Undergraduate team, faculty member Joe Cabosky take home NCPRSA InSpire Awards at May 17 ceremony

Four undergraduate students and one faculty member were honored on Thursday, May 17, when public relations professionals from across North Carolina joined together for a gala celebration at the City Club of Raleigh to recognize recipients of the 2018 NCPRSA InSpire Awards

Now-alumnae Felicia Bailey '17, Mary Bryan '17, Ashley Fox '17 and Melody Goforth '17 earned an Award of Excellence and Best of the Research/Evaluation Category for research conducted in their capstone "MEJO 634: Public Relations Campaigns" course on behalf of their client, the UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative. Doctoral alumnus and Assistant Professor Joe Cabosky '15 (Ph.D.) received an honorable mention in the Creative Tactics Category for his long-form public relations video, “Writing My Own Happy Ending.”

UNC Vice Chancellor for University Communications and MJ-school alumnus Joel Curren '86 delivered the gala's keynote.

The InSpire Awards honor the region’s most-successful and innovative communications programs of the past year. The contest is open to communications professionals from agencies, corporations, nonprofits, associations and government offices. Entries undergo independent review from industry experts. PRSA members from Memphis, Tennessee, judged the NCPRSA entries for the 2018 program.

The undergraduate team conducted research for their client, UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative, an organization operating through the UNC School of Social Work that connects refugees with mental health service providers. Associate Professor Nori Comello, the team’s instructor, accepted the trophy on their behalf.

The student team’s research report rose to the top amid entries by public relations professionals in this region, according to Kim Strazisar, a member of the InSpire Awards committee. 


“Through this experience, the students enhanced their skills in determining research needs and conducting multi-method research,” said Comello. “These are essential skills when working with clients to develop campaigns.”

Cabosky's award-winning film charts the story of the Durham VOICE teen reporters’ trip to the Outer Banks to work with community journalists.


The Public Relations Society of America is a nonprofit trade association for public relations professionals and is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community with a mission to “make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.”