November 21, 2006

SIUC students, faculty win regional Emmy awards

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale students and educators brought home the gold recently at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Regional Chapter Emmy Awards in St. Louis.

Salukis brought home six statues, including awards in both student and professional categories. The awards ceremony took place Oct. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in St. Louis.

Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, said he was thrilled by the continuing success of the students and faculty.

"Our students and faculty are amassing more professional Emmy Awards, clearly reaffirming that we have some of the best media production undergraduate programs in the nation," Pendakur said. "This is a wonderful tribute to all the faculty and staff in the college who work closely with our students and set high standards for their achievements."

The student-run program 26:46 won in the category of Best Student Production. The program, supported by the Department of Radio-Television and WSIU-TV, features unique takes on the news and special features. It has won more than 20 professional and student Emmys during the last seven years.

Cory Byers, a lecturer in the radio-television department and a recent SIUC master's graduate, also won for his production, "Forgive Me Father," a tribute to the late Alfred Hitchcock. The production was Byers' senior thesis project.

Also winning awards were:

• "Evil Dead: Beyond the Blood," which featured interviews with the special effects artists and cast members who worked on the horror movie. Jon Solita, a senior and the son of Mary Pekar of Manteno (1063 Aspen Drive) and Robert Solita of Peotone, produced the show.

• "FTX: Field Training Exercise," which followed SIUC Air Force ROTC candidates during a three-day training event. Editors and co-producers include Kyle Tekiela, a junior and the son of Ken and Holly Tekiela of Bartlett (252 Village Lane); Adam Slutsky, a sophomore and son of Rael and Madeleine Slutsky of Deerfield (1405 Berkley Court); and Nicholas Karsten, a senior and son of Steve and Ann Karsten of Niles, Mich. (1550 Harrah Road).

• Students also won Emmys for program graphics. They include Jordan Gzesh, a senior and son of Marla and Irwin Gzesh of Deerfield (274 Bristol Court); and Andrew Mitchell, a senior and son of Max and Betsy Mitchell of Champaign (2319 Venice Court); along with Brown, Solita, Tekiela and Wilkerson.

The students were part of the Department of Radio-Television or Department of Cinema and Photography in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at SIUC. Students also received nominations for:

• "The Sweatshirt Phenomenon," which explored the origins of the famous "COLLEGE" sweatshirt worn by the late actor John Belushi in the movie, "Animal House." Sophomores Tim Wilkerson, the son of Patrick and Debbie Wilkerson of Crystal Lake (3803 Spy Glass Ridge Road), and Sean Brown, son of Frank and Laurie Brown of Deerfield (1025 Hillside Ave.), co-produced the program.

• "Parkour: Never Look Back," which examined an urban extreme sport also known as "free running." Jared Kagel, a recent graduate from Bloomington and the son of David and Nancy Kagel (1507 Espy Drive), produced the show.

Candis S. Isberner, executive director of broadcasting service at WSIU-TV, said the recognitions were well deserved.

"We are very impressed and thrilled with the accomplishments of the producers for their recognition, and we're honored to have the opportunity to have the program on our WSIU-TV stations," Isberner said.

Enhancing nationally recognized programs whose graduates are in demand in the job market is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.