RSU Communication Students Score Big in Media Awards, Scholarships

Communications students posing with their awards.Students from Rogers State University’s Department of Communications and the RSU Student Broadcasting Association earned awards during the annual Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters convention last week.

RSU students earned five awards for the 11 entries they submitted, including a first place award in the radio entertainment/talk program category for seniors Adrienne Munoz of Waxahachie, Texas, and Kessiah Neff of Claremore. The pair earned the award for their radio program “That’s What She Said,” which examines a variety of topics from the female point of view.

Communications students posing around a banquet table.Neff also won a second place award for radio public service announcement for Volunteers for Youth, an area non-profit that provides youth mentoring programs in Rogers County.

Geoff Parachin, a junior from Tulsa, won second place for his radio entertainment profile of Inola native Beau Jennings who recently developed an album and documentary about Will Rogers. Nick Buttram, a junior from Catoosa, earned second place for his radio entertainment podcast, “Friends of RSU,” which focuses on an RSU student and today’s topics.

Communications students posing for picture.Mike Brower, a senior from Pryor, and Matt Jordan, a sport management senior from Pryor, brought home third place for their radio sport talk program, “Gamewinner,” a weekly sports program that also features RSU coaches and players.

A record 241 entries were judged during this year’s competition in 12 radio and 18 television categories, as well as scriptwriting. Students from 14 Oklahoma universities, colleges and community colleges were represented in the competition.

“The OAB student awards competition is open to all schools, so we have the large schools and the small schools competing against each other,” said Cathy Coomer, RSU SBA Advisor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications. “That our students were able to win awards in five of the 11 categories they entered says a lot about the quality of our students and the quality of our program.”

In addition to the awards, OAB honored six students from four Oklahoma universities as recipients of the 2016-2017 OAB scholarships. Parachin received the $2,000 Carl C. Smith Award named for the former OAB president and CEO of the OAB who retired in 2007 after 17 years of service. Smith began his career in Tulsa radio but was most proud of his work in creating the first statewide plan in the nation for the Amber Alert Program. This is the tenth time in 12 years that an RSU student has earned one of the competitive scholarships.

The organization also awarded Coomer with the 2016 Lisa John Fellowship, which includes a $3,000 award and places an Oklahoma faculty member in a four-week work program at an Oklahoma radio or television station. The fellowship allows the faculty members to update their skills and develop closer relationships with state radio and television broadcasters. Coomer also received the fellowship in 2012 and worked with Cox Media. Communications Assistant Professor Lee Williams received the fellowship last year and worked with KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa during the summer.

Coomer intends to participate in her four-week program at KOKI FOX 23 in Tulsa with special emphasis on the station’s promotional department.

“Receiving the Lisa John Fellowship is a great honor, and it allows me to get an inside view on current practices and philosophies within the industry,” Coomer said. “I can then return to the classroom and be able to share that up-to-date information with my students so they can be better prepared for their professional careers.”

The March 31 OAB convention, held at the Hard Rock Resort in Catoosa, also included a career fair along with the student awards luncheon and ceremony. Attending the OAB convention from RSU were SBA members Lars Lindtner, a senior from Norway; Jesse McIntyre, a junior from Cushing; Tami Fulmer, a senior from Inola; Brylee Harbuck, a junior from Disney; Sarah Rogers, a senior from Tulsa; Devon Devers, a senior from Pryor; Frederico Santos, a senior from Brazil; Arielle Davis, a junior from Tulsa; and Debra Chandler, a junior from Sapulpa.

For more information about RSU’s communication programs, visit