The Show Must Go On: 8th Annual SAMC Awards Honors 36 Islander Students

By Richard Guerrero, Elizabeth Mock | Published: May 07, 2020

The Show Must Go On: 8th Annual SAMC Awards Honors 36 Islander Students

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Despite the current state of the world, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi faculty and staff continue to prioritize and recognize hard-working and dedicated students. The School of Arts, Media, and Communication (SAMC) in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) did this during the 8th Annual SAMC Awards, traditionally held in the Performing Arts Center, but this year, celebrated virtually with fanfare on social media.

“Although we are not able to meet in person, it is very important to acknowledge the work of these outstanding students. Most have worked very hard for four years to be recognized as exceptional by the faculty in the department,” said Dr. Mark Hartlaub, CLA Dean. “I am very proud of the creative efforts of these outstanding students. Each has made significant contributions to their disciplines, and they have each helped to enrich the lives of those in the local community with their talents, whether they be through art, performances, or films.”

This year, the awards honored 36 students who were selected by faculty and staff for their achievements over the past academic year. Isabella Ruggiero, who is pursuing a Master of Arts in Communication, received the Outstanding Graduate Scholar Award. Ruggiero helped plan the first Women’s History Month Celebration, and in 2019, traveled to regional and national conventions to present her research.

“Throughout the last year and a half, I have enjoyed learning from my professors and classmates, and have done everything in my power to apply what I’ve learned in my everyday life,” Ruggiero said. “This award represents the culmination of my hard work and dedication, as well as that of my peers who helped me, and my professors who pushed me to achieve success.”

Another winner, Maclovio Cantu IV, a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking student, received the Excellence in Printmaking award. Cantu originally came to the Island University because of the caliber of the art department faculty and said he had many great opportunities during his time as an Islander – including being an instructor in the printmaking department.

“There are so many great printmakers at this school, and I can only imagine the difficulty in choosing one winner,” Cantu said. “I appreciate this gesture greatly and am proud to be an Islander.”

The 8th SAMC Award winners are:


  • Kara Apostol, Excellence in Performance, percussion
  • Kara Apostol, Excellence in Scholarship, percussion
  • Nathan Darst, Excellence in Scholarship, flute
  • Alexandra Flint, Excellence in Scholarship, piano
  • Amile Honstein, Excellence in Performance, flute
  • Jacob Howard, Excellence in Service, tuba
  • Brooke Ngo, Excellence in Service, voice
  • Tlaloc Perales, Excellence in Performance, trumpet
  • Micaela Ramos, Excellence in Service, voice

Art & Design

  • Maclovio Cantu IV, Excellence in Printmaking  
  • Anna Davis, Excellence in Art History
  • Rhiannon Howard, Excellence in Graphic Design
  • Rhianna Kirkham, Excellence in Photography
  • Victoria Morales, Excellence in Sculpture
  • Celeste Ordonez, Excellence in Drawing
  • Gwendolyn A. Powell, Excellence in Ceramics
  • Caroline Wilson, Excellence in Painting

Theatre & Dance

  • Hunter J. Allen, Outstanding Director
  • Marcus Anthony Nealy, Outstanding Actor
  • Blake Cooper, Outstanding Designer
  • Madison Cruger, Outstanding Choreographer
  • Anna Flynn, Outstanding Actress
  • Allison McCaughey, Outstanding Dance Student
  • Nestor Salamanca, Outstanding Technician
  • Corbin Schnuriger, Outstanding Theatre Education Student
  • Paige Woelke, Outstanding Theatre Student

 Communication & Media

  • Raul Alonzo, Outstanding Scholar in Media Studies  
  • Kalynn Bennet, Outstanding Student Leader
  • Alex Bryant, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Rosana Gomez, Outstanding International Student
  • Nina E. Gonzales, Outstanding Public Relations Student
  • Theresia Hendricks, Outstanding Scholar in Communication Studies    
  • Lauren Pack, Outstanding Documentary Film: Out of the Darkness
  • Isabella Ruggiero, Outstanding Graduate Scholar
  • Alexander Smith, Outstanding Narrative Film: Affinity
  • Matthew Tamez, Outstanding Journalism Student