Quill Awards Mark 40 Years of Excellence in Media Studies and Professional Achievement

Mercy University students pose with their awards and Media Studies professor Louis Grassoat the 40th Annual Quill Awards

From left to right: Mercy University students (Media Studies, Radio and TV Production majors):  Victor Manzano, Nicholas Chad Roth, Justin A. Abraham, Professor Louis Grasso, Brie Feliciano, Laura Paulino, and Niclaire Bice recognized for their outstanding performance at the 40th Annual Quill Awards.

At the 40th Annual Quill Awards Ceremony held on April 30, Mercy University recognized outstanding performances by students in the Media Studies Program. Also honored at the event were Ira Joe Fisher, Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and educator, who was given the Professional Achievement Award, and Kai Bailer, BS ’16, a television writer, producer and researcher, and digital content creator for Ebony, who received the award for Outstanding Alumna.

Louis Grasso, professor and program director of Media Studies, has coordinated the Quill Awards since 2005. “These awards are still meaningful after 40 years for two reasons,” he said. “First, both the technology of media and the way we consume media are constantly evolving. Our students graduate with skills that enable them to keep up with that evolution. Secondly, you can’t accomplish much in this industry without relying on other people. The relationships and lifelong friendships that evolve among the students and the faculty in Media Studies prepare them well for that collaborative mindset.”

Program faculty members presented 90 awards to students for outstanding achievement in film and culture, television production, journalism, video editing and radio production, theatre performance, and public relations and advertising.

Mercy President Susan L. Parish offered greetings to the honorees. “Tonight, we honor some of the brightest stars that our Media Studies program has produced,” she said. “You have accomplished so much already. You do us proud, and we can't wait to see where you will go and what you will do next.”

Honoree Kai Bailer ‘16 has worked steadily in the industry ever since graduating from Mercy. Her roles have included working for Lionsgate TV, BET, Fortune and Forks, a social club for young women of color, and more. As an independent, she has worked on a feature documentary for Discovery+ and produced episodes for a documentary series on AMC. She is currently employed by Ebony as a social content producer. “I grew up in a family of four children, and we learned quickly how to figure things out,” she said. “That mindset carried me through college. Today, it’s a full circle moment when everything has fallen into place. If you take the opportunities you’re given and show up consistently, you can always find a way to a career that brings you joy. Cherish these moments.”

Honoree Ira Joe Fisher is proud to be an educator at Mercy. He is best known as a radio and television broadcaster, author, columnist, and was recently named Poet Laureate of the town of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Fisher spoke of the joy of coming to campus to be among students and colleagues who “are not students, but scholars. Not colleagues, but family.” He added, “You have before you this wonderful thing called a future. The friendships you make here will go with you into that future—a future that is golden.”

Peter West, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, praised the Media Studies program, saying, “We don’t just offer our students unparalleled access to professional preparation that will help them succeed in a highly competitive industry. We offer them opportunities to become well rounded human beings with a deep appreciation for history, the arts, and all the different aspects of a rewarding life.”

Pictured below:

Honoree Ira Joe Fisher and Professor Louis Grasso

Honoree Kai Bailer and Professor Louis Grasso

Professor Louis Grasso posed with Quill Awards honoree Ira Joe Fisher
Professor Louis Grasso poses with alumna and Quill Awards honoree Kai Bailer