School of Arts, Media, and Communications Celebrates Student Achievements at 9th Annual SAMC Awards

By Richard Guerrero, Trisha Guico | Published: May 10, 2021

School of Arts, Media, and Communications Celebrates Student Achievements at 9th Annual SAMC Awards

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – On May 2, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi held its ninth annual School of Arts, Media, and Communication (SAMC) Awards of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) in celebration of the work and progress of its students. This year’s SAMC awards presentation was held virtually via a YouTube live stream due to ongoing precautions related to COVID-19.

Dr. Kelly Miller, President and CEO of the Island University, opened the program with a brief history of SAMC.

“Having lived and had my office in the Center for the Arts for 12 years and having been the founding director of the School of Arts, Media, and Communication, I know firsthand how much work and dedication it takes to excel in each of your areas,” Miller said. “I am always impressed by the incredible performances, the artwork, the films and speeches that come out of SAMC.”

Dr. Clarenda Phillips, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, noted in her remarks that working through the challenges presented by the pandemic was a collaborative effort.

“Students, faculty, and staff proved how strong we are when we work together – ever innovating, ever expanding, and ever evolving,” Phillips said. “Theatre & Dance productions went virtual in various formats. Art & Design shows continued with socially distant art galleries and online lectures. Music adapted its live performances and streamed to external audiences online; and Communication & Media provided unique opportunities for students to grow through an online platform.”

Dr. Mark Hartlaub, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and SAMC director, noted that student performances serve three constituents: fellow students, faculty and staff, and community.

“You are really representing A&M-Corpus Christi every time that you perform,” Hartlaub said. “Every time we have somebody from the community and they see something or they hear something and they say, ‘Wow, that is really great,’ you’re really doing a service for everybody here.”

In the Department of Art & Design, Department Chair Louis Katz said this year’s award winners have demonstrated determination and perseverance – what he calls ‘motivational excellence.’

“I feel sure that the award winners will recognize the achievement of a milestone, such as this award, is not an indication to take a well-earned break, but as an impetus to make more art and do more great work,” Katz said.

The program included clips from student films, musical performances, theatre productions, excerpts from student films, and more.

“Even during the COVID crisis, the department of Theatre and Dance produced four mainstage productions, a music video production, three dance concerts, a student-directed series that includes over 30 student-directed 10-minute plays in the fall and over 35 student-directed 40-minute plays in the spring, as well as over a dozen senior capstone projects,” Alison Frost, department chair of Theatre & Dance said.

To end the virtual event, the Music Department’s faculty and students performed “America the Beautiful,” arranged by Carmen Dragon and conducted by Brian Shelton.

“Together, we can lead the way back to full houses, full stages, and when all is said and done, the fullness of life that music helps create,” Dr. Mary Thornton, department chair of Music, said.

Additional Information

Winners of the 2021 SAMC Awards include:

Music Award Recipients

  • Excellence in Service - Jacob Howard, Kevin López, Brooke Ngo
  • Excellence in Scholarship - Nathan Darst, Luis Rodríguez, Betsabe Torres
  • Excellence in Performance - Kara Apostol, Tristen Craven, Dustin Hernandez

Communications & Media Award Recipients

  • Outstanding Scholar in Communication Studies - Gabriela Bidwell
  • Outstanding Documentary Film: “The Customer Is Always Wrong” - Daniel Egnal
  • Outstanding International Student - Larissa Fagundes
  • Outstanding Public Relations Student - Brittani Fletcher
  • Outstanding Narrative Film: “Together Again” - Morgan Glasson
  • Outstanding Scholar in Media Studies - Sophia Herrera
  • Outstanding Graduate Scholar - Cari Loeffler
  • Outstanding Journalism Student - Vashti Rosa

Theatre & Dance Award Recipients

  • Outstanding Performer - Ashlyn Evans
  • Outstanding Dance Student - Chad Fontenot
  • Outstanding Technician - Jaydn Johanson
  • Outstanding Theatre Student - Allison Major
  • Outstanding Design Student - April Salazar
  • Outstanding Choreographer - River Thompson
  • Outstanding Director - River Thompson
  • Outstanding Theatre Education Student - Kat Williams
  • Outstanding Theatre Education Student - Kate Wilson

Art & Design Award Recipients

  • Excellence in Drawing - Skally Benitez
  • Excellence in Art History - Christopher Karr
  • Excellence in Sculpture - Amelia Key
  • Excellence in Ceramics - Payton Koranek
  • Excellence in Graphic Design: Senior - Abraham Leija
  • Excellence in Graphic Design: Junior - Drew Scott
  • Excellence in Graphic Design: Sophomore - Shaylee Patterson
  • Excellence in Painting - Alejandro Ramirez
  • Excellence in Photography - Nathaniel Segovia
  • Excellence in Printmaking - Jacqueline Negreros