PNW Communication students earn top recognitions at international scriptwriting competition

May 7, 2024
Five PNW communication students pose with studio technician Jake Giles. They are holding an award and standing in front of a "Festival of Media Arts" photo backdrop

From left to right, PNW Communication students Adam Kharchaf, Amanda Prince, Bianca Garcia, Matthew Kaufman and Kylie Zieminski and Studio Technician Jake Giles take a group photo with the students’ BEA scriptwriting competition award.

Five Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Communication and Creative Arts students received first place in the 2024 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) scriptwriting competition in the BEA Festival of Media Arts.

Students Bianca Garcia, Matthew Kaufman, Adam Kharchaf, Amanda Prince and Kylie Zieminski earned the top award in the Television Spec category for their original script for the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.” The script, titled “Fractured Reality,” centered on love, loss and the challenges of accountability for one’s actions. The students’ script was one of nearly 1,900 entries submitted over a range of categories from more than 300 colleges and universities.

Jake Giles, studio technician in the department of Communication and Creative Arts, served as the students’ mentor. “A good script is one that is relatable to anyone who reads it, playing to those core values that make us human, even when presented in fantastical situations and that’s exactly what this script was able to do,” said Giles. “The script was praised by BEA judges for crafting intense cliffhangers, ratcheting up the tension throughout the show and capturing the essence of the program’s characters.”

“Telling stories using such a powerful medium is exactly what I want to do with my career in broadcasting, and scriptwriting gives me that opportunity,” said Prince.

Five PNW communication students stand with studio technician Jake Giles and pose with their original script.

From left to right (foreground), PNW Communication students Amanda Prince, Kylie Zieminski, Bianca Garcia, Adam Kharchaf and Matthew Kaufman and Studio Technician Jake Giles (background) pose for a group photo. The PNW students earned first place in the 2024 BEA scriptwriting Television Spec category for their original script for the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.”

The students accepted their award at the BEA convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there, the students attended panels, workshops and exhibits highlighting broadcast and media-related research, including a pitch session with professional screenwriters.

PNW’s Communication and Creative Arts department earned a cumulative ranking of fifth in the scriptwriting division by BEA, the highest ranking PNW has received in this division. PNW was ranked sixth in 2023. PNW also was ranked 39th overall best among the top 150 programs.

“Our broadcasting students continue to rank among the top in the world,” said Giles. “When we compete, we win. These rankings highlight the strength of our students’ skills and creativity, as they are often competing against larger institutions.”