2024 Levin Leaders recognized at Cox Institute Spring Leadership Dinner

A group of students, the 2024 Levin Leaders, stand holding certificates.
The Levin Leaders received their certificates and medals at the Cox Institute Leadership Dinner on March 14, 2024. (Photo/Jackson Schroeder)

2024 Levin Leaders recognized at Cox Institute Spring Leadership Dinner

March 19, 2024

The Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership presented the Institute’s Leadership Medal to its 2024 class of Levin Leaders.

The Levin Leaders were selected for the program from faculty nominations based on their commitment to professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. The Leadership Medals were presented during the Institute’s Spring Leadership Dinner held March 14 at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library. 

The 2024 Levin Leaders are: Carmen Corley, Alexis Derickson, Taft Gantt, Jayden Henson, Libby Hobbs, Lilly Kersh, Joe Kopsho, Allison Mawn, Tori Newman, Sophie Ralph, Nava Rawls, Anna Ruth Riggins, Liz Rymarev, Lee Short, Torin Smith, Avni Trivedi and Owen Warden.

Bob Sullivan, a Peabody Award winning journalist, who is serving as the Institute’s 2024 Industry Fellow, delivered inspirational after dinner remarks and received the Institute’s Leadership Medal.

See a full album of photos from the Leadership Dinner here.

The program was named the Levin Leaders Initiative in 2019 to reflect the generous support provided by Adam Levin, his wife Heather McDowell and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. The Levin family’s support provides for curriculum development, training materials and other expenses of running the program. Levin is a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, privacy, identity theft, fraud and personal finance. He was chairman and founder of CyberScout and was co-founder of Credit.com. He authored the book, “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves” and is now the host of a popular podcast, “What the Hack.” 

The Cox Institute also presented several scholarship awards during the dinner.  Alexis Derickson and Nava Rawls were awarded Conrad C. Fink Scholarships, which are presented annually in memory of the late journalism professor who founded the Cox Institute. 

Joe Kopsho received the Todd M. Bauer Memorial Award, a program established by the Bauer family to honor their son by helping young journalists establish themselves in their early careers. 

Liz Rymarev was this year’s recipient of the Barry Hollander Award, which was established by former students in memory of the late journalism professor known for his steadfast defense of open meetings and records.

The Institute also presented an award recognizing Erin Kenney for her outstanding work as the Cox Institute’s graduate assistant.

Students participating in the leadership program met weekly for eight weeks with Keith Herndon, executive director of the Cox Institute.  The sessions featured student discussions about leadership principles drawn from the “Your Leadership Edge” book published by the Kansas Leadership Center. 

Students participating in this year’s cohort said the program’s discussion about leadership led to new understandings. 

“The program made me think of leadership as a collaborative effort,” said Nava Rawls. “Strong, effective leaders aren’t afraid to take feedback and ask for help when it’s necessary. They use failure as an opportunity to grow.” 

Tori Newman said the program made leadership approachable from a practical perspective.

“The program has made me think of leadership as something I can work to achieve,” she said.  “I’m excited to work on making myself the best leader I can possibly be. The concept of being a leader is less scary and I can now approach it in a more practical way.”

Since its inception 12 years ago, the Cox Institute’s leadership training program has taught more than 160 of the college’s best journalism students about leadership principles. 

“We’re asking our journalism students to confront significant uncertainty in pursuing a career in this field,” said Herndon. “When students, such as those in this cohort, demonstrate incredible potential we owe it to them to provide as much training as possible that fosters positive attitudes about coping with change and building resilience.”