The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE, awarded four 2021 Circle of Excellence gold awards in June, with three given to Office of Communications and Public Affairs writers and one for a University Development and Alumni Relations team for its work on the Light the Way campaign’s public launch event.
The Light the Way campaign, an effort to raise $6 billion for UC Berkeley by the end of 2023, kicked off with a launch event on Feb. 29, 2020, and received a CASE “special events” category gold award for its organizers’ work, University Development and Alumni Relations Associate Vice Chancellor Lishelle Blakemore said.
The three other CASE gold awards recognized Berkeley News writer and Special Projects & Outreach Director Gretchen Kell, writer Ivan Natividad and podcast producer Anne Brice, according to a Berkeley News press release.
“I didn’t think it was for me — I figured someone else who produced a podcast at Berkeley had won,” Brice said in an email. “But after I realized it was for this podcast episode, I was excited! I feel honored to work for UC Berkeley, surrounded by a community of brilliant people.”
Brice’s podcast “The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the women who started it” earned her a gold award in the Digital Communications category, according to the CASE website.
Natividad wrote “The names they gave us cut deep,” an opinion piece on his personal experiences as a Filipinx American. He said he spent hours reflecting on his own “lived experiences” and researching family history and texts to offer his perspective on colonization and the unnaming of Barrows Hall.
He expressed surprise at the opportunity to write such a piece as a campus communications writer.
“As a former journalist, I always had this notion that transitioning into the communications and public affairs field was like going ‘to the dark side’ (excuse the nerdy Star Wars lingo),” Natividad said in an email.
Natividad said this has not been the case for him, noting that communications team writers still have the opportunity to “put our truths at the forefront.”
Community members reached out to him after the piece was published, letting him know how much they appreciated his story and the history he recounted, Natividad added.
“There were many members of the Filipinx/Filipinx American communities that expressed they have had similar experiences,” Natividad said in an email. “One student messaged me saying : ‘I feel hella seen, fam. Thank you.’ ”
CASE awarded Kell a gold award for the student profile, “From solitary hell to ‘sacred ground,’ Kevin McCarthy defies the odds,” according to the press release.
Kell said the Berkeley News team enjoys writing profiles about “fascinating” campus community members, especially students who have overcome adversity to attend UC Berkeley.
“Kevin’s story was so amazing because he’d spent more than half his life in prison, and remarkably nine of those years in solitary confinement, and not only survived, but found the strength in prison to be a student, a tutor, a jailhouse lawyer and an advocate for reforming the state’s correctional system,” Kell said in an email. “Today at Berkeley, he’s earning all A’s, has won scholarships and a fellowship and aims for law school.”