2017 Dean's Creative Achievement Award Finalists

Kevin Brooks, winner, Communication

Kevin Brooks at the Sundance InstituteKevin Brooks is a 22-year-old award winning filmmaker from Memphis, Tennessee. He is currently studying Film/TV production at the University of Memphis. He has been involved with many video projects ranging from music videos through school projects to directing his own short films. He has won countless awards for his short films within the Memphis area and has had films screen at major festivals such as Indie Memphis and NFFTY. He was recently selected as one of the five finalists for the Sundance Ignite Program for his short film "Keep Pushing."


  • Recently selected as finalist for the Girls Impact The World Festival for short film "Peighton," which highlighted feminism in youth
  • Selected one of five top filmmakers out of hundreds for the Sundance Ignite Program for Emerging Filmmakers
  • Top 25 finalist for the Golden Globes filmmaking contest in 2016
  • Top Prize at the UofM Go Pro Film Fest in 2015
  • Best Student Film at Unreal Film Fest in 2013
  • Semi-finalist for the Warner Bros Emerging Directors Program
  • Indie Memphis Special Jury Prize for "Keep Pushing," short documentary
  • Honored at the Adobe Max Conference in San Diego
  • Top 10 finalist for the Memphis Film Prize for "Marcus"

Jarvis Boyland, finalist, Art

Jarvis Boyland is a senior studio art major with a concentration in painting and a minor in art history. He is interested in contemporary genre painting and heavily inspired by working-class and social justice issues.


  • 2014 Donald K. Carson Leadership Scholarship
  • Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • RiverArtsFest Scholarship
  • Frances F. Austin Art Scholarship
  • Best of Show Award, Best of Memphis 
  • Merit Award, 33rd Annual Juried Student Exhibition

Austin Blake Conlee, finalist, Theatre & Dance

 Austin Blake Conlee is a costume designer and technician who has designed for a variety of production companies, including Stagedoor Manor in Loch Sheldrake, New York; New Moon Theatre Co. in Memphis; Germantown Community Theatre; Voices of the South in Memphis; Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls in Cleveland, Ohio; Tennessee Shakespeare Company and University of Memphis Theatre & Dance.



  • "Hamlet" at New Moon Theatre Company
  • "Glass Menagerie" and "Haint" at Germantown Community Theatre


  • "Nine," "Mame," "Kabuki Lady Macbeth" and "Grand Hotel" at Stagedoor Manor
  • "Little Shop of Horrors" at UofM
  • "Orpheus Descending" and "Lettice & Lovage" at New Moon Theatre Company
  • "A Streetcar Named Desire" at Germantown Community Theatre


  • "Hairspray" at Porthouse Theatre
  • "A Little Night Music" at Porthouse Theatre

Addie James, finalist, Journalism and Strategic Media

Addie James is a news concentration major who recently won a Silver ADDY from the Memphis branch of the American Advertising Federation. A HOPE scholar, she received the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation Scholarship and has made the dean's list every semester since Spring 2014.


  • 2017 ADDY finalist, American Advertising Federation, Memphis Branch
  • Media Photographer of the Year, UofM Department of Journalism and Strategic Media
  • Intern, Editorial Assistant, Southern Bride Magazine
  • Copy Editor and Design Editor, The Daily Helmsman

Joel Jassu, finalist, Architecture

Joel Jassu is the president of the UofM chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. He has been involved in a variety of community service projects, such as Binghampton Community Development Project, the Carpenter Art Garden project, the Binghampton Christian Academy renovation and vision casting project and the Rwenlobo Foundation School in Uganda Hope project, a non-profit organization started by a group of youth to help children from mainly Karamoja and Gulu, war affected areas in Uganda, go to school.


  • BFA Design Excellence Award - McWherter Library green space
  • BFA Design Excellence Award - Lichterman Nature Center
  • BFA Design Excellence Award - Micro House
  • President M. David Rudd Photography Competition winner
  • First Place in the Women's Theatre Festival of Memphis Story Telling Theatre

Kyndle McMahan, finalist, Music

Kyndle McMahan is a talented singer who has been with Blue Tom Records, the student-run record label, since 2013. She has been singing on stage since the age of four. In addition to performing for Blue Tom Record events, Kyndle has performed with the Memphis Ukulele Band at Music City Roots, Nashville's acclaimed roots and Americana variety show, live on local TV and radio stations and on DittyTV, a music television station. She has also participated in The Consortium MMT, a six-week program under Grammy Award-winning songwriter David Porter.


  • Sound Fuzion (2012-2017)
  • Mason Jar Fireflies (2012-2017)
  • Bluff City Soul Collective (2014-2017)
  • Memphis Ukulele Band (2015-2017)
  • Garry Goin & G3 (2016-2017)
  • Memphis Soul Review (2015)
  • Al Paris & The Heartbreakers (2015)
  • Solo Artist (2016-2017)
  • University Singers (2015)