Student Leadership Awards Winner – PRSSA

The Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at SJSU was presented Executive Board of the Year at the 2019 Student Leadership Gala Awards on May 7, 2019. The group is comprised of nine board members who serve to connect students to public relations and mass communications professional development opportunities.

In the photo left to right, Nayelli Lopez, Elsabete Kebede, Sierra Fatlowitz, and Oscar Acevedo.

Notably, the board facilitated weekly meetings with over 60 members, organized career fairs and partnered with local Bay Area organizations for workshops, panels and company tours. PRSSA SJSU has a strong relationship with its internal alumni network and their Public Relations Society of America parent chapter in Silicon Valley.

Through networking and building professional relationships, PRSSA partnered with communications leaders from organizations for tours and speaking engagements, including Alaska Airlines, Apple, eBay, Dropbox, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit and Juniper Networks. The student organization also collaborated with local communications firms and PR agencies to place students at internships and entry-level job opportunities, including Connext, Edelman PR, Finn Partners, Hoffman Agency, Ink House PR, Lumina Communications, Praytell, Sterling PR, Weber Shandwick and more.

This student organization is dedicated to enhancing the “future of the profession” and attended conferences in 2018-2019 in Austin, Fullerton, Portland, Sacramento and Scottsdale. PRSSA SJSU relies on fundraisers and charitable giving from donors collected by University Advancement at to fund these exciting professional development experiences in order to make them accessible and equitable to all members. They are looking forward to the 2019 PRSSA International Conference this October and connecting students to more opportunities. More information about PRSSA SJSU and their university involvement can be found at and on social media at @PRSSASJSU.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Advertising Program Win Big at The ADDYs By Professor John Delacruz

Wow, what a night for the Advertising Program! On February 28, at Art Boutiki, San Jose, the 2019 Silicon Valley American Advertising Awards were dominated by wins from SJSU students resulting in the best year yet for the Advertising program. Advertising students have increased participation in this annual award show every year and with greater participation comes a greater number of wins.

This year, students won a total of 11 Silvers, 16 Golds, four ADDYs, three Best of Shows, two Judges Awards. That’s a huge achievement and a massive improvement on even last year’s trawl.

What Are the ADDYs?
Each year, the American Advertising Federation organizes competitions around the U.S. celebrating the best creative work of the previous year. Competitions are initially focused around Chapters (SJSU belongs to the Silicon Valley Chapter) with Gold awarded work and recipients of ADDYs (the highest ranking Gold in a given category) progressing automatically to the Regional phase. The final phase is National where the cream of the creative crop competes for the coveted national ADDYs.

Left to right, Levalle Beloney and William Houcheime. City of SJ campaign students receiving their awards. Photo courtesy of Levalle Beloney.

Awards Look Great in A Student Portfolio
SJSU’s Creative Advertising students can feel proud that they will carry ADDY status in their portfolios. Winning work ranged from campaign executions by Arturo Castaneda and his team for San Jose City Council’s Human Resources Department which was a campaign encouraging young graduates to pursue a career in public service. This may not sound exciting, but Arturo and his team produced a visually stunning campaign that won Silver in the Out-of-Home and Film, Video and Sound categories. They also won Gold in the, again, Out-of-Home and Illustration categories.

Alex Aubry was rewarded for her copywriting skills by winning Silver in the Print category and Gold in the Film, Video and Sound category.

Cassie Reyes and her creative partner Brian Tolentino won a number of awards for a campaign for Inspidere, a revolutionary textile made from cow manure. This was a project that began in the Account Planning class at Syracuse and was then passed on to SJSU’s Ad Production class. An example of educational partnerships that work. They won 4 Silvers for Copywriting (2), Online and Interactive and Print.

Other Inspidere projects also won big. Maneek Rajasani and Daniel Welch won Gold for a really fun video and Annie Coleman took home three Golds and an ADDY!

The City of San Jose HR campaign, a project that was set by CommUniverCity, was also the focus of Silver and Gold Awards for Levalle Beloney and his team. They won Silver for Art Direction, Gold for Film, Video and Sound, and an ADDY in the Film, Video and Sound category.

Copywriting students Tony Wong, Cosette Velasquez and Kendra Rodenburg won Silver in Copywriting. Brandon Torres won a Silver for Still Photography and a Gold for Art Direction.

By far, the biggest winners were Eden Kovler and her team who achieved a stunning three Golds, two ADDYs, two Best of Shows and two Judges Awards! Their project was a response to a brief set by the Anti-Defamation League that captured the imagination of all the judges.

David Ocampo, the MC of the Addy awards.

Here are all the winners for 2019, but bear in mind that the story continues as all Golds and ADDYs move on to the Regional phase of America’s most coveted advertising award show.

1. Print Advertising: Cassie Reyes and Brian Tolentino
2. Print Advertising: Alex Aubry
3. Print Advertising: Cassie Reyes
4. Out of Home: Arturo Castaneda, Adriel Trejo, Edwin Lopez, Daniel Casadesus
5. Online and Interactive: Cassie Reyes
6. Film, Video and Sound: Arturo Castaneda, Adriel Trejo, Edwin Lopez, Daniel Casadesus
7. Elements of Advertising – Copywriting: Cassie Reyes
8. Elements of Advertising – Copywriting: Cassie Reyes and Brian Tolentino
9. Elements of Advertising – Copywriting: Tony Wong, Kendra Rodenburg and Cosette Velasquez
10. Elements of Advertising – Still Photography: Brandon Torres
11. Elements of Advertising – Art Direction: Levalle Beloney and the Vision team

1. Out of Home: Arturo Castaneda, Adriel Trejo, Edwin Lopez, Daniel Casadesus
2. Online and Interactive: Annie Coleman
3. Online and Interactive: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
4. Film, Video and Sound: Alex Aubry
5. Film, Video and Sound: Levalle Beloney and the Vision team
6. Film, Video and Sound: Maneek Rajasani and Daniel Welch
7. Film, Video and Sound: Annie Coleman
8. Film, Video and Sound: SJSU NSAC 2018 Team
9. Cross Platform: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
10. Cross Platform: SJSU NSAC 2018 Team
11. Cross Platform: Annie Coleman
12. Elements of Advertising – Copywriting: SJSU NSAC 2018 Team
13. Elements of Advertising – Illustration: Arturo Castaneda, Adriel Trejo, Edwin Lopez, Daniel Casadesus
14. Elements of Advertising – Still Photography: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
15. Elements of Advertising – Art Direction: Brandon Torres
16. Elements of Advertising – Art Direction: SJSU NSAC 2018 Team

1. Online and Interactive: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
2. Film, Video and Sound: Levalle Beloney and the Vision team
3. Cross Platform: Annie Coleman
4. Elements of Advertising: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other

Best of Show
1. Film, Video and Sound: Levalle Beloney and the Vision team
2. Online and Interactive: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
3. Elements of Advertising: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other

Judges Award
1. Online and Interactive: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other
2. Elements of Advertising: Eden Kovler and Picture Each Other

Left to right, Levalle Beloney and William Houcheime. City of SJ campaign students receiving their awards. Photo courtesy of Levalle Beloney.

SJSU’s Spartan Daily Wins Numerous Awards at Annual National College Journalism Convention

For the second consecutive year, San Jose State University’s Spartan Daily placed second nationwide for Best Newspaper among four-year daily newspapers in the Associated Collegiate Press Best of Show awards, at the organization’s 35th Annual National College Journalism Convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, La Jolla, California.  The Daily also took fourth place nationwide for Best Special Section.

The Daily also made an excellent showing Saturday night at the statewide California College Media Association awards.  The Daily took home nine awards against tough competition from throughout California.  Most notably, for the fifth time in six years, the Daily finished in the top four statewide for Best Newspaper, continuing a run of success unequaled in its 85-year history.

The Daily editorial team took fourth place for Best Newspaper in the state competition, with editors Sarah Klieves, Thomas Soares, Jackie Contreras, Ben Stein and Marci Suela sharing the honors.

Marci Suela won multiple awards for her design work on the Daily, sharing first place for Best Overall Newspaper Design, taking second place for Best Illustration or Cartoon and third place for Best Photo Illustration. William Dela Cruz received  two second-place awards, for Best Infographic and Best Newspaper Inside Page Spread, and Nick Zamora took a second place award for Best Photo Series and an honorable mention for Best Sports Photo.  Vicente Vera won a second-place award for Best Feature Photograph, while Jackie Contreras, Ben Stein, Melisa Yuriar and the aforementioned Marci Suela shared the first place award for Best Overall Newspaper Design.

“I am very proud of our SJSU students. These contests pit us against the biggest and most well-known universities the state and the nation have to offer, yet every year we win our share of awards,” says Dr. Richard Craig, Advisor, Spartan Daily.  “Though many of our well-financed competitors may enjoy certain advantages over us here at SJSU, an award showing like this illustrates how our students’ inspiration and hard work can pay great dividends.”

Congratulations to the entire Daily staff and faculty advisors!

Spring 2017 Series 2 of 10: Department of Hospitality Management’s Pebble Beach Program Provides Students with on the Job Hospitality Experience and Assists Students in Building a Better Business Network

If you plan on visiting the AT&T Pro Am Golf Tournament, Pebble Beach California, February 6-12, there is a good chance you may be served by one of SJSU’s Special Event Management students. “We have 32 students going down this year. Of those, the majority are Hospitality majors, with a couple of Kinesiology majors and a few majoring in public relations,” says Terry Thompson, Professor, Special Event Management Training.

Students setting up an On Course Food and Beverage tent prior to the tournament beginning.

The Department of Hospitality Management is excited to celebrate its 12th year of partnership with Pebble Beach Resorts to assist with the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “Our students will be working On Course Food and Beverage, Sky Suites and Chalets,” says Thompson.

“They will be managing anywhere from 5 to 50 volunteers and paid employees during the tournament depending on where they are working. Students will work directly with Pebble Beach representatives to manage, plan, coordinate, and oversee these hospitality areas at one of the PGA’s most celebrated golf tournaments.”

In order to be chosen for this opportunity, students must complete an application, write an essay and complete a panel interview. “There are over 100 students that apply every year and we only choose 32,” says Thompson.

Students gearing up for golf cart training.

Once students have been accepted in the program, they must attend over 60 hours of training that is conducted in conjunction with the Pebble Beach staff. In this training, they learn how to set a table properly, adjust shades and lights, and prepare a proper break service according to the Lodge at Pebble Beach standards.

“It is a real commitment,” recalls Anissa Sanders, public relations major and member of last year’s student team. “We are required to stay near Pebble Beach for a week, waking up at 4 a.m. to eat breakfast and be at the courses by 6 a.m. Then, back to our lodging at 6 p.m. and have dinner with the team, and then to bed by 10 p.m. to do it all over again the next day.”

From left to right: Advisor Richard Larson, student assistants Anissa Sanders and Victoria Wright, and Advisor Terry Thompson.

If they perform well, students can be invited back a second time for management and paid positions. Ms. Sanders has been invited back this week to manage three VIP rooms in the Lodge. She was also invited to work the 2016 Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival and Concours d’ Elegance this past year.  “Being a part of the Special Event Management Team taught me not only about the hospitality industry, but also about myself with the help of amazing advisors and Pebble Beach Managers. They help you grow and become confident in your choices as a manager. I’m happy to have done the program because I have built a network of friendships and ultimately a family.”

Sky Suite Team posed for a photo on the 18th Fairway.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of golf’s most celebrated and beloved events. Spanning three beautiful courses on the Monterey Peninsula (Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course, and Pebble Beach Golf Links), it attracts the PGA’s top professionals and some of the best-known celebrities. The goal of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is not only to provide a highly competitive and entertaining PGA event, but also raise money for philanthropic causes.

It is truly exciting that San José State University has the opportunity to participate in this incredible event. The Hospitality Management Program is always on the lookout for some of San José State’s most responsible, enthusiastic, and professional students to join the Special Event Management Team.

SJSU Special Event Management Team.

Graduate Journalism Class Helps NBC 11 Bay Area with Election Concerns

On Tuesday, November 8, Professor Bob Rucker came up with a unique project for the graduate students in Mass Communications 210: Media & Social Issues.

As the votes were being counted and reported on Nov. 8th, graduate students from the SJSU School of Journalism & Mass Communications were part of the historic NBC 11  Bay Area extensive television coverage.

Thirteen students volunteered to help the local NBC station news staff gather and report the latest developments as they happened.

Stephanie Adrouny, Vice-President of News, NBC 11 Bay Area and Professor Bob Rucker, Journalism worked on the joint project for weeks. To prepare the students, Dan Pyryt, executive producer, NBC 11 Bay Area, visited the class and told students how they would be helping individual newsroom producers and reporters identify and share late-breaking election developments, address voter concerns, and support NBC social media reporting efforts that evening.

“Our grad students come from many academic backgrounds,” says Rucker. “This experience allowed them to have an up close, eye-opening and unique media learning experience on one of the busiest and most exciting nights in the television news business.”


Rucker, a former CNN Correspondent and NBC local news election night anchor/reporter in Philadelphia, covered the 1980 Ronald Reagan/Jimmy Carter vote count. “I will never forget how thrilling it was to be a part of that history making that evening,” Rucker said.


While on campus, Pyryt also met with Spartan Daily staff members and congratulated them on their efforts. Pryt told the student staff and Professor Rucker’s class that the NBC 11 Bay Area  news team reads the campus newspaper every day, and many times they develop SJSU stories after reading the student reporting.

“I’m proud of the education we offer students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications,” says Rucker.  We strive to continue our long-time motto, to teach students to ‘Learn by Doing.’