Emerge Media Awards: How My University Career Ended


I fell in love at Guelph-Humber – with my peers, my professors and my program. Like any love story worth mentioning, it wasn’t always romantic and heart-warming. In fact, sometimes it was a downright brutally unbearable experience. However, someone once told me that you have to step back and look at the bigger picture; if you’re having more ‘ups’ than ‘downs’ keep going, because it will be worth it – on the other hand if you’re having more ‘downs’ than ‘ups’ maybe it’s time to move on. Fortunately, GH gave me more positive, uplifting, character-building, and challenging (in a good way) experiences then any negative situation could trump. Instead of writing a memoir of the past four years, I just wanted to blog about the end. It’s over. And, the way it ended, completely solidified my choice of attending GH in the first place. I was part of something that was, literally a nation-wide, first-ever project created by students, for students.

The bittersweet conclusion to my four year university career at GH, came in the form of the first ever Emerge Media Awards. I’m honoured to have been part of the “planning and logistics” team headed by some of my amazing, talented and dedicated classmates: Mladen Marin, Melanie Raffa – EMA executives Katie Prud’homme – Planning a Logistic Executive and Sasha-Aliya Khan – Media Relations Executive. The wonderfully encouraging “boss” Kathy Ullyott, a professor, mentor, role model and assistant media studies program head, never stopped pushing the team forward – to our limits, and full capabilities.

After months of planning, writing, editing, research, approvals, waiting, pitching, decisions on decisions of decor, venue, speakers, themes, signage, sponsorship, menus, lighting, meetings, phone calls, dead-ends, deadlines, tweaking, adjusting, more decisions, arguments, discussions, laughter, and probably a few tears – it happened. It came together, and the EMA’s were launched, without a hitch!

The Selection Process

The awards themselves give recognition to media students across Canada; in an evening kicked-off with mingling and cocktails, followed by a three course dinner and award distribution. My team prepared and launched the event, to celebrate the current and future generation of media creators. Student works from the 2014 school year were submitted into six categories: Photography, Written Word, Audio Storytelling, Digital Design, Videography and Integrated Communications. Any student with work from 2014, across Canada was eligible to submit! We reached 120 submissions – pretty kick-ass for the first year, no?

The work was then presented to a panel of 31 industry professional judges – CBC Radio host Donna Tranquada, Ryan Da Silva, a promotion producer at Creative Agency at Shaw Media and Corbin Smith, a freelance photojournalist/photo editor, to name a few. After selecting five submissions from each category, these shortlisted entries were invited to the EMA’s on April 20, 2015 – as well as their families, friends, and judges, and anyone interested in attending.

The EMA’s

Beginning at 5:45 pm guests arrived to the ticketed event held at Humber College. They were greeted by the EMA committee, checked in, and were then able to network, chat and view the works of the short listed entries in the Humber concourse. There, they were served hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar was available. Laptops were set up for attendees to view the written, audio and integrated communication submissions. Photography and digital design pieces were set up on physical easels while a large overhead television broadcast the videography submissions.

Humber Concourse

Humber Concourse

At about 6:45 the charming and humorous Mark Onufer (MC for the evening) jumped onto a platform, clinked a wine glass and invited guests to begin taking their seats in the Humber Room restaurant. The ceremony was about to begin!


Oh-so candid shot of Mark letting guests know that IT’S TIME!


Humber Room: Calm before the storm! Beautiful lighting.


Humber Room: Calm before the storm


Guests being seated, and Rogers Television capturing it all!

During the dinner a few touching words were given by Program Head, Media Studies Jerry Chomyn. When dessert was served, Mark welcomed our keynote speaker. Fittingly an incredibly motivating, humbling, and humorous speech was then presented by the one and only Sean Beckingham. The brilliant mind behind the company “Branding and Buzzing“. Sean’s career is notable on multiple levels and a truly epic tale of following your passion, keeping an open mind and accepting all opportunities – while creating your own. As Humber Alumni, Sean and his team have clearly made waves in the realm of social media, and communication.

This epic “selfie” he took was a huge kick-start to his amazing speech.

11093822_10152671304631370_1603754139_n  11180291_10152671304636370_975859203_n

There is simply no better way to begin speaking to a group of media professionals, but to take a selfie, and roll right into the speech about social media and WHY WE NEED IT! The major takeaways from Sean, and what he emphasized most were: find what you love, be social, and never stop learning! I was fortunate enough to have found Sean, invite him and ask him to be our speaker. I couldn’t be more proud (of myself!) for choosing such an important individual, who gave a speech that not only benefitted the students, but the industry professionals as well.

I had the pleasure of conversing with Sean and his business partner Marian, throughout the EMA process. After many emails and phone calls, meeting them felt surreal. They were engaging and genuinely invested in the celebratory night for young media professionals. Along with industry judges the night was filled with bright students who have even brighter futures. It was humbling to see the work of my peers being recognized and broadcast – literally by Rogers television.

It’s been covered by Inside Toronto, and that’s just a few days after the event!

The award distribution was a beautiful process, where industry professionals – the judges, were able to actually present the awards to each winner.

A huge congratulations to all the short listed entries which can be seen on the EMA website, and an even bigger congrats to those who brought home an EMA trophy!


Written Word: Nicole Wiart, Grant MacEwan University: “Not like chicken or fish; something new – Meet the people behind Canada’s death revolution.”

Audio Storytelling: Julian Uzielli, Western University: “Knights in homemade armour.”

Digital Design: Nicholas Kattis, Maria Ramage et al, Sheridan College: “What are the Chances?”

Videography: Matthew Rovet, University of Guelph-Humber:”Internment.”

Photography: Katie Wyatt, Niagara College: “Karsh emulation of George Bernard Shaw.”

Integrated Communications: Jessica Pollock, Ryerson University: Promotional campaign for Young Soles


As the ceremony concluded, the guests departed and the EMA team stood by the doors distributing swag-bags, exchanging smiles, and good-byes. The evening came, and went. A memory now, the precedent for EMA teams in years to come, and the conclusion to many of my peers’ University careers.

Posted with all kinds of emotion, sentiment, and most of all, love,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s