Sin city was met with three Cabrini College students who flew in to receive the Best of Festival Award for their audio documentary at the 8th annual BEA Best of Festival Foundation Awards Ceremony held Friday, April 14.
“When I got the call that we had won an award I was actually on a road trip to New Orleans,” Gillian Davis, senior communication major, said. “The whole time I was at Mardi Gras I kept thinking about my trip to Vegas!”
Davis’ excitement resonated with the other two Cabrini students, Mallory Terrence and Cait Friel, both senior communication majors as well.
The three students were recognized internationally for their audio documentary on global food insecurity.
“The girls had been working on this documentary for almost 2 years,” Heather Fullerton, coordinator of communication center operations and general manager of WYBF-FM, said. “The executive staff of the radio class is required to create an audio documentary that either follows the curriculum of social justice or touches on a topic of significance to the community.”
The three students found their topic through another class called Sem 300 taught by Dr. Jerome Zurek, professor and chairman of the communication department. It was this particular class that motivated the girls to make a dual project out of their documentary.
“Since it was a dual project that both myself and Dr. Zurek would be grading, they put a lot more energy into it. Plus the topic was so broad it required a lot more in depth research,” Fullerton said.
According to Fullerton, the three students spent the entire spring semester last year gathering information and interviewing people.
“We discussed a lot of social justice issues in Sem but the main focus was primarily food insecurity,” Terrence said. “I was actually interested in food insecurity even before Sem 300 and had attended events like Philabundance.”
Terrence had collected a lot of information that led her to prompt her group to choose the topic.
“Mallory had a lot of information already but when Cait and I joined forces with her we came up without a lot more hearty information,” Davis said.
The three students were accompanied by Fullerton on their three-night four-day stay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cabrini funded the airfare and hotel costs as well as transportation to the ceremony site.
“This was just so cool that we got to fly out to Vegas of all places and to be appreciated for all of our work,” Friel said. “Heather said the BEA hasn’t awarded someone in this particular category in almost 18 years for an audio documentary.”
During the ceremony the students were to accept an award as well as deliver a speech. Davis took the role of narrating the acceptance speech.
“I was practicing the speech over and over, even counting the key points I wanted to make on my fingers!” Davis said. “Then when I stepped up to the podium and the bright lights were blaring… in all honesty I have no clue what I even said. It wasn’t until I saw the speech on Youtube that I could breathe knowing I was professional.”
Friel and Terrence applauded Davis’ hidden nerves in her delivery.
The three students, according to Terrence, gelled especially well together in creating the award-winning documentary piece.
“We all just took different roles like I was the one who organized all of the interviews, Gill spent most of her time editing the audio till it was perfect and Cait did most of the behind the scenes work like typing up the entire script,” Terrence said.”
The students and Fullerton were the first at Cabrini to receive the award in Las Vegas. The students were one out of 900 entries to enter and the specific category the student’s received a prized recognition for was the student 2-year/small colleges competition. A $1,000 cash prize in addition to the invitation to the ceremony collectively granted the students “an experience of a lifetime.”
“These three students are a good example of the underdog coming out on top,” Fullerton said. “No one expected this level of recognition, not because they aren’t talented. I think it was their determination to not only leave a legacy of WYBF, but to really advocate with their multimedia skills that fueled them to think ‘hey this can go somewhere.’”
To listen to the award-winning audio documentary visit www.wybf.com