USC Annenberg scholars win major awards at the 2012 International Communication Association Conference

USC Annenberg students and scholars won several International Communication Association awards, which are handed out in Phoenix this week at ICA’s annual conference.

Among the many honors given this year, recent alumni Nikki Usher and Joe Phua received dissertation-of-the-year awards in the Journalism Studies Division and Health Communication Division, respectively. Communication professor Peter Monge won ICA’s Career Productivity Award.

“It's particularly gratifying in the year that I've served as ICA President to have USC Annenberg so well represented among the award winners at the Phoenix convention,” Vice Dean and School of Communication director Larry Gross said. “In addition to two dissertation-of-the-year awards and one runner up in that category, a number of our students have received recognition for top papers.”

Monge, a past ICA president, has previously won ICA’s Mentorship Award and has been elected an ICA fellow. He now will receive one of the association's highest honors, the Career Productivity Award named for Steve Chafee.

“I'm very proud of my colleague Peter Monge,” Gross said. “Just about the only top award he has not received is Young Scholar, and I am afraid that this one is likely not going to happen.”

Usher (Ph.D. Communication ’11), now an assistant professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, won the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Research Prize, which is the Journalism Studies Division’s annual dissertation award.

“I am honored to be given the dissertation prize – not only is it named for a great scholar, but the prize has been awarded from a truly international academic conference,” Usher said. “The award is a chance for me to be highlighted as hopefully an up-and-coming journalism studies scholar in front of some of the biggest names in the field.”

Usher thanked her dissertation committee for pushing her to do the research.

“Under Larry Gross' leadership and with the help of Geneva Overholser, Henry Jenkins and Patti Riley, I was able to take rich ethnographic research and make it work together. But the work is not done – next up, hopefully a book.”

Phua (Ph.D. Communication ’11), now an assistant professor at the University of Georgia, said winning the Health Communication Division Dissertation of the Year Award is a huge honor.

“It not only serves as encouragement for me to continue to conduct research in the area of social media marketing and public health interventions for addictive health behaviors, but will also help to pave the way for me to obtain external research grant funding from agencies like the CDC, NIH, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others, for my upcoming research projects,” Phua said. “At the same time, I also hope to grow as a Health Communication scholar, and contribute significantly to the field in the near future.”

Phua thanked his dissertation chair and communication professor Michael Cody, communication professor Margaret McLaughlin, and USC School of Social Work professor Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, who he said gave encouragement and helpful comments and suggestions during his dissertation writing process. He also thanked USC Annenberg faculty members Larry Gross, Dmitri Williams, Sheila Murphy, and USC Keck professor Tom Valente “for being such wonderful teachers and mentors.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the five years I spent at USC Annenberg pursuing my Ph.D., and learned a lot from the faculty here, who are among the top scholars and researchers in the field,” Phua said. “I will always be thankful for their kindness and support over the years, and am happy to be a part of the USC Trojan family. Fight on!”

Other USC Annenberg student awards included:

  • Adam S. Kahn received a Top 2 Student Paper Award in the Communication and Technology Division for his paper titled "Social Presence, Re(de)fined."
  • Ioana Literat won the Top Student Paper award in the Visual Communication Division for her paper titled "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Participation: Theorizing Crowdsourced Art."
  • Jessica Neff (now an adjunct professor) received Honorable Mention for the W. Charles Redding dissertation award.
  • Minhee Son won Top Student Submission Award in the Intergroup Communication Interest Group.
  • Rong Wang was runner-up for the Top Student Paper Award from ICA’s environmental communication interest group. The paper is about an environment project she worked on at International Development Research Centre.

Dozens of other USC Annenberg professors, students and alumni are presenting at this year’s 2012 ICA Conference. For a full schedule of events, please refer to the ICA Conference program.

International Communication Association
ICA Conference 
ICA Conference program