The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Suncoast Chapter honored WUCF TV, Central Florida’s PBS station, with four Suncoast Regional Emmy nominations. The awards ceremony will be held virtually December 11, 2021.

List of Nominees

“These nominations show the diverse and collaborative nature of content WUCF produces locally with the University of Central Florida,” says Jennifer Cook ’20MA, WUCF interim executive director. “As Central Florida’s Storytellers we want to share stories that appeals and educates everyone in our community and being recognized for doing that is an honor. This is content that is showing to have a positive impact on the lives of families here in Central Florida and that is the core of what we do as a community-focused public media station.”

More about WUCF’s Nominees
  • WUCF’s Meet the Helpers initiative developed videos that include a mental health counselor (Associate Professor Ann Shillingford-Butler), a youth helper, and a scientist (Associate Professor Anna Savage) who discusses the importance of vaccines. Previous videos in this series include firefighters, police officers, teachers, doctors, paramedics, meteorologists and 9-1-1 operators. The videos were developed in partnership with the University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education and Nicholson School of Communication and Media. This project, and the research around it, included involvement from Senior Lecturer and Academic Program Coordinator Judith Levin ’86MEd; Professor and Interim Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Research and Creative Activity Timothy Sellnow; and Professor and Assistant Director of the Nicholson School of Communication and Media (Communication Program Areas) Deanna Sellnow.
  • In GRR-IFIC Neighbors, viewers celebrate what it means to be a caring neighbor with music from the Orisirisi drummers, story time and at-home activities. Don Harrell, adjunct in UCF’s Africana Studies program, started Orisirisi (pronounced O-re-she-re-she) African Folklore with his wife. The performing arts and arts education company uses folktales, legends, myths, music, dance, children’s games, and other African-rooted folklore to teach, entertain, and illuminate the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture.
  • The special edition of NewsNight Conversations focused on mental health and the wide range of people who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of experts and journalists examined how the events of the past year have affected individuals and the community. During the special Deborah Beidel — Trustee Chair; Pegasus Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at UCF; and executive director of UCF RESTORES — spoke with NewsNight about how specific hardships connected to the pandemic, such as unemployment and health concerns, can present trauma-like mental health issues akin to PTSD.
  • Marching Forward, a one-hour documentary produced by students and faculty of the University of Central Florida, tells the story of two dedicated high school band directors — one Black, one white — inspired by music to cross the color lines of segregation and work together for the sake of their students. This courageous cooperation resulted in the experience of a lifetime for both Black and white students traveling from the Deep South to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The film was co-directed by Associate Professor Lisa Mills ’99MA, Associate Professor Robert Cassanello; and Oswmer Louis ’18, a history graduate and cinema studies minor. Students in UCF’s animation MFA program were also involved under the direction of Associate Professor Cheryl Briggs, producing vignettes to illustrate some of the film’s most dramatic moments. Roughly 25 UCF students from a variety of disciplines contributed to the production doing everything from conducting research to operating cameras. Initial support for the film was provided by Burnett Honors College Dean Sheila Amin Gutierrez de Piñeres and College of Arts and Humanities Dean Jeff Moore. Funding was also provided by UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media and College of Sciences.

The Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is a nonprofit Florida corporation dedicated to excellence in television and offers the annual Regional Emmy Awards to television markets in the entire State of Florida; Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Thomasville, Ga.; and Puerto Rico.