Each year, the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media holds the Silver Em awards to recognize Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.
This year, the focus will be on the school’s student award winners at the ceremony set for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 inside the Inn at Ole Miss.
“The purpose is to recognize just under 60 of our amazing students,” said Interim Dean Debora Wenger, “from those who have won the Taylor Medal, to our Dean’s Awards, to those inducted in prestigious honor societies. We will also recognize our Silver Em winner, CNBC news anchor Shepard Smith, who won the award just as the pandemic started. We never got a chance to celebrate him, but we will do so on April 6.”
Zebiba Nassir, along with her colleague Samson Bekele, earned their master’s degrees from our school and are both Ethiopian Airlines executives. They will be traveling to Oxford for the ceremony where Nassir will be recognized with an Excellence in IMC award and Bekele honored with a Dean’s Award.
“Celebrating is part of showing gratitude to the Almighty and the people contributing to my success,” said Nassir, who completed her M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) online. “After years of hard work, there is something gratifying about being able to celebrate these accomplishments properly. To me, this and the graduate achievement award events represent all my rewarding achievements in the past few years. I am also looking forward to finally meeting so many of the professors and Ole Miss community at large in person.”
Bekele said making the dean’s list and attending the Silver Em Awards is an excellent way to commemorate his hard work as a master’s degree student.
“It also shows approval and gratitude for each person’s good job, and it makes people aware that good work will be rewarded,” he said. “It shows others, such as students who might want to get admitted to the (program), and motivates other colleagues. Recognition motivates others to strive for excellence, and we all benefit from it.”
Orlando native Catherine Jeffers will graduate as a Taylor Medalist. Taylor Medals recognize the top undergraduate scholars at the university.
She is earning degrees in journalism and IMC with minors in English and business, and she now serves as the sports editor for The Daily Mississippian. She is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Delta Gamma.
“I’ve always had a strong passion for media writing, storytelling, and good communication, which led me to study journalism, as well as IMC,” Jeffers said. “I’ve always had the desire to move to New York and start my career in communications. A goal of mine is to work in professional sports on the comms side or work for an agency that works with athletes. I’m still currently applying for jobs, but I hope to move to the city after I graduate in May and land an entry-level position in communications.”
Jeffers said she was “floored” when she received an email saying she had been nominated for a prestigious Taylor Medal.
“I remembered going into the (Student Media Center) and telling a few of my coworkers and friends who let me know how important the honor was to even be nominated,” she said. “After I submitted my application after nomination, I remember how proud I was of myself to even be thought of as a potential medalist. When I received the email that I was selected as a Taylor Medalist, I was still shocked.
“I’m so proud of all that I’ve accomplished at Ole Miss and the work that I’ve put in over four years, so it is rewarding to be recognized for it all. I’m very humbled to be honored alongside my peers, and I can’t wait to see all that they achieve after graduation.”
Wenger said the Silver Em ceremony is one of her favorite events of the year.
“When I look out at the room and see the extraordinarily talented students we have in our programs, I am invariably impressed by their academic and professional achievements,” she said. “It’s a testament to their hard work and commitment to excellence.”
Click the image below to access a .pdf of the program and award winners.