Alumni, faculty member selected for communications awards

Three Penn State communications alumni and one faculty member from the College of Communications were selected for awards recognizing their accomplishments and contributions to the college, the University and beyond.

Those selected were Rennie Dyball, an author and reporter for People magazine; Joe Krushinsky, vice president of Maryland Public Broadcasting; Thomas Loebig, director of digital media content and operations for AccuWeather; and Michael Elavsky, an assistant professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies.

The awards, sponsored by the college's Alumni Society Board, will be presented Sept. 27 during a luncheon on the University Park campus.

Dyball, who earned a journalism degree in 2002, was selected for the Emerging Professional Award, presented annually to alumni who have graduated in the past 10 years with a record of professional achievements and/or distinguished community service.

Along with her work as a reporter and writer for People and, Dyball has authored two books. She writes about music celebrities, and has authored cover stories for the magazine as well as celebrity features, human interest stories and movie reviews. Her latest book, "A Famous Dog's Life," will be published in the spring of 2011.

Krushinsky, who earned degrees in broadcasting and telecommunications in 1985 and has worked in public broadcasting for more than 20 years, earned the Outstanding Alumni Award. The award is presented to a graduate of the college who has demonstrated excellence in the field of communications, contributed significantly to their profession, and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues and students within their community.

At Maryland Public Broadcasting, Krushinsky serves as chief development officer, chief communications officer and as a member of the senior management team.

Before joining Maryland Public Broadcasting, he worked in public broadcasting in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has earned numerous awards for his work and regularly assists the American Cancer Society, having served as volunteer chair and host of the society’s telethon in Pennsylvania since 1987. He was twice named American Cancer Society volunteer of the year, and twice earned the organization’s leadership award.

At Penn State, Krushinsky served as station manager for WPSU radio for three years. He also served as the lead fundraiser and spokesperson for the station and oversaw its call letter change from WDFM to WPSU.

Loebig, who earned his journalism degree in 1980, was selected for the Achievement Award,which recognizes a graduate or friend of the college whose significant contributions to the college and/or University, in terms of time and talent, have brought distinction to themselves, the College and University.

As director of digital media content and operations for AccuWeather, Loebig manages all of the organization’s digital media, including video, news and social networking for platforms such as, the AccuWeather television network and mobile. He also oversees the on-air look and production of AccuWeather’s digital weather channel.
He worked as a news director for several television stations before joining AccuWeather.

Loebig is actively involved at Penn State. He enjoys mentoring students and participates in annual career nights and resume workshops. He also conducts radio and video reviews of student work, counsels students about how to prepare for their job search and talks to communications alumni who are already in the work force about how to further their careers. In addition, AccuWeather regularly hires Penn State students as interns and full-time employees.

Elavsky, an award-winning scholar and respected teacher, was selected for the Excellence in Teaching Award. The award recognizes faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, contributed significantly to the growth of students' learning and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues, students and alumni. Nominees were judged on their ability to inspire students and improve the classroom environment, their breadth and depth of knowledge of their subject, and their dedication outside the classroom. 

Elavsky brings an extensive background of teaching, research and service to his position.  He teaches both introductory classes in a large-lecture environment and smaller classes focusing on topics such as mass media and communications studies. His research has touched on a range of areas, including international studies, media studies, politics of globalization and representation, and popular culture and music. This past spring, he led a trip to the Czech Republic to visit major communications companies with students from his media and democracy class.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY-Binghamton and his doctorate from the University of Illinois.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015