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Austin Peay State University communication Students, Professors win big at Tennessee Communication Association

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) communication professors and students recently won several awards at the Tennessee Communication Association (TCA) 2021 Annual Convention.

Dr. Jessica Morris won the Horizon Award, which recognizes emerging leadership in the TCA, and Dr. Tracy Nichols won the Dortha Norton Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the organization and communication discipline in Tennessee.

“I always look forward to learning from Dr. Morris as she always has opportunities for her students to gain hands-on experience with the content we are learning in class,” said Ashleigh Songer, an APSU communication senior who won second place in the Undergraduate Paper Competition at the convention. “Dr. Nichols thrives on supporting her students and takes pride in recognizing their hard work. She constantly pushes her students to do their absolute best and is always there to provide insight.

Taylor Hastings
Taylor Hastings

Nichols mentored all five of the APSU student winners at the convention. Austin Peay State University swept the Undergraduate Paper Competition and took two of the top three spots in the Graduate Paper Competition.

Taylor Hastings, a Knoxville senior studying professional communication, won the Undergraduate Paper Competition. She said she was “surprised, thrilled, and honored” that her paper, “Connecting with Our Community” – an awareness campaign for the Florence Crittenton Agency – won.

Songer, a senior double majoring in public relations and corporate communication from Winchester, Tennessee, said she was “ecstatic to hear” how her paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility Plan for Miss Lucille’s Marketplace,” finished.

Michelle Turner
Michelle Turner

“I felt that all my hard work had paid off,” she said.

Isabella Christenson’s paper, “Golly G’s Corporate Social Responsibility,” finished third.

In the Graduate Paper Competition, Michelle Turner won second place with her paper, “Servant Leadership and the Dalai Lama.”

“I was honestly a little surprised to find out that I had placed, but I’m very honored and excited to even be considered, especially among some really great paper submissions,” said Turner, a marketing communication graduation student from Cleveland, Tennessee.


Katelan Thompson, who won third for her paper, “The Montgomery County Court System: COVID Crisis Management Plan.”

Ashleigh Songer
Ashleigh Songer

“The timing of the award was impeccable,” she said. “When I received notice, it was a time when I was feeling discouraged about my future. It felt great to know that my paper was good enough to be recognized by the TCA.”

All of the students congratulated Drs. Morris and Nichols for their awards.

“They both contribute so much to the communication department here at Austin Peay, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to learn from them,” Turner said.

To learn more about the Austin Peay State University Department of Communication, visit www.apsu.edu/communication.

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