2022 LAS Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Students

Amber Adamson-Vallesi
Fall 2021 Outstanding Student in Leadership
Amber Adamson is a Professional Communications major specializing in Leadership with a minor in dance. Amber enjoys arts & crafts, traveling, learning new languages, and helping others grow in their communication skills. While at UCCS Amber worked as a Peer Tutor at the Excel Communication Center. After graduating, Amber was hired on as an Administrative Manager at the Excel Communication Center.
Parker Bennett
Outstanding Student in Digital Filmmaking and Media
Parker Bennett is a Communications major with a minor in Technical Communication and Information Design. During his time at UCCS, Parker has further developed his interests in film studies and has contributed to several student film projects as a writer, producer, actor, and editor. Apart from his interest in cinema and storytelling, Parker is also fascinated with aerospace and engineering. He is planning to pursue a career as a technical writer, providing him with a concrete application for his writing skills as he continues to develop screenplays and novels in his spare time. One of Parker’s favorite experiences at UCCS was working with fellow students to produce a short film for his capstone Communications class.
Mia Bukowski
Outstanding Student in Sports Communication
Mia is a Sports Communication Major and finds passion in communicating with others through online and public forums. An avid sports fan, Mia always imagined her life in the world of sports. Upon starting at UCCS, the new Sports Communication track was the perfect way to make her way into sports. After an exclusive internship with USA Hockey, and their marketing team, it was the perfect segue into this career. Throughout her 4 years, she has been a persevering student and will be receiving highest honors at graduation. Mia would like to continue her passion for communicating with others through social media and marketing after graduation.
Elizabeth Canright
Outstanding Student in Communication and Outstanding Social Sciences Divisional Student

Elizabeth is a General Communication major with a minor in English Literature. She enjoys the field of communication because of its intersectionality with other disciplines like psychology, sociology, journalism, marketing and current events and is interested in organizational and public relations. During the spring 2022 semester, Elizabeth participated in a graduate assistantship learning best practices in social media management and creating content for the UCCS communication Facebook page. She has been a scholar with the Reisher Scholarship and Reach Your Peak Scholarship and would like to express her deepest gratitude to those two foundations for their support of her undergraduate studies. After graduation, Elizabeth will work in office administration for her husband’s company, Cabinet Craft Finishes. Upon completing her master’s degree in communication, she hopes to teach college communication courses.

Hannah Held
Outstanding Student in Digital Filmmaking, B.I.

Hannah is a Digital Filmmaking major with a Cross-Discipline in Globalization. She has always loved the art of storytelling and started writing at a young age. She became interested in film because of her dad, who is a UCCS alum and a film editor. Through the UCCS film program, Hannah had the opportunity to write several scripts for films, even taking on the role of Head Writer for Season 8 of the Bluffs. After graduation, Hannah hopes to go into the animation industry to write and develop heartfelt, inclusive stories.

Ryan Maikell
Outstanding Student in Strategic Communication
Ryan is graduating with an emphasis in strategic communication. He has been awarded the honor of High Distinction for his honors project focusing on concepts, themes, and theories he learned in two courses of study (Crisis Communication and Ethical Leadership). His project proposed and offered a review of their similarities in preparing future leaders for effective stewardship of their respective organizations offering tangible strategies for avoiding pitfalls. Ryan’s literature/theory review of crisis communication theories included stakeholder theory, planning theory/theory of planned behavior, and attribution theory. His examination of ethical leadership theories included leader-member exchange theory (LMX), authentic leadership theory (ALT), and virtue ethics primarily focusing on courageous leadership. Ryan has a passion for sustainability. Throughout his time at UCCS, Ryan has served as the Chair of the Green Action Fund, worked on campus with the Gateway Program Seminar and Office of Sustainability, and been a scholar with the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Upon graduation, Ryan will begin a position with Vanguard in their Emerging Leadership Development Program.
Meagan Pattillo
Fall 2021 Outstanding Student in Sports Communication
Meagan Pattillo graduated in December 2021 with a Sports Communications Major and received the 2021 Outstanding Student Award. Meagan is an avid sports fan who is ambitious and driven in communicating with others through many different outlets. During her 3.5 years at UCCS she had the distinct pleasure of interning at the Air Force Academy as a hybrid marketing and social media intern. She will continue to work hard and follow her passion within the sports realm.
Bethany Snow
Outstanding Student in Organizational Communication
Bethany is earning her bachelor's in professional communications with an emphasis on organizational communication. Starting out at Pikes Peak Community College, Bethany initially had a desire to major in business. After transferring to UCCS, she became excited about public speaking and communications through her professors and quickly changed her major. She has consistently worked within the tech/software industry and currently works at Oracle in their public sector field. As she moves into the next chapter in her life, she hopes to continue with her current employer and use the knowledge she gained at UCCS to grow in her career.
Savannah Watson
Outstanding Student in Leadership
Savannah is a Leadership Communication major with a minor in General Business. She wanted to pursue a degree that would apply to numerous job contexts and felt that communication would be a creative yet meaningful major. She has loved exploring various theories and applying them to real world projects throughout her coursework. One of her favorite projects involved directing the marketing blitz and branding for the launch of a small church in Texas, called Kingdom Life Worship Center. Over a year later, Savannah still loves managing the church’s website and social media accounts. Outside of her coursework, she has enjoyed serving as a youth leader at her church’s youth group where she has been able to build relationships with and mentor teenagers. She also regularly takes her hyper dog running and cooks meals with healthy tricks alongside her mom. Savannah knows life is often full of twists and turns, but ultimately seeks a career where she can help others live purposeful and joy-filled lives.
Ghalia Yousef
Outstanding Student in Media Studies
Ghalia is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in media studies. She has an interest in the media, fashion, and art. She has been awarded the outstanding undergraduate student award for the media studies track because of her outstanding work and dedication. Ghalia excelled in all her courses and was awarded summa cum laude honors. She got into writing and media in high school and wanted to do that as a career. She began college at Pikes Peak Community College where she earned an associate's degree in communication. In 2020 she began school at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Throughout college she has had many opportunities like working on a group recycling project to improve recycling at Pikes Peak Community College, she also worked on many different media and theory papers, applying theory to different media such as books, movies, TV shows, music, and more. In the future she hopes to work in a creative field such as journalism or media work.

Outstanding Graduate Students

Brie Escobedo
Outstanding Graduate Student in Training and Development
Brie is graduating with an emphasis in training and development. She has been awarded the 2022 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Inspired by an assignment from her COMM 6160 class, Training and Development, Brie turned a New York Times Bestseller Book, “Designing Your Life,” into a one-hour workshop which led her to a practicum, internship, and a full-time job with the T. Rowe Price Career and Innovation Center at UCCS. As someone who tussled with the whole “What do you want to be when you grow up?” debacle, she set out on a mission to help individuals through all phases of career and life design. In her role as the Career Exploration Coach, Brie dedicates her time to assisting students find belonging and value in their major while helping them develop their own careers. Using what she’s learned throughout her graduate courses, Brie has built out the Center’s major and career exploration appointments, workshops, and course curriculum.
Ashlyn Gaughan
Fall 2021 Outstanding Graduate Student in Communication Media Studies and Popular Culture
Ashlyn graduated in December with her Master of Arts in Communication which included a specific focus on Media Studies and Popular Culture. She has been awarded the 2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Ashlyn’s thesis on Avatar: The Last Airbender was inspired by her love of television and a passion for understanding the pedagogical messages embedded in children’s media. Her in depth study of the morally ambiguous character Zuko from the aforementioned series inspired an interest in how ethics and morals are conveyed and delivered to viewers through popular fictional media artifacts. Throughout her time in the Communication Graduate program, Ashlyn also worked at UCCS in the College of Business’ Career Development Center as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in addition to working for the Communication Department as a recitation instructor for public speaking. Ashlyn currently works as an Admissions Counselor in the UCCS Office of Admissions and uses her communication skills to connect with potential UCCS students. She looks forward to incorporating her interest in helping students with her love of media studies in the future.