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Evangel University students find communication skills enhance all aspects of life

Published on Sep 12, 2016 by Paul K. Logsdon

First published in the Springfield News-Leader, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016


SPRINGFIELD, MO — Some students begin their college years with a laser-like focus on their career goals and the single path that will get them there, while others just need time to explore their many options.

Then there are those with a variety of seemingly unrelated skills and interests tugging at their hearts and minds who have discovered that it is OK to embrace the variety and make it work for them.

2016-09.09b Kara Walla, Lance
Kara Walla helps with production of The Lance. // PHOTO BY: The Lance (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Kara Walla is an excellent example of a student who majored in one field, computer sciences, but invested a good part of her college life on another side of the Evangel University campus.

While she focused on her coursework in computer information systems, Walla scheduled time to produce award-winning editorial cartoons for Evangel’s campus newspaper, The Lance. She graduated in May with the highest academic honors.

“Kara is a prime example of the openness of our department,” said Melinda Booze, assistant professor of communication at Evangel. “She was not a communication major, but she constantly earned awards for her cartoons, all four years, from state and national organizations.”

Honored for excellence

Spring is award season for college media, and Evangel earned nearly 50 state and national honors this year, based on student media produced during 2015. *** (Complete list below.) ***

“Judges in all contests are media professionals,” said Booze. “This gives these awards particular value.”

The Lance earned 18 awards from the Missouri College Media Association, including eight first place awards in news, sports and design categories.

“Kara won two of those first place honors,” said Booze. “But even more exciting for her was when the Society of Collegiate Journalists awarded her second place in the nation for a cartoon she produced last year.”

Evangel’s student media began with the newspaper when the University was founded in 1955, and opportunities have expanded with the changing times.

“Our students study video, audio and film production, journalism, public relations, advertising, public speaking, multimedia design and much more — all applied through methods of electronic media, print and oral communication,” said Dr. Cameron Pace, chair of the department of communication.

Best in the nation

For the second year in a row, the Evangel University TV news show — Newswatch Today — was awarded first place in the nation by the Society of Collegiate Journalists for “Television News Show Overall Excellence.”

Evangel has a studio and control room that runs state-of-the-art 4K technology, and students do multi-camera live productions in the studio and out on the field.

2016-09.09c Accent photo — ECTV studio
All EUTV shows and EU Films are shown on campus cable and can also be seen through Mediacom subscriptions for Springfield area residents. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Helping produce Newswatch are some of those students with a wide-variety of interests and career goals.

Ryan Leathers is a junior from Wilton, Iowa, and like Kara, he has discovered that working outside of his academic department has helped broaden his abilities.

“I first joined Evangel’s Activities Board to get on the video team,” said Leathers. “It didn’t take long to develop a passion for student leadership. I am loving the opportunity to learn how to lead and direct a team of people.”

Leathers now serves as Activities Board Director. “I definitely feel that these skills are preparing me for my future in the film industry.”

In addition to its award-winning TV newscast, Evangel offers a film major that has earned its share of accolades, too. The Missouri Broadcast Educators Association recently awarded first place in the state to Evangel’s feature film, Electrolyte, which debuted in December 2015.

“Whether they are communication majors or not, students in communication programs gain marketable skills and compile an impressive portfolio to display their skills when entering the workplace,” concluded Pace.

For more information on Evangel’s Department of Communication, contact Dr. Cameron Pace, department chair, at or call (417) 865-2811 ext. 8413.



2016 Student Media Awards


1) EUTV / EU Films / CrusaderMedia

Dr. Cameron Pace, professor of communication, is the faculty adviser for EUTV and EU Films. Dr. Chip Stanek, associate professor of communication, is the faculty adviser for

Society of Collegiate Journalists (national awards)

First Place award:

  • Television – Television News Show Overall Excellence, Newswatch Today

Missouri Broadcast Educators Association (state awards)

First Place Awards, Video

  • Feature Film – “Electrolyte,” Lauren Havard, Noah Giamei, William Hansen
  • News Show – Recurring, Newswatch Today April 9, 2015, Kimberly Moore, Jennifer Walk
  • Commercial – “Brandigm Commercial,” Michael Muench, Andrew Kilpatrick
  • Special Programs – “Ozark In and Outs,” Collin McCage

Honorable Mention, Video

  • Feature Film – “Operation Abacus,” Rajeev Wickramaratne, Andrew Kilpatrick, Peace Aisogun
  • News Show – Recurring, Newswatch Today Nov. 12, 2015, Kevin Gonzales, Jennifer Walk
  • Short Film – “Bloodties,” Michael Muench, Andrew Kilpatrick, Megan Proebsting, Rajeev Wickramaratne
  • Sports Show – EUTV Sports Update – Nov. 17, 2015, Katelyn Dennis, Jared Long

First Place Awards, Multimedia

  • Website –; Jared Long, web master

First Place Awards, Audio

  • Commercial – “RA Airlines,” Ruthie Gilmore, Aaron Durkalski

Honorable Mention, Audio

  • Commercial – “Hurts Donut Dramatic spot,” Michael Gibson, Bryan Ebbrecht
  • Sports Show – “Brock Wilson Sports Interview,” Brock Wilson


Melinda Booze, assistant professor of communication, is the faculty adviser to the campus newspaper. Dari’Anne Hudson, junior, was spring 2015 The Lance editor-in-chief; Kaitlyn Fry, junior, was fall 2015 editor-in-chief.

Society of Collegiate Journalists (national awards)

Second Place award:

  • Newspaper – Cartoon, Kara Walla

Missouri College Media Association (state awards)

First Place awards:

  • Sports Column – Ryan Heffernon
  • News Photography – Alexa Ramos
  • Feature Photography – Katelyn Hammons
  • Nonpolitical/Entertainment Cartoon – Kara Walla
  • Editorial/Op-Ed Page – Lyndsey Hammons, Kaitie Fry, Kara Walla
  • Sports Page – Kaitie Fry
  • Photo Page – Lyndsey Hammons, Kaitie Fry
  • Feature Page – Stevie Smith

Second Place awards:

  • Best Newspaper, Division 3
  • Sweepstakes, Division 3
  • Feature Writing – Stevie Smith
  • Page One Design – Katelyn Hammons, Lyndsey Hammons

Third Place awards:

  • Editorial Writing – Kaitie Fry
  • Page One Design – Kaitie Fry, Lyndsey Hammons, Alexa Ramos

Honorable Mentions:

  • News Writing – Kaitie Fry
  • Sports Writing – Courtney Wolfram
  • Entertainment Review – Kara Walla
  • Feature Photography – Stevie Smith


Nancy Pace-Miller, assistant professor of communication, is the faculty adviser to the campus yearbook.

Society of Collegiate Journalists (national awards)

First Place awards:

  • Yearbook – Concept of the book
  • Yearbook – Overall Excellence
  • Yearbook – Coverage of the year
  • Yearbook – Reporting in Words
  • Yearbook – Design

Second Place awards:

  • Yearbook – Photography

Missouri College Media Association (state awards)

First Place awards:

  • Sports Photography – Rachel Boyd
  • Portrait Design – Brandon Willis

Second Place awards:

  • Overall Theme Development – Excalibur Staff

Third Place awards:

  • Sports Photography – Kaitlyn Hong
  • Student Life Design – Jonathan May

Honorable Mention award:

  • Feature Photography – Abriana DelTufo
  • Sports Photography – Rachel Boyd
  • Student Life Design – Jonathan May-Design Editor


Dr. Mark Kelton, associate professor of communication, serves as the Forensics Team’s faculty adviser. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the Forensics Team earned several awards in persuasive speech and debate.

Six members of the Evangel team competed in the 9th Annual Pan Pacific Championship hosted by the Hawaii Pacific University Debate Society in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • First Place Novice Division – Alyssah Orr and Jared Shipley

For additional information, please feel free to contact Melinda Booze at (417) 865-2815, ext. 8417; Nancy Pace-Miller, ext. 8414; Cameron Pace, ext.  8411; Chip Stanek, ext. 8413; or Mark Kelton, ext. 8415.