Recent Accomplishments of Our Students and Alumni

Current students and alums

K. Megan Kerns, a 2009 master’s degree graduate, has won the 2009 Outstanding Thesis Award for the University of Illinois Springfield. Kerns, who served as the Communication Department’s graduate assistant from 2007-2009, is the first graduate student from Communication to win the prestigious award. Kerns will receive $500, and UIS will forward her thesis to the regional Outstanding Master’s Thesis competition, sponsored by the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools.
For her thesis entitled “Does Hannah Montana really do homework?” Kerns conducted a content analysis on the portrayal of school in the popular Disney Channel series.

Greg Bishop, who received his undergraduate degree in 2009 and is studying in the Communication master’s program, won an Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award in July 2009. Bishop won for Best Use of New Media in the category of Medium Market Radio. He is a producer, director and editor at WMAY-AM Radio in addition to being a UIS student.

Two photography students, Sue Huskins and Andy Mitkos, had their works published in Photographer’s Forum Best of College Photography. Huskins, a graduate student, was honored in 2008, while undergraduate Mitkos’ work was featured in 2009.

Nick Bressan has been promoted to retail advertising supervisor at The State Journal-Register in Springfield. Nick earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication in 2004. In his new position, Nick is overseeing retail advertising for both print and online editions.

Alumnus Michelle Burch Coleman, who received her undergraduate degree in 1997 and her graduate degree in 1999 from the UIS Communication Department, was promoted to associate professor at Clark State University in Ohio, where she is the head of the Communication Program. She also is publishing the second edition of her communication textbook.

Rikeesha Cannon Phelon has been named press secretary for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. She received her master’s in Communication in 2005.

If you are a Communication student or graduate who has won an award, been promoted or obtained a new position, please let us know so we can add you to our list. Email the Communication Department at or call 217-206-6790