Communication Studies

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COMS Awards and Scholarships

Each year, the Communication Studies Department recognizes excellence among our students as demonstrated through academic achievement, acts of service, and community engagement. Through the generous support of alumni and other patrons, we are pleased to offer a number of awards, scholarships, and honors to our undergraduate and graduate students.

To be eligible for awards and scholarships, students must apply for each award separately. Except for the Donald Cameron Award, applicants must be a declared Communication Studies major or graduate student attending California State University, Northridge. Please read the details of each award/scholarship carefully as they each have a different application criteria. In some circumstances, awards are based on demonstrated financial need, so scholarships may be used to meet that need instead of being awarded directly. The submission process is entirely online.

The awards below are only for awards and scholarships in the Communication Studies Department. Students should also consider applying for College and University wide awards. These awards require separate applications and have different eligibility requirements and deadlines.

Application for COMS Awards and Scholarships Now Closed for 2019-2020

Spring Deadline for Applications -- April 1, 2020

NOTE: Receiving a scholarship may impact your financial aid package.  Please see a financial aid counselor.

2019-2020 Awards and Scholarships

Amy Rebman CYI Outstanding Service Award

Amy Rebman was a graduate student and Teaching Associate in the COMS Dept. at the time of her death in 2006.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $100 

Criteria: 

  • Provided to a student who demonstrates excellence in working with the Communication for Youth Institute.
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

 Apply link

Donald Cameron Award

Presented to a non-COMS major who demonstrates excellence in Forensics. 

Don Cameron is Emeritus Professor of rhetorical studies in the COMS Dept. In addition to heading the Debate Program, he served as Dept. Chair, Associate Dean of Students, Vice Provost, and President of WSCA.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $300

Criteria:

  • Awarded to one non-Communication Studies undergraduate student
  • Substantial academic achievement (Minimum 3.0 GPA)
  • Demonstrated excellence in the Forensics. This could be through participation and/or success at tournaments, providing service to the university, college, department, or forensics communities, efforts to create community on the forensics team and/or with surrounding communities, active engagement in forensics related service projects, or other lively and sustained participation with the forensics program

Apply link

Elizabeth Berry Outstanding TA Award

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $300

Criteria:

  • Outstanding teaching and service to students by a Teaching Associate in the Department of Communication Studies
  • Must have at least a 3.0 GPA 
  • Must be a Communication Studies M.A. student

Apply link

Len Wurthman Departmental Service Award

Awarded to a student for providing significant volunteer service to the Communication Studies department. Such service could include: Aronstam Library monitors, setting up, taking down, or staffing department events, and/or members or officers of the Communication Association, Performance Ensemble, or Forensics.

Len Wurthman is Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies at CSUN. He played minor league baseball before joining the faculty, where he served as an advisor to CSUN student athletes before the more formal system of advisement was established. Len oversaw a course called the ‘Speaker’s Bureau’, a service learning course in public speaking that found students going into the community to give presentations.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $250.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who has provided significant volunteer service to the Department (such as setting up, taking down, or staffing events)
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link

Fred McMahon Outstanding Communicator Award

Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate Communicator in the Department. 

Fred McMahon was a rhetorical scholar and founding member of the COMS Department. He served as Dept. Chair and Director of the Forensics team for many years, helping lead debaters to a victory that would secure the first trophy for the campus community. He also edited a small quarterly journal in the 1970s dedicated to rhetorical criticism called Exetasis.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $250

Criteria:

  • Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Demonstrates outstanding communication abilities through coursework (written or oral presentations), class participation, conference presentations, and/or other public lectures/presentations
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link

Charles Mudd Award

Awarded to an outstanding graduate student in Communication Studies who contributes to the life of the Department.

Charles Mudd was a founding member of the COMS Department and rhetorical studies scholar.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $250

Criteria:

  • Awarded to an exceptional graduate student who contributes to the life of the Department
  • Contributions to the department can include: participation in Department events, mentoring fellow graduate students, active engagement in seminar, and/or service to the Department.
  • Must be a Communication Studies M.A. student

Apply link

Richard Aronstam Forensics Award

The Aronstam Forensic Award recognizes outstanding contribution to the forensics program by a Communication Studies student.

Richard B. Aronstam was a faculty member in the Department. He wrote movie screenplays and songs (the latter of which still generate ASCAP revenue), and worked as a writer for Red Skelton, Eddie Cantor, and other popular performers during radio’s Golden Age. Richard was an avid reader. His wife, Elsie, founded the Aronstam Library by donating his private collection of books.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships annually of $1000.

Criteria:

  • A high scholastic record or potential,
  • Has contributed to the department’s Forensics programs,
  • Contribution to the program could include: coaching, administrative work, participation and/or success at tournaments, providing service to the university, college, department, or forensics communities, efforts to create community on the forensics team and/or with surrounding communities, active engagement in forensics related service projects, or other lively and sustained participation with the forensics program
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link

Richard Aronstam Performance Ensemble Award

The Aronstam Performance Ensemble Award recognizes outstanding contribution to the Performance Ensemble by a Communication Studies student.

Richard B. Aronstam was a faculty member in the Department. He wrote movie screenplays and songs (the latter of which still generate ASCAP revenue), and worked as a writer for Red Skelton, Eddie Cantor, and other popular performers during radio’s Golden Age. Richard was an avid reader. His wife, Elsie, founded the Aronstam Library by donating his private collection of books.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships annually of $1000.

Criteria:

  • A high scholastic record or potential,
  • Has contributed to the department’s Performance Ensemble program,
  • Contribution to the ensemble could include: directing, administrative work, teaching, mentoring, participation at performance festivals, providing service to the university, college, department, or other communities, efforts to create community on the performance ensemble, active engagement in performance related service projects, or other lively and sustained participation with the ensemble,
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link 

Richard Aronstam Outstanding Senior Award

Awarded to two graduating seniors who have achieved one of the highest GPAs in the Department (3.0 minimum), and who have contributed significantly to the life of the Department through participation in Department events, efforts to create community among undergraduate students in or out of the classroom, active engagement in co-curricular or student programs (e.g., Communication Association, Forensics, Performance Ensemble, PRSSA, etc.), service to the Department (e.g., Aronstam Library monitor), and/or lively and sustained participation in classes.

Richard B. Aronstam was a faculty member in the Department. He wrote movie screenplays and songs (the latter of which still generate ASCAP revenue), and worked as a writer for Red Skelton, Eddie Cantor, and other popular performers during radio’s Golden Age. Richard was an avid reader. His wife, Elsie, founded the Aronstam Library by donating his private collection of books.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships annually of $1000 each.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to two graduating seniors who have achieved one of the highest GPAs (3.0 minimum)
  • Contributed significantly to the life of the Department
  • Contribution to the department could include: participation in Department events, efforts to create community among undergraduate students in or out of the classroom, active engagement in co-curricular or student programs (e.g., Communication Association, Forensics, Performance Ensemble, etc.), service to the Department (e.g., Aronstam library monitor), and/or other lively and sustained participation in classes
  • Efforts to create community among undergraduate students in or out of the classroom active engagement in co-curricular or student programs (e.g., Communication Association, Forensics, Performance Ensemble, etc.)
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link

Spirit of Communication

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships annually of $100 each.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to two students (undergraduate or graduate) that embody the values of the Department and are who are dedicated to achieving a degree and maintaining enthusiasm for the major despite hardships (that could include financial, physical, and/or personal hardship).
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link

Dean's Recognition Scholarship – Junior

Award Amount:
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is able to offer one scholarship annually of $500 for a continuing junior

Criteria:

  • Awarded to a continuing junior (must complete a minimum of 90 units by the end of Spring 2020)
  • Outstanding service to the Department, University and or community
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link

Dean’s Recognition Scholarship – Freshman

Award Amount:
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is able to offer one scholarship annually of $500 for a continuing freshman

Criteria:

  • Awarded to a continuing freshman (must complete a minimum of 30 units by the end of Spring 2020)
  • Outstanding service to the Department, University and or community
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link

Dean’s Recognition Scholarship – Graduate Student

Award Amount:
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is able to offer one scholarship annually of $500 for a continuing graduate student

Criteria:

  • Awarded to a continuing junior (must be a classified graduate student who is not graduating in Spring or Summer 2020)
  • Outstanding service to the Department, University and or community
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies M.A. student

Apply link

Jeff Felix Family Scholarship

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $1000.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to an academically outstanding continuing student in Communication Studies (30-105 units at the end of Spring 2020)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link

Mary G. McEdwards Re-Entry Student Award

Awarded to a re-entry student (undergraduate or graduate) who has demonstrated significant academic achievement as a COMS major. A re-entry student is one who took time off after high school or after beginning their degree and then returned to school later to earn their degree

Mary G. McEdwards was the first female faculty member hired in the Dept. She started college in Michigan, but paused her education to raise a family. She returned to school when her youngest child entered first grade, completing her BA in 1959 and her MA in 1960 at CSUN. She taught part-time until she was hired as Assistant Professor in 1963, and retired in 1988 as Full Professor. During her time as a professor at CSUN, Mary served campus Faculty Senate President (becoming the first woman to hold the position), and co-developed and taught a course with Professor Elizabeth Berry called The Rhetoric of Women’s Liberation. (This was the first of two courses focused on women offered by CSUN; it evolved into COMS 435 Rhetoric of Women). She is remembered as a committed mentor and advocate for women, especially returning students.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer one scholarship annually of $250

Criteria:

  • Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate re-entry student
  • Demonstrated significant academic achievement
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link

Kent Joel Snyder Award

Kent Joel Snyder earned his B.A. from the COMS Dept. in the 1970s and went on to work as an executive in the insurance industry. Within only a decade of graduating, he established the Snyder awards, which have benefitted CSUN students in the Department for more than 35 years now. Kent’s contributions serve as a model of giving back to the community.

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships each semester of $500 each, one to a grad student and one to an undergraduate student.

Criteria:

Awarded to a student who is

  1. in good standing at CSUN,
  2. a declared Communication Studies major or M.A. student
  3. a senior or graduate student in Fall or Spring of current academic year,
  4. GPA of 3.0 or better in either overall GPA or Communication Studies GPA

Apply link

Laura Rothman Memorial Scholarship

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer five scholarships annually of $1000 each to graduate or undergraduate students.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to give academically exceptional undergraduate or graduate students.
  • Students must craft an essay discussing their course of study and their objectives for the future
  • These students must be in good standing at CSUN, enrolled full-time continuing to the next academic year, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major or M.A. student

Apply link

Ellen and Howard Press Family Scholarship

Award Amount:
The Department of Communication Studies is able to offer two scholarships annually of $1000.

Criteria:

  • Awarded to a continuing sophomore or junior (30-90 units)
  • Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Student needs to (a) have sought career advisement and (b) write a 300 word application essay. The application essay should demonstrate how the applicant possesses innovative, “out of the box” approaches to move toward career goals, has taken concrete, creative steps to achieve their career goals, and how this scholarship will support them in their process of professionalization.
  • Must have completed a financial aid application
  • Must be a Communication Studies Major

Apply link