The Fourth Annual Rammy Awards takes it to the next level, sacrificing nothing

Suffolk students and faculty sat side by side in a packed Modern Theatre and enjoyed a night of visual arts at the Rammy Awards, which took place April 14.  Now in its fourth year, the Rammy Awards were created to recognize and celebrate Communication and Journalism Department students who have excelled in visual media, establishing a Suffolk tradition that will hopefully motivate students to further share their work and pursue their goals in film and photography.

The awards began with a hilarious number that featured Rammy Sr. showing the new Rammy mascot the ropes, both decked out in ninja attire and training to the song “Moment of Truth.” Rammy Sr.’s coaching of Rammy Jr. ended with the latter successfully kicking a bull mascot’s butt. After the bull took a beating, all mascots took off their masks to reveal CJN students and professors as well as Rammy Committee member Jason Carter, who proudly sported the old Rammy costume.

Following Rammy’s training bit was a performance by the Suffolk University Dance Company. Wearing glittery black dresses, the ever-sassy dance team jazzed it up to the song, “Hey Big Spender,” before the introduction of master of ceremonies.

Out walked Dr. Dana Rosengard wearing a tuxedo, complete with a sequined blue vest (it was beautiful), to start the awards – after cracking a few jokes, of course. Nearly 200 students submitted entries across 11 categories this year, all of which were judged by visual media experts throughout the U.S. Student work was sent to judges with high professional standards thanks to the help of the 2011 Rammy Awards Committee: Jason Carter, Nina Huntemann, Sasha Lekic, Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, Monika Raesch, and Dana Rosengard.

Dr. Susan Alessandri presented the award for strategic communication to Melissa Johnson and Julie Pike for their marketing project, “Mariposa.” Next were the photography awards, presented by Prof. Bruce Butterfield, which were awarded to Monica Anc for “Heavy Catch” (black and white category) and Eric Balcanoff for “Canyon Sunset” (color category).

After the presentation of the first three awards, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kenneth Greenberg spoke to attendees about how far along the Rammy Awards have come in the past four years. He thanked Dr. Dana Rosengard, CJN faculty, and CJN students for their dedication before Prof. Ken Martin took the stage to present additional photography awards.

The photography award for spot news was awarded to Eric Balcanoff for “After the Storm,” while Monica Anc received the photo essay award for “Boston Marathon: Triumph and Tragedy.” After all four photography awards were presented, it was clear that Balcanoff and Anc have excelled in the area of photography during their time at Suffolk.

Rampage, Suffolk’s show choir, then took the stage for a couple of song and dance numbers. Following Rampage’s performances was the award for music video, presented by Prof. David Reeder to Robert Nordberg for “Favorite Girl.”

Dr. Dana Rosengard next awarded Ashley O’Donnell and Katie Sampson for “MBTA Updates” in the hard news reporting category. A belly dancing performance – which admittedly was a bit random, but entertaining nonetheless – by Sara Carlisle, Miss Boston 2011, followed.

Prof. Jason Carter then presented the award for in-depth reporting/documentary to Nicole Lee for Strangers You’ve Never Met, undoubtedly a film favorite that night. Lee graciously accepted the award via Skype message, as she was abroad.

CJN Department Chair Dr. Robert Rosenthal, better known as Dr. Bob to CJN students, said a few words following the documentary award presentation and congratulated all students who submitted for this year’s Rammys. Dr. Monika Raesch then took the stage to present the award for fiction short to Paul Davis Lyons for  String Theory, another film favorite that generated a lot of buzz that night.

The Suffolk University Dance Company once again took the stage, performing to the song “Vogue” by Madonna. Next, Prof. Frank Irizarry handed out the award for commercial/PSA, which was presented to Mason Marino, Justin Callahan, and Michael Diaz for Take the Stairs – a hilarious public service announcement about all of the potential horrors that come with riding one of Suffolk’s elevators.

The feature news reporting award, presented by Dr. Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, was given to Ashley O’Donnell and Eric Hurt for Drag Performance 101. O’Donnell, another two-time winner this year, is undeniably a front runner in the broadcast journalism program with her professional approach to reporting news around Suffolk.

The 2011 Rammy Awards ended with a last word from Dana Rosengard, who thanked all students, faculty, judges, and theatre staff for their participation in the night’s ceremonies. Special thanks went out to Jerry Glendye, Keith Erickson, Diane Raymond, Mike DiLoreto, Jillian Murphy, and Bruce Wickelgren for their active roles in the CJN department. Words of optimism and enthusiasm about next year’s Rammy Awards concluded the night.

Dean Greenberg summed it up best: “I want to call this what it really is – a tradition. A Suffolk tradition.”