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Student Website “Rethink Criminal Justice” Receives First Place Award

Posted on 12/6/2021 3:58:21 PM

The Cabrini University student-produced multimedia website RethinkCriminalJustice.com received a first place 2020-21 Pinnacle Award from the College Media Association.


Through a yearlong Communication major capstone course, two classes of students worked together to choose a topic they were passionate about and produced a full multimedia website to serve as an educational tool regarding the issue. With project leaders Amy Kodrich, Alex Monteiro, and Aislinn Walsh, the classes brought to life the topic of criminal justice reform, following nationwide calls for racial justice after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Students worked under the guidance of Communication Department Chair Dawn Francis, EdD, Associate Professor, and Cathy Yungmann, Associate Professor.

“Students recognized the challenge of reporting about race in a polarized environment and took this responsibility seriously,” said Francis. “They courageously engaged in the journalistic process of researching injustice in the system, analyzing its root causes, and identifying solutions that are in place and creating positive change.”

Students examined how a person’s race, gender, income, age, mental health status, and other factors influence their path through the criminal justice system.

After conducting numerous interviews, the group designed the website, edited audio and video, created infographics, and wrote compelling stories to reflect the social justice issues underlying the American criminal justice system—all while using the technology they had at home during the pandemic. The students interviewed leaders in politics, law enforcement, education, criminal justice, youth organizations, and mental health as well as individuals affected by the criminal justice system.

Now Cabrini graduates, the award-winning students included: Aislinn Walsh, Alexandra Monteiro, America Lopez-Santiago, Amy Kodrich, Brian Genao, Christopher Giacobbe, David Hare, Evan Lynn, Gabby Thompson, J. Tyler O'Connor, Ja-Lisa Glover, James Pettus, Jason Archer, John Fennell, Karena McDanel, Katie Davis, Kiara Patterson, Matthew Santangelo, Melanie Hart, Melissa Casey, Miah Allen, Miranda Smith, Mo Fischer, Nicholas Conroy, Nick Marcellino, Rodrigo Campos-Sánchez, Sierra Dotson, Tom Trucksess, and Troi Patrick.

“We commend these students for living the mission of Cabrini University and for telling these important stories that make a difference in society today,” said Francis.

A full list of all interviewees can be found on the site, here.

For more information on the convergence capstone course and to view past projects, visit the Communication Senior Project page.