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WCSU earns recognition at National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Student Production Awards

(l-r) Professor of Communication and Media Arts Dr. JC Barone and media student Gabrielle Johnson display NATAS Crystal Pillar awards.
Gabrielle Johnson with her NATAS Crystal Pillar award for Best Commercial.
Gabrielle Johnson with her NATAS Crystal Pillar award for Best Commercial.

DANBURY, Connecticut — Western Connecticut State University media students won top university awards and honorable mentions in the highly competitive National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/New England’s collegiate Student Production Awards held recently at the Fine Arts Theater in Maynard, Massachusetts.

Three undergraduate students from New York took home top honors. Gabrielle Johnson, of Hopewell Junction, won in the Commercial category for “Portraiture and Abstraction of the Human Form,” a snarky, purposely pretentious commercial for a fictitious show, and earned Honorable Mention for “Tea” in the Video Essay category. Dustin Martin, of Brooklyn, won Fiction Short Form for his esoteric, moody “Door” and James Hughes of Ardsley, won Honorable Mention for his captivating Sci-Fi Fiction Short Form “Time Management.”

Dr. JC Barone, NATAS faculty adviser and WCSU Professor of Communication and Media Arts, said that submitting work to competitive awards and festivals is essential for film students. “It acknowledges, values and promotes outstanding work, encourages and incentivizes students to take creative risks, and incorporates important professional practice,” Barone said.

Students are awarded certificates and winners are recognized with a beautiful Crystal Pillar. Previous WCSU awards from NATAS/New England include first place in the General Assignment Serious News category in 2020 for “Election Connection’s” live news and election coverage, as well as for news packages and commercials.

For more information, contact Barone at or the Office of Public Relations at


 Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.