ASU's Hugh Downs School receives two Faculty Women's Association awards

By

Catherine Sebold

Members of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication received two awards from the ASU Faculty Women's Association.

Assistant Professor Benny LeMaster received the 2021 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Graduate Teaching Associate Anya Hommadova Lu received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award. The awards were announced at an online ceremony on April 28.

According to the Faculty Women's Association, “A mark of a great leader is the support and guidance that they provide to others through mentorship. The FWA Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate outstanding mentorship to students and/or to other faculty members, particularly women and other underrepresented groups.” 

LeMaster, a scholar of critical/cultural communication and performance studies recently received the 2020 Best Book Award from the National Communication Association ethnography division for "Gender Futurity, Intersectional Autoethnography: Embodied Theorizing from the Margins."

Assistant Professor Benjamin LeMaster

Assistant Professor Benny LeMaster 

She was nominated by Hugh Downs School Doctoral Students Ana Terminel Iberri, Angela Labador, Tyler Rife, Liahnna Stanley and Megan Stephenson.

In their nominating letter to the Faculty Women's Association, the students wrote, “In all our years of academe, we have never encountered a person who deserves this award more.

"Dr. LeMaster has been fundamental to not only our intellectual and professional success as graduate students but also our survival in navigating the complexities of academia. Among her graduate advisees, a familiar refrain we express and hear is: ‘If not for Benny (Dr. LeMaster), I wouldn’t have stayed in the program.’

"Indeed, what Dr. LeMaster has done for this program and the graduate student body cannot be understated. It is due to Dr. LeMaster’s lived ethic of support, one which constantly finds her putting others before herself, that we nominate Dr. LeMaster for this award.”

The Faculty Women's Association Distinguished Graduate Student Achievement Award “seeks to recognize doctoral and master’s degree candidates who have distinguished themselves through exceptional scholarship, research, creative activities and noteworthy performance in leadership and service.” 

Hugh Downs School graduate teaching associate
Anya Hommadova Lu and her baby.

Lu was nominated by Stephen Carradini, an assistant professor in the technical communication program, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and a member of the graduate faculty in communication, “because her research and teaching are outstanding.”

“Anya's work investigates ways to bridge interpersonal gaps between people of different cultures via technologically mediated communication,” Carradini said. “During her time at the Hugh Downs School, she realized this ambitious and important research agenda via two co-authored peer-reviewed articles, two co-authored accepted book chapters and several awards. She has also taught a wide array of courses, demonstrating her breadth of pedagogical scope. She has big ideas, a strong work ethic and a clear sense of what mark she wants to leave in the field. As a result of these achievements and characteristics, I was happy to nominate Anya for the Distinguished Graduate Student Award.” 

“These awards clearly highlight the outstanding work performed in the Hugh Downs School,” said Paul Mongeau, professor and interim director of the school. “Both Benny LeMaster’s and Anya Lu’s awards reflect not only the outstanding teaching and research that is being performed in our community but the caring support that we provide to one another. This sort of selfless commitment makes this a wonderful place to work.”