstock, IL placed 5th in Varsity Program Oral Interpretation. Freshman Sam Gilbert, a political science major from Sandwich, IL placed 6th in Novice Prose Interpretation. Freshman Cheyenne Flores, a sociology major from Sandwich, IL was the tournament’s top novice in Dramatic Interpretation.

The 74 Swing continued on Sunday as with the team competing at Bradley University in Peoria, IL for the Dan Smith Invitational Tournament. The team placed third in Team Sweepstakes, winning a beautiful potted pink mum.

Speech Panthers at Bradley University on October 4.

Speech Panthers win team and individual awards at Bradley University on October 4, 2015.

Individually, the team members were also successful. Austin Mejdrich was the tournament champion in Varsity Informative Speaking. Marques Brown placed second in Varsity Program Oral Interpretation and fifth in Individual Sweepstakes. Amanda Lewis placed fourth in Varsity Program Oral Interpretation. Cheyenne Flores placed fourth in Novice Dramatic Interpretation. Sam Gilbert placed fourth in Novice Prose Interpretation, third in Novice Dramatic Interpretation, and third in Novice Impromptu Speaking.

Forensics Team President Wins Major Award from Illinois Communication and Theatre Association

September 30, 2015

Communication studies major and EIU Forensics Team president Marques Brown won the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association’s L.E. Norton Outstanding Higher Education Speech Student Award.

Forensics Team president Marcus Brown and director of forensics Sara Gonstral

Forensics Team President Marques Brown and EIU Director of Forensics Sara Gonstral

The award recognizes a student, who majors in speech communication or theatre in any Illinois college or university, who demonstrates outstanding leadership and significant service for his/her department, university, and community in general.

Brown is a senior in the Department of Communication Studies with a dual emphasis in corporate communication and interpersonal communication. In addition to his scholastic work, Brown is heavily involved in both university and community forensics.

At the university level, Brown is the president of the Forensics team and brought EIU its first national forensics finish since 2009. At the community level, Brown is an assistant coach for the Charleston High School Speech Team where he helped coach a regional team championship as well as an individual state champion.

Brown’s community involvement started during his time at Illinois Central College, where he captained the Forensics Team, served as a member of the ICC Traveling Readers program, and coached for the Richwoods High School Speech Team.

Brown was given the award at the annual ICTA conference on September 25, this year held in Bloomington, IL.

Mike Bradd wins 2014-15 OVC Media Award

September 9, 2015

The Ohio Valley Conference awarded the voice of EIU football and basketball, Mike Bradd, the OVC media award for 2014-2015 for overall excellence.

According to an OVC press release, the award recognizes members of the media who “provide publicity for the Conference, its member institutions and intercollegiate athletics, perform their jobs in a fair, consistent and accurate manner, provide all-around coverage for a variety of sports and demonstrate the ability to go above and beyond their normal beat or job description.”

Bradd is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University as well as the associate chair of the department. He has been broadcasting Panther basketball for the past 32 years and Panther football for the previous 17 years and has called over 1,000 games in his career.

Bradd is no stranger no accolades as he is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and a three-time winner of the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Silver Dome Award for Best Play-by-Play Sports Announcer, including back to back awards in 2014 and 2015.

During his time as both the voice of the Panthers and an associate professor, Bradd has merged his two loves by teaching sports announcing and broadcast production. Recently he has began training students for EIU baseball and softball internet radio broadcasts for the OVC Digital Network and for internet radio broadcasts as part of a class offered in communication studies.

Students Display Public Speaking Skills at Betty Lou Balasi Public Speaking Contest

June 9, 2015

Melissa Martinez, a freshman Chemistry major from Chicago, IL, won the 2015 Betty Lou Balasi Public Speaking Contest. A panel of judges selected Melissa’s speech, entitled “Puerto Rico Should Not Become a State,” as the top speech delivered in the final round of the contest on April 28, 2015.

The annual event, sponsored by the Eastern Illinois University Department of Communication Studies, featured both provocative topics and excellent deliveries. Second place went to Thaija Evans, a freshman Journalism major from Chicago, IL. Third place was awarded to Mikayla Grant, a freshman Clinical Laboratory Science major from Mattoon, IL.

Attached photo, from left to right: Emily Schlitter, Thaija Evans, Mercury Bowen, Melissa Martinez, Mikayla Grant, Shaniyah Mayes.

Attached photo, from left to right: Emily Schlitter, Thaija Evans, Mercury Bowen, Melissa Martinez, Mikayla Grant, Shaniyah Mayes.

The other three students who competed in the event’s finals were:
  • Mercury Bowen (freshman, undecided major from Martinsville, IL) – Abortion is Wrong
  • Shaniyah Mayes (freshman, Psychology major from East Saint Louis, IL) – Student Involvement is Key for College Success
  • Emily Schlitter (freshman, Kinesiology and Sports Studies major from Bartlett, IL) – Women’s Sports Should be Valued as Much as Men’s Sports

The contest is named in memory of Betty Lou Balasi, a long time staff member in the E.I.U. Department of Communication Studies. Twenty-two students competed in the preliminary round of the competition on the Monday before the final round.


Student Media Productions Honored at 2015 EIU Multimedia Contest

May 27, 2015

On May 4, the Department of Communication awarded exceptional student media productions at the 2015 Multimedia Contest.

Students, faculty, and community members all gathered at the event to view the top three entries in the six categories, Creative, Radio Spot, Video Spot, News Package, Documentary, and Web Design.

The top producers of media content (From L to R): Michael Moy, Adam Austin, James Bateman, Kayla Myers, Jesse Guinn

(From L to R): Michael Moy, Adam Austin, James Bateman, Kayla Myers, Jesse Guinn

The award-winning productions came from class projects, WEIU newscasts, the Alternative Television and Film Club, as well as independent endeavors. The complete winners list can be seen below.


  1. Michael Moy
  2. Pat Banahan
  3. Will Young / Adam Austin

Michael Moy – “The Proposal”

 Radio Ad/PSA:

  1. James Bateman
  2. Jesse Guinn
  3. Ian Acree

James Bateman – “Chubby’s”

 Video Ad/PSA:

  1. Adam Austin
  2. Bryson Batson/Will Young
  3. Hosea Ruppert

Adam Austin – “InfiniteCU”


  1. Jesse Guinn
  2. Lacey Clifton
  3. Jessica Dixon

Jesse Guinn – “Canine Flu”


  1. Kayla Myers
  2. Pat Banahan
  3. Adam Austin

Kayla Myers – “Brothers”

 Web Design:

  1. Adam Austin (
  2. Kayla Myers (
  3. Mandi Mundhenk (

PSA Produced by EIU Students to Air on Television Stations Throughout Illinois

May 5, 2015

The Energy Education Council has revealed a new television public service announcement that was created by Communication Studies students at Eastern Illinois University to help raise awareness about outdoor electrical safety in Illinois.

The Safe Electricity College Challenge contest gave students enrolled in college broadcasting programs in Illinois the opportunity to create EEC’s next 30 or 60 second television PSA.  Entries were judged on creativity, message effectiveness, accuracy of safety information provided, production quality, and adherence to rules.

L to R:  ​Molly Hall, E.E.C. Executive Director, William Young, Bryson Batson, James Bateman.

L to R: ​Molly Hall, E.E.C. Executive Director, William Young, Bryson Batson, James Bateman.

A 30 second spot produced by E.I.U. seniors William Young (Newman, IL – Shiloh High School) and Bryson Batson (Shelbyville, IL) received one of the top places in the contest and will be airing on television stations throughout the state for the next six months.  The PSA also featured E.I.U. senior James Bateman (Phoenix, IL – Thornton High School) who was the on camera talent.

The spot was produced as part of E.I.U. Communication Studies instructor Fred Peralta’s Advanced Video Production class.  The PSA can be viewed online here:

The college challenge is part of E.E.C.’s latest educational efforts to increase awareness on important outdoor electrical safety issues.  The contest is funded by Illinois utilities.

Scholarship & Awards Ceremony Recognizes Top Communication Studies Students

May 5, 2015

The Department of Communication Studies held its annual Scholarship and Awards Ceremony to recognize outstanding students in the areas of scholarship, research, and achievement on April 19.

Recognized students received scholarship money from the communication studies department as well as a permanent space on the plaques located in Coleman Hall. The popular event was attended by students, faculty, and family members of the award winners.

A complete list of all winners is located below. Students are welcome to apply for scholarships here for the 2015-2016 school year beginning during the spring 2016 semester.


  • Betty Lou Balasi Scholarship  –  Kelli Halfman
  • Dr. Kenneth E. Hadwiger Undergraduate Scholarship  –  Kayla Jacobs
  • Dr. Kenneth E. Hadwiger Graduate Scholarship  –  Anna Percival
  • Jon J. Hopkins Speech Education Scholarship  –  Wade Dundee
  • Carol A. Manhart Scholarship  –  Clinton Brown
  • Ralph Y. McGinnis Scholarship  –  Kaitlyn Corzine
  • Jack L. Payan Scholarship  –  Amy Gebka & Mark Devall
  • John E. & Mary J. Price Scholarship  –  Hannah Yarnell
  • Dr. J. Glenn Ross Scholarship  –  Jennifer Awah-Manga
  • Illinois Broadcasters Association Scholarship  –  Kelsey Zancha


  • Outstanding Lab Assistant  –  Bryson Batson
  • Inspired Achievement  –  Marissa Zak
  • Outstanding Junior  –  Lisa Rhodes
  • Outstanding Senior  –  Connor Wilcox
  • Outstanding Graduate Students  –  Audra Clodfelter & Ethan Kruger

Bock Undergraduate Research Contest:

  1. Kelli Halfman
  2. Lindsay Nichols
  3. Caitlyn Strader

EIU Graduate Student Receives Top Student Paper Award

April 27, 2015

Eastern Illinois University graduate student Audra Clodfelter received the Top Student Paper Award from the Public Relations Division of the Central States Communication Association.

Clodfelter’s award-winning paper “Responding to Boston: Improving Marathon Reputations and Stakeholder Relations through Pre-Crisis Communication” analyzes the strategic communication of the World Marathon Majors series after the attacks in Boston. Clodfelter presented her paper at CSCA’s annual meeting on April 16 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Clodfelter also presented original research in the Media Studies Interest Group. Her paper “Why Can’t Watson Be a Bear? Examining the Uses and Gratifications of Sherlock Fanfiction” used audience data to explore the gratifications sought and obtained from creating fanfiction.

Currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in EIU’s Department of Communication Studies, Clodfelter specializes in strategic and organizational communication. She developed her public relations research in the graduate class of Dr. Matthew Gill and media studies research with Dr. Scott Walus.

Clodfelter is interested in a career in crisis communication or entertainment promotions. Her next big research project is her thesis on organizational legitimacy and authenticity in the craft beer industry. She can be reached at

Central States Communication Association showcases exemplar communication research at its annual conferences.

Central States Communication Association showcases exemplar communication research at its annual conferences.

EIU Communication Studies Major Wins 2015 Illinois Broadcasters Association Scholarship

April 27, 2015

Eastern Illinois University has announced the recipient of the 2015 Illinois Broadcasters Association Scholarship.  Kelsey Zancha, a junior from Lovington, Illinois, is the 2015 recipient.

Zancha is a Communication Studies major with an emphasis in Broadcast News.  She works in student media at both WEIU-FM Radio and WEIU-TV news.  She is a transfer from Lake Land College in Mattoon who won the 2014 IBA Student Silver Dome Award for Best Sales Presentation.  Zancha plans to graduate in May of 2016 and pursue a career in television news.

EIU Communication Studies major Kelsey Zancha wins the Illinois Broadcasters Association scholarship.

EIU Communication Studies major Kelsey Zancha wins the Illinois Broadcasters Association scholarship.

The scholarship was endowed by the Illinois Broadcasters Association and is presented each year to one of the top E.I.U. students who plans to pursue a career in broadcasting.


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