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2018 Faculty, Staff Awards Announced

2018 Faculty, Staff Awards Announced

The University of the Ozarks’ Board of Trustees presented its annual faculty and staff awards during the 2018 Trustees Awards Banquet, held April 27 in the Rogers Conference Center. Among the recipients for 2018 were (pictured, from left) Patti Schuh, enrollment data manager; Debbie Siebenmorgen, accountant; Tammy Harrington, professor of art; Susan Edens, assistant professor of practice for communication; and Lisa Gruben-Inness, office manager for the Jones Learning Center. Harrington and Edens each received the Richard and Katherene Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award. Gruben-Inness was honored with the Arnold G. Sims Outstanding Staff Award and Siebenmorgen earned the Alvin C. Broyles Outstanding Staff Award. Schuh was presented the 2018 Dr. Rick and Sheree Niece President’s Above and Beyond Outstanding Service Award. Several other faculty and staff members also received service awards, including Heather Dickerson, Gruben-Inness, Dr. Joel Hagaman, Dr. Brett Stone, Greg Stone, Marilyn Harris and Susan McKee for 10 years of service; Monica Frizzell, Dr. Deborah Sisson, Eddie Wood and Glenda Wood for 15 years; Felecia Atkinson, Lou Chapman, Edens and Kimberly Spicer for 20 years; Dawn Schull Dvoracek for 25 years; and Deborah Mooney and Stuart Stelzer for 35 years. The trustees also recognized five employees who announced their retirements this year: Marian Askins, office manager for the Mathematics and Sciences Division; Dr. Rickey Casey, professor of management and former director of the Walton International Scholarship program; Lou Chapman, academic program coordinator in the JLC; John Hodge, maintenance technician; and Carl Ramsey, head women’s basketball coach. University of the Ozarks senior Ivan Bustillo’s final semester has been quite memorable. The radio-television-video (RTV) major from El Salvador will cap a notable last semester when he receives his diploma on Dec. 16, during the Fall 2017 Commencement ceremony. Earlier in the semester, Bustillo won the prestigious Student Pillar of Excellence Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America chapter for his short film, “Upside Down and Backwards.”  In mid-November, Bustillo returned to El Salvador, where he served as the host for the BT7 Digital Festival, one of Latin America’s largest gatherings of digital innovators and policymakers. “It’s really been a crazy semester,” Bustillo said. “It seems like everything is coming together for me at the right time.” Bustillo won his Student Pillar of Excellence Award in the category of photography for his film about local artist David Rackley. whose technique involves taking black and white photography and painting images on them with oils. “It’s a fascinating process and it conveyed very well on film,” Bustillo said. “Just the unique technique of the artist inspired me to try some different things as I was filming it. I really wanted to capture how unique and different the process was. I was happy with the final product, but I was still very surprised when I found out I had won. It’s a very competitive award and there were a lot of great entries.” Known as Little Viejo in his home country, Bustillo is a popular YouTuber and blogger in Central America. He currently has more than 2 million followers combined on all of his social media channels. His videos consist of funny monologues about any topic, primarily relating to youth. He is very religious and often gives advice based on the Bible. “I believe that my video blogs are popular because of my sense of humor and because of the Christian values that I constantly share through my content,” Bustillo said. “I always try to entertain people, but I also leave something useful and positive that my viewers can take from it. Most of my audience members are teens, and I strongly believe that God has given me influence to show His love and teach His word. Nevertheless, I always try to deliver high quality content in every sense. Script, audio, video, acting and publishing are factors that I carefully work on every single time.” Bustillo’s prowess as a blogger led him to being selected as the host for the BT7 Digital Festival. “Basically, I was in charge of the opening, introducing the speakers and setting the mood for the event,” Bustillo said. “It was a great experience.” Following graduation, Bustillo plans to start his own content creation business that is focused on digital and mixed media. He credited his professors at U of O for helping him hone and advance his skills as a digital storyteller. “Ozarks was able to take what was an interest and help turn it into a career,” Bustillo said. “I’ve been able to get great hands-on experience in the RTV program and I’ve had the opportunity to go to some great conferences and workshops away from campus. For a young man from Central America to come here and get a great education both inside the classroom and outside the classroom is a wonderful blessing.” TEDx is coming to University of the Ozarks thanks to the efforts and ingenuity of three senior communication majors. Iván Bustillo, Daniel Valenica and Chloe Welsh are organizing and presenting the event, TEDxUofOzarks, on campus as part of their senior capstone project in the communication program. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in the Rogers Conference Center. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks that run 18 minutes or less and are then posted online. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics ? from science to business to global issues ? in more than 100 languages. The independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. The three U of O students began planning the event almost a year ago and started the arduous process of applying for a license early last fall. TEDx has previously been held in only a handful of Arkansas communities, primarily larger cities such as Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jonesboro.
"IvánCommunication students (from left) Iván Bustillo, Chloe Welsh and Daniel Valencia are bringing TEDx to campus on March 31 as part of their senior capstone project.
"All three of us love the concept of TED talks and we thought it would be a great idea to see if we could hold one here at Ozarks," said Valencia, a marketing and communication major from La Libertad, El Salvador. "It's typically not held in smaller cities so we wanted to help bring the first one to this area. It turned out to be a pretty complicated process to apply for the license and to get everything organized. It's definitely been a lot of work but it's also been something we've enjoyed doing." The theme for TEDxUofOzarks will be "A Positive Spark," according to the organizers. "We want the speakers to talk about their career and life passions and how they ignited that passion," said Bustillo, a radio-television-video (RTV) major from La Libertad, El Salvador. "We want the audience members to leave the event inspired and motivated to find and pursue their own passions." Welsh, a strategic communication major from Fayetteville, Ark., said TEDx is an ideal event for a college campus. "The University brings in great speakers throughout the year but we wanted to bring in a group of speakers with diverse topics and backgrounds in an intimate setting, all in one day," Welsh said. "There's a lot of great energy and excitement around a TEDx event and we wanted to bring that kind of atmosphere here." The three organizers said the collaborative efforts to bring the event to campus has been very rewarding. Bustillo has handled most of the marketing and graphic design work, Welsh has taken care of the public relations and Valencia has worked on much of the licensing and legal areas. "We've learned that each of us have strengths that we can bring to the project," Bustillo said. "It's been exciting to work on this project together and see how our different roles are helping to make it all work. We're using the knowledge we've learned in the classroom for four years and are applying it to an event that we believe can make a difference on campus." The event is expected to have approximately 12 speakers, each talking for less than 18 minutes. The organizers have already lined up several speakers who are regional experts and academics in areas such as sustainable agriculture, economic justice, literature and world language. "We're excited about the speakers we've got coming in and we're still working on several others," Valencia said. "It's pretty amazing how this whole thing started as an idea a year ago and now it's almost a reality." The event will be limited to 100 seats. The cost is $25 for general admission and $15 for U of O students, which covers lunch and a goody bag. Interested participants are encouraged to preregister online at

University of the Ozarks alumnus and award-winning journalist Evan Hoffmeyer will return to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 30, for a guest lecture in the Radio, Television and Video (RTV) program.


Evan Hoffmeyer '07, a three-time Associated Press award-winning journalist, will give a lecture at Ozarks on Nov. 30.

Hoffmeyer, a 2007 Ozarks graduate, will speak during Ryan Rose's video editing class, which runs from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in Walker Hall Room 133. The campus community is invited to attend the lecture.

After a brief talk on improving one's interviewing skills and making the transition into a first professional job, Hoffmeyer will open the floor for questions.

Hoffmeyer, a three-time Associated Press award-winning journalist, is a digital producer at WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis. In that position, he traveled to Cleveland this past summer to cover the Republican National Convention. He has also covered state-level politics at the Indiana state capitol as well as a six-week long trial in South Bend, Ind. that was called one of the most important trials in the state's modern history.

Hoffmeyer has also worked as a newscast producer and digital producer in Arkansas at KATV, the ABC affiliate in Little Rock; KARK, the NBC affiliate in Little Rock; and KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith. He has remained actively involved in the Ozarks community since graduating, including serving a six-year term on the Alumni Association's Board of Directors.

The University of the Ozarks' communication department will present live, local coverage of the general election throughout the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8. The University's educational access TV station, KUOZ 6, will begin broadcasting KUOZ Election Night at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8. The coverage will be aired in the Clarksville area on Suddenlink's channel 6, as well as on the web at and on KUOZ's Facebook page KUOZ Election Night will feature stories about the local issues on the Johnson County ballot, and will also provide information about candidates running for local offices. There will be a news crew at the Johnson County courthouse reporting live as returns are announced. In addition, throughout the night there will be segments in Spanish live from the studio and the courthouse. More than 30 students from various U of O communication classes, as well as other disciplines across campus, will be working on the production, which is being supervised by faculty members in the communication department. This will be the third consecutive presidential election that KUOZ 6 has covered locally. University of the Ozarks RTV student Gil Lebois took home three awards, including first place in the public affairs category, at the Spring Creek Festival, held this past weekend in Springdale, Ark.
"GilGil Lebois took home first place at the Spring Creek Festival in the category of public affairs with his video, "1440>Than Me."
The fourth annual festival is dedicated to supporting high school and college artists and connecting them to industry. Lebois, of Saint Etienne, France, took top honors in the collegiate public affairs category with his short film, "1440>Than Me," which chronicled the offseason community service efforts of the football program at Clarksville High School. The video can be seen here: Lebois also placed second in the landscape photography category with his photo, "Glory Hole," and placed third in the music video category with "Arkansas Landscapes." U of O students DJ Baston and Martin Trussell also attended the festival, as did the University's new vice president for advancement and director of enrollment management, Reggie Hill. "We are proud of our program and of our students' work," said Susan Edens, assistant professor of practice of communication. "The students represented our program and our University very well at the college fair. The awards are icing on the cake and we are proud of Gil and all of our students." The festival received more than 700 entries and awarded a total 30 prizes. High schools from throughout the region attended the event as well as college students from University of Central Arkansas, Princeton, Arkansas-Little Rock, Missouri State, Oklahoma City Community College and Chapman.

Christian Johnston's dream of a career in sports broadcasting received a significant boost this week when he learned he had been chosen to receive the prestigious Jim Elder Good Sport Scholarship.

Named in memory of the long-time legendary Arkansas sportscaster, the scholarship is awarded to broadcasting and journalism college students in Arkansas and is worth $6,000 for the 2016-17 academic year. Johnston, a sophomore RTV major from Hamburg, Ark., was one of five students in the state this year to win the scholarship and the first-ever from Ozarks.

"I was pretty excited when I found out I had won it," said Johnston. "This not only helps me and my family financially, but it's also a tremendous boost to my confidence and to my professional goals. To know that I can compete with other students around the state and do well is a great feeling."


Sophomore RTV major Christian Johnston has been named one of the state's five recipients of the Jim Elder Good Sport Scholarship.

Johnston learned of the scholarship from one of his professors, Susan Edens. After writing a paper about his career goals, filling out the application and securing letters of recommendation from his professors, Johnston traveled to Little Rock for his interview on March 30. By the time he returned home that evening, he had already received an email informing him that he had won the scholarship.

"I knew the interview had gone really well, but I was still surprised how quickly I got the news," he said. "I just talked to them about my love for sports and for broadcasting. It was more like a conversation than an interview."

An avid fan who has followed sports his entire life, Johnston said his professional goal is to work in some aspect of sports broadcasting.

He has already gained invaluable hands-on experience in his first two years in the U of O communication program, helping broadcast several basketball games with Eagles play-by-play announcer Steve Mercure. He plans to add baseball and softball to his announcing resume soon.

"I've been pretty amazed how quickly I've been able to come in and get real experience," Johnston said. "I think the people with the Jim Elder scholarship were pretty impressed by that as well. The professors here are great about letting you jump in and learn as you go, but they are also willing to help you when you need it. It's been a wonderful experience and I can't wait to see what the future holds for me."

Elder, who died in 1998, served as the play-by-play announcer for the Arkansas Travelers from 1960 to 1993 and was a long-time sportscaster with KARN in Little Rock. He was an 11-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year and was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Students with University of the Ozarks' radio station KUOZ FM-100.5 recently earned some well-deserved international recognition.

Several student-produced and student-hosted shows on KUOZ received accolades at the 76th annual International Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference's 2015-16 Awards Program, held March 5 in New York City.

The conference featured more than 150 speakers, sessions, tours, and more than 1,000 attendees from around the world.

In the category of Best Specialty Music Show, Ozarks students won first place for "From the Concert Hall," created and produced by Corbin Sturch and co-hosted by Sturch, Meredith Childre and Lauren Charters.


University of the Ozarks students (from left) Madeleine Harred, Chance Silvey, Corbin Sturch and Sam Sjovall received honors at the recent Intercollegiate Broadcasting System's 2015-16 Awards Program in New York City.

Sturch also earned finalist honors with 2015 graduate Corey Pintado in the Best Live Music Broadcast category for their production of "Chamber Singers."

The show "Enter the Dungeon," earned finalist awards in the categories of Best Specialty Show and Best Use of Social Media. "Enter the Dungeon" is co-produced by Chance Silvey and Sam Sjovall and includes co-host Madeleine Harred, who also handles the show's social media.

It's the second consecutive year that Ozarks has fared well in the national competition. Last year, Alix Tiegs was named an IBS finalist for producing "The Big Show: Professors of Pop Culture."

"We are very humbled and proud to be selected again this year at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference and awards in New York City," said Susan Edens, assistant professor of practice in communications.  "Our students competed and fared well against much larger schools, such as Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin. We hope to continue to have fun while at the same time improving our on-air, online, and social media product for KUOZ 100.5 and the communication department."

Sturch, a sophomore music, religion and RTV major from Lynn, Ark., described "From the Concert Hall," as a show that delves into the theory, history and culture of music, primarily pre-1955 classical music. He said one of the keys to the Friday evening show's success is the on-air chemistry with his co-hosts, Childre and Charters.

"We all have a background in the arts but we bring different viewpoints and personalities to the show," said Sturch. "We started the show last year but I think it really started to blossom last semester."

"Enter the Dungeon," which airs at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, made its premiere in April of 2015. According to Sjovall, a junior music and RTV major from Bentonville, Ark., the show is "nerdy news, reviews, discussion and debate."

"We provide the ammunition for our listeners to be better nerds," said Silvey, a sophomore marketing major from Gentry, Ark.  "It's a cross between an informative show and a debate show. Basically it's what we would normally talk about around the table in the cafeteria, except we do it on the air."

The topics can range from super heroes, to movies to video and board games.

"We could probably talk for three of four hours," said Harred, a senior strategic communication major from Cumby, Texas. "We never struggle for things to talk about."

The students said going to New York and being a part of the IBS Awards Show has already inspired them to reach higher.

"We were the second smallest school at the event and we were thrilled to do well, but I think we all came away thinking that we can do even better next year," said Sjovall.

Silvey added, "We're already planning new shows and thinking about what categories we want to enter next year."

The University of the Ozarks' communication program is once again providing a platform for aspiring filmmakers with this semester's 48-Hour Movie Project.

This is the third year for the short film competition, which debuted in 2011.  Teams will have 48 hours to conceptualize, write, shoot, edit, and export a 4-6 minute movie.

Registration to enter the contest runs through March 11. The competition is open to U of O students, faculty and staff as well as people in the community, including local high school students.


Teams may not exceed eight members and participants must shoot and edit the film on their own equipment. The project will be limited to the first 10 teams that register.

Entries will be judged by a three-person panel based upon technical merit, creative and aesthetic value, and adherence to competition stipulations. Entrants are also encouraged to create their own soundtracks for the films, whether by creating music themselves, using local artists who have agreed to allow their music to be used in the film or by using royalty free stock music.

The 48-Hour Movie Project will begin with an opening meeting at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 11, in the lower level of Raymond Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel.  During the opening meeting, the festival staff will cover the rules, stipulations and details of the competition. At the end of the meeting, teams will be released to begin working on their films over the next 48 hours. At least one member of each team must be present at the opening meeting. The deadline for film submissions will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 13.

There will be a screening of all the films for the public at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 16, in the Rogers Conference Center on campus. Awards for several categories will be announced during the screening.

To enter, select a team captain, fill out the registration form, and return it to Ryan West at or to the communications department office, located on the first floor of Walker Hall. For more information, please contact West at

48-Hour Movie Project Registration Form 

Several students in the University of the Ozarks' communication department have been named finalists in this year's Intercollegiate Broadcasting System radio awards.

The IBS Trophy Awards honor excellence in programming, air personalities, public service efforts, and outstanding stations at colleges and universities throughout the country. The winners will be announced in March at the 76th annual IBS conference in New York City.

Several shows created and produced by students for the U of O radio station KUOZ were named finalists for this year's award ceremony.

In the category of "Best Live Music Broadcast," Corbin Sturch and 2015 Ozarks graduate Corey Pintado were named finalists for their production of "Chamber Singers."

In the "Best Specialty Show" category, Madeleine Harrod, Chance Silvey and Sam Sjovall were recognized for their show, "Enter the Dungeon." That production was also named a finalist in the category of "Best Use of Social Media."

In the category of "Best Specialty Music Program," Sturch, Meredith Childre, and Lauren Charters were nominated for "From the Concert Hall."

Last year, the KUOZ production of "The Big Show: Professors of Pop Culture," was awarded a Silver Microphone Trophy in the category of "Best Specialty Show" by IBS. Senior RTV major Alix Tiegs produces the weekly, one-hour show for KUOZ.