Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

JMS Announces Recipients of 2019 “T” Award

Two stand out alumni receive the annual Rear Admiral T. McCreary Junior Public Affairs Alumni Award

JMS Announces Recipients of 2019 “T” Award

by Baylee Akins

April 13, 2020

April 13, 2020

From a sea of exceptional alumni, the San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies selected two stand outs to receive the annual Rear Admiral T. McCreary Junior Public Affairs Alumni Award.

The 2019 “T” Award recipients are Navy Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Martin, APR+M from the Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs Office in Great Lakes, Illinois, and Marine Corps Maj. Cassandra Gesecki, APR+M who is a media officer at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Lt. Cmdr. Martin and Maj. Gesecki exemplify how a strategic mindset can make a difference in both one’s practice of public affairs and the profession overall,” said Dr. Kaye Sweetser, APR+M, Fellow PRSA. “They were engaged students while here on the mesa, and since returning to the fleet they’ve made us proud with how well they’ve integrated their analytic skills into their practice.”

Reflecting on his time at SDSU, Martin noted that “SDSU gave me a greater understanding of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ that lie beneath public affairs at a much deeper level than experience alone could bring.”

The class of 2016 graduate continued by adding, “What I learned helped me develop communication that directly impact command missions with greater focus, clear objectives and knowledge of the theoretical basis of how communication reaches our publics.”

Gesecki, a class of 2017 graduate, called her experience “absolutely eye opening.”

“It was as if there was an entire side to this career field that I didn’t have access to, until I understood the right way to conduct research and how to show tangible value in our products,” Gesecki said. “I now am able to look at communication planning and assessment in an entirely new light. Perhaps more importantly, I’m teaching other PAOs to do the same.”

Gesecki noted that such tools “give my team a louder voice and larger presence at the table, adding more credibility to our products and career field.”

As students, both Martin and Gesecki’s research was competitively selected for presentation at the International Public Relations Research Conference. In 2016, Martin and his team were awarded the Big Jack prize for being the best presentation at the conference. The following year, Gesecki and her team brought the Big Jack back to SDSU in 2017.

This is the fifth year of the “T” award, named after the former Navy Chief of Information who founded the military master’s program in JMS at SDSU.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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