University of Southern Mississippi staff members take top honors at public relations award competition
by Jim Coll
Feb 12, 2018 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brittney Westbrook receives the Bud Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year Award from Matt Martin, president of the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.
Brittney Westbrook receives the Bud Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year Award from Matt Martin, president of the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.
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University of Southern Mississippi (USM) staff members swept top honors at the 2018 Spark Awards, annual honors presented by the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM). USM staff members won the Judges’ Choice Award, signifying the top work in the competition; the Bud Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year Award, and the Burlian O’Neal Walker Professional Promise Award.



The Judges’ Choice Award went to USM’s DuBard School for Language Disorders, and its communications coordinator, Liz Radley, for that organization’s 55th Anniversary Celebration.



“I chose this because of its originality in theme and the creative concept to promote a much loved and impactful program,” one judge said.



“The project leader really capitalized on the opportunity at hand. The project was based on solid research and the theme was well developed and woven throughout all aspects of the project,” a second judge added.



Brittney Westbrook, assistant director for marketing communications in USM’s Office of University Communications, was honored with the Kirkpatrick Award.



Westbrook directed communications campaigns that captured a Judges’ Choice Award at the 2016 Public Relations Association of Mississippi PRISM Awards, as well as Best of Show at the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) competition later that year. In 2017, she was the creative catalyst who coordinated the “My Southern Miss Story” campaign that won a Judges’ Choice Award at SPRF.



The Kirkpatrick Award is named for the former public relations director at The University of Southern Mississippi for 30 years and a founding member of the chapter. Kirkpatrick’s career spans more than four decades and six halls of fame.



Karelia Pitts, manager of communications for the USM Foundation was honored with the Burlian O’Neal Walker Professional Promise Award. Among other honors, Pitts led the Foundation to win a PRAM PRISM Award for “An Attitude of Gratitude,” a marketing campaign that shares the stories of scholarship recipients through various social media channels.



The award honors the memory of a dedicated teacher of journalism, broadcasting and public relations. Walker’s career spanned 32 years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and he served on the boards of numerous organizations in the Hattiesburg area, including Pine Belt PRAM and served as chair of the Smoke Free Hattiesburg Group for five years, helping to establish the city as a “Smoke Free City.” The award was named after him posthumously in 2010.



USM staff members also took home awards in the following categories. Averaged scores of 70 and above received a Certificate of Achievement. Scores of 80 and above received an Award of Excellence. Top scores of 90 and above received a Spark. A Judges’ Choice was selected from all Spark winners.



Category: Integrated Social Media Programs

SPARK AWARD

“Leave Southern Miss Better than you Found it: Joe Paul Student Leaders Scholarship Campaign”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Karelia Pitts, Megan Burkes, Joe Paul

Category: Special Event Programs

SPARK AWARD

“No Payne No Gain”

The University of Southern Mississippi

April Jordan, Meredith Williams

Certificate of Achievement

“2017 Thank-A-Donor Event”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Torie Fowler

Certificate of Achievement

“Progressive Brunch”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Torie Fowler

Annual Report

Award of Excellence

“Your Gifts in Action: USM Foundation 2016 Impact Report”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Karelia Pitts, Hayley Taylor, Kat VanSkiver, Kelly Dunn, Megan Burkes

Category: Electronic Communication/Social Media Activities

Facebook

Award of Excellence

“LevittAMP Hattiesburg Music Series Facebook Communication”

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism

Cindy Blackwell, Jonathan Pluskota, Mandy Nace

Instagram

Award of Excellence

“My Southern Miss Story 2017”

The University of Southern Mississippi, Office of University Communications

Brittney Westbrook, Amanda Petit, Kristi Scott

YouTube

Award of Excellence

“’Because of your donations…’ 2017 Honor Club Gala Video”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Karelia Pitts, Torie Fowler

Certificate of Achievement

“DuBard School Children's Tribute for Dr. Maureen K. Martin”

DuBard School for Language Disorders

Elizabeth Radley

Category: Newsletters/Magazines

Award of Excellence

“The Pursuit”

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism

Cindy Blackwell

Category: Potpourri

Award of Excellence

“Your Gift Matters: The 2017 Southern Miss Fund”

The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation

Kelly Ellis and Hayley Taylor

Category: Public Service

Award of Excellence

“USM Can Anti-Litter Campaign”

The University of Southern Mississippi Physical Plant

Michelle Shinall, Kari Moore, Sarah Morgan, Ashley Doubleday

Three University of Southern Mississippi staff members will serve in leadership positions for the organization in 2018. They include Radley, president; Jordan, vice president for membership; and Pitts, who will serve as an at-large board member.
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