Grady College is proud to announce the recipients of the brand new Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award, the Darwin Davis Award, the Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence and the Teacher of the Year awards.
Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award
Below are the first-ever recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award. Each winner – at the graduate student, staff and faculty level – receives a $1,000 stipend toward work travel or a DEI project or research effort.
- Marcella Genut (AB ’18), staff
- Haley Hatfield, graduate student
- Booker T. Mattison, faculty
Marcella Genut, academic advisor
Genut, academic advisor for prospective students, is a fierce advocate for accessibility and inclusion.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are always at the forefront of my daily life and an important aspect of the legacy I want to leave behind,” she said. “Having a progressive disability and being categorized as a minority has shaped me to be an outsider of the world. Never fitting in and not having a seat at the dinner party has motivated me to constantly push others to be more inclusive whether it’s at the workplace or in my personal life.”
Genut has recruited and comforted students from diverse backgrounds who were uneasy about coming to UGA. The Disability Resource Center often sends students to her for mentoring, which is over-and-above her work as an advisor. She has advocated for physical improvements to Grady College and works individually with students to help them find the resources they need, whether an adapted camera or a wheelchair repair shop.
Haley Hatfield, graduate student
As a Ph.D. student, graduate research assistant and graduate instructor, Hatfield is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of their work.
“My experiences as an openly queer non-binary individual holding many positions have led me to recognize the critical importance of creating a more equitable and inclusive environment within academia and beyond,” Hatfield said.
Hatfield’s research focuses on decentering Whiteness, the racist societal structure that favors white, masculine and Western ideals as the “norm.” Several of their studies have received top paper awards at major communication organizations when taking a critical approach to disrupting normative foundations in quantitative social sciences.
Booker T. Mattison, assistant professor EMST
In the College, Athens community and nationally, Mattison, an assistant professor in the Entertainment and Media Studies Department, is a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion. In his classroom, every student — each voice — is affirmed, critically assessed and developed. This empowers students of all backgrounds to tell their own stories but, equally important, to value voices that are far different from their own.
Beyond the classroom and through the magic of moviemaking, in the many exhibitions of his films, panel discussions and community presentations, Mattison helps diverse peoples encounter and empathize with different ways of life.
“I am under no illusion that my art can single-handedly change the world,” he said. “However, my hope when I direct a film, write a novel or a screenplay is to realistically portray characters and worlds so that audience members can experience and then consider them in all their richness and humanity.”
Darwin Davis Award
The Darwin Davis award was established in 2007 to recognize a member of the Grady College faculty or staff whose performance reflects those qualities of dedication and friendship that best capture the College’s “spirit.” The award is named for Arthur B. Darwin and Harold E. Davis, notable alumni of Grady College.
Kristen Smith (MA ’92), senior lecturer, Public Relations
“This should come as no surprise to any of us,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “Kristen does so many things, large and small, seen and unseen. She serves as our link to the UGA Arts Council. She mentors students, she puts up with request after request (usually from me) for a design, and she brightens the day of everyone who encounters her.”
Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence
The Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence is presented annually to the individual who exhibits outstanding characteristics in performance of duties. The winner is considered an outstanding example for others and represents Grady College in a positive manner.
Jim Black (ABJ ’86), instructional resources coordinator
Among other responsibilities, Jim Black, the College’s instructional resources coordinator, manages the College’s equipment room and oversees student-run productions. He advises students on how to use equipment and what equipment will work best for a given project, and he routinely assists students with scripting, recording and post-production editing.
“He keeps an entire department sorted, organized and running,” explained the Vera Penn Committee. “Jim demonstrates the service concept every day, in ways large and small. And he uses his good sense of humor to connect with people at a human level. He has such deep experience and institutional knowledge – and a love of UGA, not least the Redcoat Marching Band – that he works independently and with enthusiasm and efficiency. Jim represents the best of the College.”
Teachers of the Year
The Teachers of the Year are annually selected by their peers, based on excellence in the classroom and student feedback.
- Chris Shumway, Journalism
- Jeong-Yeob Han, Advertising
- Joseph Watson, Jr., Public Relations
- Keith Wilson, EMST
Chris Shumway, senior academic professional, Journalism
“The Department of Journalism is home to many skilled and committed teachers, and to me that makes this honor really significant—to stand out among such a strong group,” said Jon Peters, head of the Department of Journalism. “A committee of students and faculty selected Prof. Shumway on the strength of his teaching record and his multiple student nominations that noted his dedication, passion, enthusiasm and high standards. He goes above and beyond for his students, and he cares deeply about them and their success. He’s a creative and purposeful teacher.”
Jeong-Yeob Han, associate professor, Advertising
Joseph Watson, Jr., Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications, Public Relations
“Both Dr. Han and Professor Watson are shining examples of what a dedicated educator is in advertising and public relations,” said Juan Meng, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “I appreciate how they always commit to the excellence in teaching, and their care for their students and passion to support student success are the reasons they rise to the top.”
Keith Wilson, lecturer, Entertainment and Media Studies
“Keith is such an effective mix of knowledge and teaching skill,” said Jay Hamilton, head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “Not only does he have a huge depth of knowledge, he’s so great at equipping and encouraging his students to top accomplishments.”