Fielding's Media Psychology department awarded $1,000 scholarships to Matthew Price and Tunisha Singleton on Thursday evening for their exemplary work in the program.
The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award is given annually to students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, media innovation and collaboration with and support of fellow media scholars.
Singleton helped produce a department webinar series and serves on student government for the American Psychological Association.
“This award is proof that you are a product of your environment,” she said, thanking her cohort for “encouraging me to be myself and believe in myself.”
Among other things, Price was cited for his ambitious program goal: to produce a measurement for emotional engagement.
“When I came into the program, I had a specific idea of what I was looking for,” said Price, who wanted to combine his interests in both technology and psychology. “And I didn’t think I would ever find a school that would let me do that—let alone one that would feel so much like family.”
The Neal Award was created in 2014 in memory of a Fielding student who graduated with a PhD in Media Psychology in 2013 and died just a month later at age 52.
Mike Neal was an extraordinarily accomplished person who held 19 US patents, authored several children’s books, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and led numerous technology companies. At Fielding, he was known for his passion for helping others, including leading teams of his Fielding colleagues to publish articles and present their work at prestigious conferences around the world.
“He exemplified the kind of person we want to put out into the world,” said Fielding President Katrina Rogers, who knew Neal and spoke of his collaborative and creative spirit, activist approach to scholarship, advocacy in using media for change, and record of putting ideas into practice.
Neal’s wife Teresa and daughter Rianna conferenced in to watch the awards program. Rianna, who is 22, said that her father's terrific experience at Fielding—and the appreciation and support the department has shown her family since his passing—have inspired her to start graduate school now herself.
The scholarship funds for the Neal Award are raised from a fall auction, student donations, and a pizza party at Winter Session. Fielding alumnus Larry Drake has helped spearhead the funding.