MSU students, employees earn 18 top awards in state public relations competition

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Portrait of Karie Pinnix
Karie Pinnix (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University spring graduate Karie R. Pinnix is the 2021 Student of the Year for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, joining other MSU students and professionals receiving high honors during the annual PRAM awards ceremony.

MSU students and employees received 18 awards at the virtual recognition event, including Pinnix’s honor and another for fellow MSU spring graduate Abbie Kate Hancock.

The PRAM Student of the Year Award, presented by CSpire, honors Pinnix’s dedication to the public relations field and comes with a $1,000 scholarship. The Mathiston native graduated summa cum laude with an MSU bachelor’s in communication and concentrations in both public relations and print and digital journalism. Among other activities, she served as creative coordinator for the Department of Communication’s Public Relations Integrated Student Media Agency, or PRISM. She currently serves as a communications assistant for Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting, a Bridgeport, Connecticut-based strategic communications and marketing agency.    

Portrait of Abbie Kate Hancock
Abbie Kate Hancock (Photo submitted)

Hancock received the Gregory Raimondo Outstanding Public Relations Student Award, presented by the PRAM River City chapter. The summa cum laude graduate from Cullman, Alabama, earned an MSU bachelor’s in communication with a concentration in public relations. While an MSU student, she interned with the university’s Bulldog Club, Department of Communication, and Bagley College of Engineering, as well as the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. She also served as PRISM account coordinator and president of the MSU Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.

“The long list of awards is a testament to the hard work of our talented students and dedicated faculty,” said Terry Likes, professor and head of MSU’s Department of Communication. “Our PR faculty work hard to bring real-world experience to the classroom.”

The PRAM awards, judged by professionals outside the geographical boundaries of the Southern Public Relations Federation—Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana—recognize outstanding work by Mississippians in the public relations field and celebrate select individuals for their contributions to the profession in both the public and private sectors. PRism Awards represent top honors. Award-winning entries demonstrate process, results and creativity beyond tactical excellence.

Those recognized from Mississippi State University include:

Professional PRism Winners

  • Leah Barbour, Michaela Parker, Tim Allison, Brian Utley, Bonnie Coblentz, Ellen Graves, Steph Lau, Office of Agricultural Communications, “Turfgrass Research Field Day,” integrated communications.

Professional Awards of Excellence

  • Checky Herrington, Heather Rowe and Bethany Shipp, Office of Public Affairs, “MSU Winter Express 2020 Marketing Campaign,” marketing.
  • Checky Herrington, Heather Rowe and Bethany Shipp, Office of Public Affairs, “MSU Summer Advantage 2020 Marketing Campaign,” marketing.
  • Laura McPhail, Dominique Lewis, Femi Sobayo, Annie Price, Mariah Stevens and Drew Gardner, National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC), “Nexus Magazine, Spring 2020,” advertising and publications.
  • Laura McPhail, NSPARC, “Bringing Home the Benjamins: Economic Impact of Mississippi Community Colleges,” writing.
  • Dominique Lewis, NSPARC, “Help is on the Way,” writing.

Student Awards of Excellence

  • Carly Pippin, Lauren Lucas, Charlotte Corr, John Nix Arledge and Terri Hernandez, PRISM/Department of Communication, “Center for Community-Engaged Learning Annual Publication and Social Media Management,” integrated communications.
  • Marisa Laudadio, Madeline Burdine, Anna Owens, Amelia Henson and Terri Hernandez, PRISM/Department of Communication, “John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Website Renewal,” digital.

Certificates of Merit

  • Elizabeth Gregory North, Annette Woods, Nathan Gregory, Ellen Graves, Art Shirley, Leah Barbour, Michaela Parker and Keri Lewis, Office of Agricultural Communications, “Being Counted Matters: Mississippi Promotion of the U.S. Census 2020,” community relations and public service.
  • Elizabeth Gregory North, Kim Trimm, Phillip Smith, Art Shirley, Stephanie Lau, Ellen Graves, Keryn Page, Robyn Hearn, Chris Sowers and Stan Moreland, Office of Agricultural Communications, “Be a Hero: Protect Your People from COVID-19 Campaign,” crisis communications.
  • Brian Utley, Jonathan Parrish, Keri Lewis, Michaela Parker, Mike Russell, Zac Ashmore and Elizabeth Gregory North, Office of Agricultural Communications, “Voices from the Flood,” potpourri.
  • Ellen Graves and Michaela Parker, Office of Agricultural Communications, “Why I Wear a Mask,” crisis communications.
  • Checky Herrington and Bethany Shipp, Office of Public Affairs, “MSU Bachelor of Applied Science Degree Commercial,” audio and video.
  • Checky Herrington and Bethany Shipp, Office of Public Affairs, “MSU Summer Advantage 2020 Commercial,” audio and video.
  • Mckinsy Harris, Bailey Sennett, Majesty Henry and Terri Hernandez, PRISM/Department of Communication, “Mercedes-Benz of Tuscaloosa: ‘The MBT Experience’ Social Media Campaign,” social media management.
  • Baylee Hill, Olivia Micer, Mary Nielson Clinton, Majesty Henry and Anna Blount, PRISM/Department of Communication, “MBT Social Media Campaign – ‘The People Behind the Brand,’” social media management.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at