Students win big at the Society for News Design International Awards

By Beth Hatcher

From visuals illustrating the influence of the late pop star Prince to the history of tattooing, projects created by students from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media won big at the 2022 Society for News Design (SND) International Student Competition, taking home 20 of 54 available awards, including first place wins in the Feature Design, Special Section and Stand Alone Media categories.

This is the 12th year Hussman students have led wins among schools in the competition.

“We had a such a strong showing this year, with projects showcasing our students’ creativity and impeccable execution,” Walter Spearman Distinguished Professor Terence Oliver said. “Visual communication is so important; It produces information in a way that is immediately accessible and powerful. The wins in this competition showcase our students’ outstanding visual skills.”

At right are edited versions of winning work "Prince" by Okirah Harris and team project "I Am Woman."  The students involved in the "I Am Woman" project are listed at the end of this article. This article's feature image also includes an edited version of the winning work "Migrants at the Border." Students involved in the "Migrants at the Border" work are listed at the end of this article.

Oliver teaches “MEJO 484: Informational Graphics,” the course from which 16 of the winning Hussman SND entries originated as class assignments.

One of those entries, which garnered a first-place win in the Feature Design category, was “Prince” by Okirah Harris ’22 (M.A.). The project stemmed from a “MEJO 484” assignment to create an infographic about a pop star. Harris chose Prince because he’s a favorite of her aunt. “I also thought it’d be cool to play with the purple color associated with him,” Harris said of Prince’s iconic hue, which she wove throughout the work.

Harris was also part of the “I Am Woman” team project, a magazine celebrating women's history and diverse stories, that took home a second-place win in the Special Section category.

Below, find the full version of Okirah Harris' winning work "Prince." Click on the image below to see all the winning Hussman SND work.


The two other Hussman first-place wins also belonged to team projects: The team project “Migrants at the Border,” which looks at immigration across the southern border of the United States, won first place in the Special Section category. The team project “Duke Lab Project,” which examined the tools behind 3D modeling, won first place in the Stand Alone Media category.

Harris, who works as a program coordinator with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, appreciates the opportunity Hussman’s master’s program has given her to hone her visual storytelling. “What visual communication can do is created a really broad reach, across cultures and audiences,” Harris said.

Leighann Vinesett ’21 won third place in the Alternative Story Form category for her work “Diversity in Tattooing,” which illustrates both the mechanics of tattooing different skin tones, as well as the historical contributions people of color have made to the artform.

“I wanted this design to inform people of the incredibly diverse and rich history of tattoos and to highlight the intricacy and beauty within the practice,” Vinesett said.

Currently pursuing her master’s degree in graphic design at NC State University, Vinesett hopes to pursue a career in motion graphics.

She praised Oliver as an instructor. “Terence was one of the most influential and intentional instructors during my time at Carolina. Without Terence, I would not be the designer I am today,” Vinesett said. “He truly cares so much for his students, past and present, and continuously prioritizes not only their education but their professional and personal lives and how he can make a difference in them.” 

Below, left to right: Vinesett's work "Diversity in Tattooing" and another winning work "Geisha" by JoJo Yang.

Other notable individual wins include Ella Juengst ’22 receiving six wins for three different pieces of work examining the movie “Avatar,” gray wolves and pop star Olivia Rodrigo respectively. Also, JoJo Yang ’22 received honorable mention in the Student Designer of the Year category.

Yang also received second place in the Infographics category for her work “Geisha,” a piece she said documents her growth as a designer as well as her interest in Asian entertainment culture.

“Winning this award this time just shows that I have grown, and it encourages me very much," Yang said.

Rounding out the Hussman team wins, “Echoes of Appalachia,” a multimedia piece about Appalachian life produced through the Carolina Photojournalism Workshop, won Honorable Mention in the Digital Storytelling category.

“I’m just so proud of our students,” Oliver said. “Seeing their hard work honored by a competition of SND’s caliber is a reminder of the talent the school attracts and cultivates. As a professor, it’s an honor to be a part of watching them shine.”

Explore the "Echoes of Appalachia" project below.


See a complete list of the SND award winners from Hussman below.


Gabi Allen ’24

"Luna Moth"

Infographics, Honorable Mention


Yi-Tsung (Phillip) Chen ’23

"The Great Sho"

Infographics, Third Place


Jess Moses-Gerdun ’21
Addison Skigen ’22

"Beyond the Binary"

Alternative Story Form, Third Place


Okirah Harris ’22 (M.A.)


Features Design, First Place


Ella Juengst ’22

"A Look into the World of Avatar"

Features Design, Honorable Mention; Alternative Story Form, Second Place

"The Gray Wolf"

Features Design, Third Place; Art & Illustration, Second Place; Magazine Spread, Honorable Mention

"Olivia Rodrigo"

Alternative Story Form, Honorable Mention


Angelina Katsanis ’23

"Just Dance"

Features Design, Honorable Mention


Coe MacFarlane ’21

"Roller Skates"

Sports Design, Honorable Mention; Features Design, Honorable Mention


Leighann Vinesett ’21

"Diversity in Tattooing"

Alternative Story Form, Third Place


JoJo Yang ’22


Infographics, Second Place

Student Designer of the Year, Honorable Mention


Team Projects


"Duke Lab Project"

Stand Alone Media, First Place

Riley Bergamasco ’23

Amelia Locklear ’22

John Ratkowiak ’23

Bailey Young ’22


"Echoes of Appalachia"

Digital Storytelling, Honorable Mention

Alex Berenfeld ’22

Maddee Burt ’22

Lauren Cmiel ’23

Chase Cofield ’22

Maris Ava Cruz ’23

Evan Davison ’22

Hope Davison ’21

Journey Dreyer ’22

Angelica Edwards ’22

Cynthia Liu ’23

Elise Mahon ’22

Chris Ocana ’22

Lucas Pruitt ’22

Claire Revere ’22 (M.A.)

Daniela Rodriguez ’22

Isabel Stellato ’22

Hannah Wondmagegn ’21


"Migrants at the Border"

Special Section, First Place

Karissa Teer ’22

Angelina Katsanis ’23

Ella Juengst ’22

Jonathan Flores

Bailey Ingham ’22

Gabi Allen ’24

Yi-Tsung (Phillip) Chen ’23

Wendy Jin

Deja Boone

Holly Hutchenson ’23

Makayla Williams ’22

Coe MacFarlane ’21

Izze DeCamillis ’23

Jack Sayam ’22


I Am Woman

Special Section, Second Place

Leighann Vinesett ’21

Allison Holbrooks ’22

Antonia Berry ’21

Noel Castro-Fernandez ’22

Hannah Correll ’21

Sarah Dubose ’22

Francesco Fradianni ’21

Deborah Gardner ’21

Okirah Harris ’22

Jake Jeffries

Amelia Locklear ’22

Jess Moses-Gerdun ’21

Spencer Poole ’21

Eliza Smith

Addison Skigan ’22