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Awards and Honors

Awards and Honors

 

The School of Performing and Visual Arts applauds all 2020-2021 Student Award winners. Their work represents the highest calibre of work among a very talented student body. We are pleased to share their accomplishments and recognize them for their dedication and effort.

 

 

Art and Design  Dance  Theatre

 

 

Art and Design

Congratulations to all students in Art and Design for your exceptional work, accomplishments and perseverance in a particularly challenging academic year. We applaud your dedication, and in particularly we highlight these students for your outstanding achievements! 

Awards

Outstanding Student in Art Foundations

This student embodies the highest achievement in the Foundations in Art while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

 

Kriscia Martinez

▪️Art BA (sub-track Graphic Design), Sophomore

Kriscia Martinez is an incredibly talented student exemplifying honesty and a natural sense of curiosity. She is able to be critical of her own work and strives for the utmost in all her artistic efforts regardless of outcome. She understands the processes involved in creating art and embraces the unknown with vigor. Her portfolios of foundations coursework demonstrate what can be achieved through earnest thought and effort. Martinez is a star among the rising sophomore students in our program and has earned the distinction of the Outstanding Student Award in Foundations for 2021.

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Student in BFA Sculpture and Ceramics 

This student embodies the highest achievement in the BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

 

Desirae Oliver

▪️BFA Sculpture, Sophomore

Desirae Oliver

Desirae Oliver is an extraordinary student that faculty finds working in the studio at all hours to master her skills in sculpture. She excels in her studies and is enthusiastic about learning new techniques. Her exceptional abilities were first indicated in her foundations 3D design course, and she continues to work with a great deal of tenacity to succeed by practicing her craft until achieving mastery. She is comfortable in the shop, loves to weld, and the excellent work she produces reinforces that she is building the skills needed to succeed as a professional visual artist

 

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Student in BFA Painting and Drawing

This student embodies the highest achievement in the BFA in Painting and Drawing while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

 


Margaret (Maggie) Edwards

▪️BFA Drawing and Painting, Senior

Margaret Edwards

Maggie Edwards is an outstanding student in the BFA emphasis area of Drawing and Painting. Her figurative artwork explores the subtle dynamics of human interaction via compositions that are bold and captivating. Edwards' artistic sensibility is marked by her keen perception, dedicated focus and strong work ethic. Steadfast in developing her creative vision with intelligence and purpose, Edwards serves as a role model for others.

 

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Student in BFA Graphic Design

This student embodies the highest achievement in the BFA in Graphic Design while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

Christian Gammill

▪️BFA Graphic Design, Senior

Christian Gammill

Christian Gammill is a truly exceptional student designer who has consistently shown a level of excellence throughout his years in the Graphic Design Program. He has demonstrated a unique perspective in all his classes and embraces graphic design with promise, commitment and a desire for the subject matter. The faculty are immensely pleased with his level of talent, his diligent efforts and his willingness to work through many aspects of any project. Gammill consistently produces a high standard of design and is among the best students in the graphic design program at USM.

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Student in Art BA

This student embodies the highest achievement in the Art BA while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

Ashley Vanderkooy

▪️Art BA, Junior

Ashley Vanderkooy

Ashley Vanderkooy is new to USM, but has demonstrated her excellent critical thinking and visual arts skills in the short time she has been our program. Faculty across Art and Design have recognized her talent and ability, and she was an award winner in our 2020-21 Student Show. Amazing things are expected from Vanderkooy as she continues her journey in Art and Design, and the faculty of the Art BA are very pleased to present her with this award.

 

 


Dance 

The Dance program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, has a rich history of student and faculty accomplishments in scholarship, artistry, and education. This has never been more true than this year, where invention of new online practices and performances proved necessary due to COVID, but also resulted in the creation of expanded possibilities and audiences. We are grateful for, and proud of, our dance family and congratulate them on an exceptional year of dancing, dance-making, teaching, and research. 

Awards

Outstanding Freshman in Dance

The award is voted on by all dance faculty and given to a freshman who demonstrates significant improvement and achievement in all dance coursework in a diversity of ways, and who exemplifies a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and commitment to learning and the dance program in general. The Outstanding Freshman in Dance Award recognizes the student who set the standard in these ways this year.

 

Emma Armstrong

Emma Armstrong

Emma Armstrong loved dance from afar for many years. She dreamed of being a dancer and creating dance starting at a young age but never truly sought after it. In later years she found herself thrown into the dance world by surprise and fell instantly in love with every aspect of the art. Armstrong began dancing at 16 and knew she wanted to pursue a college degree in dance instantly, after all why not do what you love! After years of hard work and long recovery from a major injury she has made it to where she is today, pursuing a degree in Dance Education with a minor in Special Education. Armstrong’s goals after graduation are undecided but she knows she wants to be an educator. Armstrong would also like to one day create a dance program that is adaptive for those with special needs where they can grow and learn just like anyone else in an environment cultivated for them.

 

 

 

Award

Outstanding Junior in Dance

The award is voted on by all dance faculty and given to a junior who demonstrates significant improvement and achievement in all dance coursework in a diversity of ways, and who exemplifies a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and commitment to learning and the dance program in general.  The Outstanding Junior in Dance Award recognizes the student who set the standard in these ways this year.

 

Brittany Tolbert

Brittany Tolbert

Brittany Tolbert is a dance major of the School of Performing and Visual Arts at Southern Mississippi. She is on track to receiving her BFA in Performance and Choreography and is also a member of the Honors College. In the future, Brittany plans to further her work and learning in the professional world as a performer writer, and researcher. After college, she will join a company and continue to advocate for the arts, participate in artistic compositions, and contribute to the research community. She also has interests in other subjects, such as environmentalism, sustainability, herbalism, holistic healing, and many other art forms. These, combined with her life as a dancer and performer will not only fulfill her as an artist, but will also allow her to give back to her community and planet in a healthy, healing way.

 

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Senior in Dance

The award is voted on by all dance faculty and given to a senior who demonstrates significant improvement and achievement in all dance coursework in a diversity of ways, and who exemplifies a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and commitment to learning and the dance program in general. The Outstanding Senior in Dance Award recognizes the student who set the standard in these ways this year.

 Pashion Hinnant

Pashion Hinnant

Pashion Hinnant is a graduating Dance Performance & Choreography major at USM. Originally from Wilson, North Carolina, her family moved to Belzoni, Miss. during her sophomore year of high school. Her choreographic and performance works have been shown at the Alabama Dance Festival, Mississippi School of the Arts, and USM. She hopes to leave USM and continue with photography, videography, and welding. 

 

 

 Theatre

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2021 Golden Mask Award Recipient

The BFA Golden Mask Award given each year to a senior BFA (Acting) student showing strong leadership and ability.

Anna Carson-Tyner

Anna Carson-Tyner

 

Awards

Outstanding Graduate Student in Theatre

This award is given to a Graduate student who has made great contributions to the Theatre Program while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

Travis Ascione 

▪️MFA Performance

Travis Ascione


Travis Ascione is a graduating MFA Performance student. He grew up in New Castle, Pennsylvania and received his BA in Theatre from Westminster College. While at Southern Miss he was seen on stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom), Describe the Night (Nikolai), Cabaret (Cliff), The Three Musketeers (Aramis), and, Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson). After graduation, Travis will be joining the Texas Shakespeare Festival for their 2021 season, and plans on continuing to work professionally in the theatre and academia.

 

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Senior in Theatre

For the senior who best exemplifies Theatre values for collaboration and discipline while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

Claire Brenia  

▪️BFA Design and Technology

Claire Brenia

Claire Brenia is a senior currently pursuing her B.F.A. in Theatre Technology and Design, as well as a B.A. in English. She has worked closely with the theatre program during her time at USM, serving as a scenic artisan, designer, and as a work-study intern for the USM Scene Shop. Claire has been involved with a variety of projects, and some of her work includes Bulrusher (2018) and The Wolves (2019) where she served as scenic designer; We're Still Here (2020), where she filled the role of digital compositor; and Watson (2021) where she served as lighting designer.

 

 

 

Awards

2020 Arthur Award Recipient

The Arthur Award Given in memory and with the spirit of Arthur Lessac is meant to empower a student that truly excels in the area of voice and speech. This award includes a 1 year paid membership to the Lessac Training and Research Institute.

 

Bryan Peyton

▪️MFA (Performance)

Bryan Payton

Bryan Peyton is a 3rd year Graduating MFA in Acting candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi from Oklahoma City, OK. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga with a BA in Theatre and minor in Music Performance. While attending Southern Miss, he has played Frau Farhenkopf in The Night of the Iguana, Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing, Big Jule in Guys and Dolls and The Title role in Watson: The Legendary Tales of Sherlock Holmes. Bryan is a Lessac Voice and Body Practitioner and has served Assistant Voice and Dialect Coach for Guys and Dolls, The Revolutionists, We’re Still Here, and Describe The Night for Southern Miss Theatre. He is currently coaching A Midsummer Night’s Dream and teaching voice and improvisational classes for That’s A Wrap! Acting Studio.

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Junior in Theatre

For a junior who has made great contributions to the Theatre Program while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

 

Makallen Kelley 

▪️ Theatre BFA, Performance Theatre 

Makallen Kelley

Makallen Kelley is a Junior B.F.A. Theatre major with an emphasis in performance from Jackson, Mississippi. Over the past year, she has been Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marianne Angelle in The Revolutionists and Lily Miller in Ah, Wilderness! She was involved in several other projects, including the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Bursitis in God, and Sabine in The Flying Doctor.She is the Vice President of Harlem, a Pledge Trainer and the upcoming Vice President in Alpha Psi Omega, and a proud member of the Comedy Club.

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Sophomore in Theatre (Co-recipient)

Outstanding Student performance in many areas in Theatre while also serving as an exemplary role model for other students.

 

Raven Harris 

▪️Theatre BA

Raven Harris

Raven Harris is a General Theatre major with a minor in English. With her love for theatre and English, she enjoys reading, writing, and singing in her free time. 

 

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Sophomore in Theatre (Co-recipient)

For the Sophomore who best exemplifies Theatre standards and values in discipline and collaborations, while also showing outstanding promise.

 

Grace Brauner 

▪️Theatre BA, Sophomore

Grace Brauner

Grace Brauner is a sophomore getting her B.A. in theatre. She has been doing theatre for 12 years, and is so grateful for all the opportunities she’s received at USM including being able to assistant direct! She will be an APO pledge trainer and serve on the student advisory committee next year. She can’t wait to see where USM takes her next!

 

 

Awards

Outstanding Freshman in Theatre 

For the Freshman who best exemplifies Theatre standards and values in discipline and collaborations, while also showing outstanding promise.

 

Laney Birchfield

▪️Theatre BA
▪️ Minor in Dance

Laney Birchfield

Laney Birchfield is a freshman at USM who hopes to major in Theatre and minor in Dance. She loves singing, dancing, acting, and costume design, and hopes to leave Southern Miss as a better performer, designer, and human. 

 

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2021 Sue Ann Park Award

The Sue Ann Park Award given in memory and to a student who is detailed-oriented, rigorous and particularly adept at work connected to voice and speech training.

 

Courtney Jones

▪️Theatre BFA, Acting

Courtney Jones

Courtney Jones is a graduating BFA in Performance senior at the University of Southern Mississippi.  This year, Jones was the Assistant voice and dialect coach for Watson: The Legendary Tale of Sherlock Holmes and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for USM’s Virtual Mainstage. Jones also served as the undergraduate assistant for the Voice for the Actor class in Professor of Voice and Acting and Lessac Certified Voice and Body Trainer, Robin Aronson’s class. As an actress, Courtney was in the USM productions of Cabaret, The Revolutionists and The Exception and The Rule.  This fall, Courtney will be attending the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama to pursue her Masters in Voice Studies. Courtney’s passions include voice and speech training, vocal coaching, IPA and dialects. 

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