Working with the best

Connection Adviser bestowed prestigious award by College Media Association


Matthew Fular, Editor-in-Chief

A student newspaper is only as good as its staff and advisers. The Connection is no exception. The Connections Adviser, Rena Laverty, has long been recognized as a cornerstone for this paper by the students she has worked with over the years, and now she is being recognized nationally for her efforts by the College Media Association (CMA). Her years of service to student journalists earned her a Distinguished Adviser Award, a distinction only given to advisers with five or more years of experience.

The CMA represents advisers from the nation’s collegiate newspapers, yearbooks, magazines and electronic media. Founded back in 1954, it has supported advisers in all levels of collegiate media programs with conventions, workshops, publications and national networking. Laverty was 1 of 12 advisers recognized this year and the only individual recognized in the Distinguished Two-year Multimedia Adviser category. She will be honored for her achievement at their annual fall convention in October.

Rena Laverty.jpg
Connection Adviser, Rena Laverty, was recently awarded the 2020 Distinguished Adviser Award by the College Media Association.
Photo courtesy Kate Foster.

“I have known Rena for the better part of two decades,” stated Todd Stowell, Schoolcraft’s Student Activities Director. “She has been a great asset to our office over the years. Her persistence and dedication to the success of our students has been great to watch. Since we have been online [with the student newspaper] through this crisis with COVID-19, I can see how she has once again adjusted and reinvented the positions and expectations for our students to succeed in a multimedia world.”

This was Laverty’s first time being nominated for any distinction as a media adviser.
Her nomination was initiated by Stowell and was supported with letters of recommendation from him, Schoolcraft’s former President, Dr. Conway Jeffress and 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief, Chantele Fox.
In her eight years serving as the adviser for the Connection, Laverty has overseen the training and mentoring of nearly 100 editors. Her knowledge of journalism and photography has been essential in training everyone looking to get involved with the college’s award-winning student newspaper.

When asked what her most impactful moment was as an adviser, Laverty responded: “There really isn’t one moment but a collection of moments over time. Seeing students grow in their skills and become more confident in their abilities is the most rewarding.”

In her tenure, the Connection staff has won over 81 awards from the Michigan Press Association and 127 awards from the Michigan Community College Press Association, totaling 208 awards won from 2012 to 2020.
In addition, she has worked with high school student interns from the Livonia Career Technical Center Career intern program and college interns from Eastern Michigan University’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s Degree program.

Congratulations to Laverty and all the other advisers who were recognized this year by the College Media Association.
To view their press release with all 12 winners, visit

Feature photo courtesy of CMA