The Communication and Creative Arts department script writing students of Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond campus have regularly created award-winning work that has been recognized by the Broadcast Education Association since 2002. This year, four of the eight submissions won awards for achievement by the BEA.
The BEA Student Script Writing Award Ceremony was held during the BEA Convention on April 17 in Las Vegas.
BEA is the premiere international academic media organization, driving insights, excellence in media production, and career advancement for educators, students, and professionals. Annually, the BEA hosts the Festival of Media Arts competitions for faculty and students highlighting outstanding media accomplishments.
Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond students have submitted their scripts to the BEA student script writing competition every year and have been successful in receiving awards most years. Purdue University Calumet has competed with prestigious universities such as San Jose State University, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Missouri State University and California State University, Northridge.
Mary Beth O’Connor, an associate professor in the Communication and Creative Arts department who teaches a variety of broadcasting and advertising courses including script writing, said she is exceedingly proud of her students and the professional level of their work and effort.
“I’m proud to be a part of a department that allows and encourages creativity and discourages mediocrity when it comes to teaching,” O’Connor said.
Throughout the years of teaching the class, O’Connor has taught each student a unique process to writing a script. This process is taught to the next incoming script writing students, which further prepares them for possible competition submissions. Along with O’Connor’s guidance, the students each implement a style of their own into their work.
Andrew Morris, a communication graduate student at Purdue University Calumet, was awarded 1st place in the BEA student script writing competition for his script “In Persona Christi,” in the short film category. He said the award is another form of acknowledgment that helps give meaning to his work.
“It’s a first step for me. It’s the beginning and not the end,” Morris said. “Everything you write is a lesson.”
Morris said that he feels a sense of community when collaborating or working with peers and faculty. He said his peers and O’Connor help with the development process when it comes to the creative element.
“Mary Beth and Purdue really give you the framework,” Morris said. “If the idea is the same as when you started, then you have not gone through the creative process.”
There were many other award recipients including “Bates Motel: A Lamb to the Slaughter,” which won 2nd place in the television specs series category and was written by students Aaron Davis, Ryan Maxwell, Victoria Montanez and Mickey Vincent.
O’Connor understands the competitive nature of the working class, and the entertainment industry is no exception.
“The BEA script writing competition is highly prestigious and competitive. So winning this award, or coming from a program that consistently wins these awards, will go a long way on student resumes in giving them a competitive edge,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said that by winning these competitions consistently, the students show that they can take on the challenges of the entertainment industry and succeed.
“It says that students were born and raised in Northwest Indiana are just as talented as those born and raised in Hollywood,” O’Connor said.