An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

13 Daily Texan staffers receive cash awards in 2024


Winners of this year’s Friends of The Daily Texan cash awards were announced March 22 during the organization’s annual Hall of Fame celebration event. Thirteen staffers from The Daily Texan at The University of Texas at Austin have been selected to receive grants totaling $23,500.

The grants are sponsored by the Friends of The Daily Texan alumni group and its donors. Please consider giving at this link to fund our expanding roster of awards and support The Daily Texan as its needs change in the digital age.

You can read about this year’s winners below and also find a full list of past award winners here.


$2,500 Rene and Jimmy Wisch Award


McKenzie Henningsen

McKenzie Henningsen is an English honors and advertising junior pursuing a creative writing certificate. She’s spent six semesters at The Daily Texan and is currently serving as an associate opinion editor and associate copy desk chief. She was recently elected as editor-in-chief for the 2024-25 school year. Outside of the Texan, Henningsen has interned at Austin Woman Magazine.


$2,500 S. Griff Singer Award


Vivien Ayers

Vivien Ayers is a joint journalism and sustainability studies sophomore from Denton, Texas. After four semesters at the Texan, she’s landed an associate news editor position. She would like to focus on climate journalism after graduation and someday write for a larger newspaper to focus on environmental issues at either the national or international level.


$2,500 A.R. “Dick” Elam Award


Joelle DiPaolo

The current news editor, Joelle DiPaolo is a journalism and French studies junior who has worked seven semesters at the Texan. Her reporting often focuses on education and LGBTQ+ rights and their intersection with politics. She’s interned at The Austin Chronicle and Texas Monthly, and she loves reading, competitive reality TV and five-hour board game sessions.


$2,500 Lynne Dobson and Greg Wooldridge Photojournalism Award


Lorianne Willett

Photo editor Lorianne Willett has been at the Texan for seven semesters. Graduating Fall 2024, she’s a journalism major also studying global sustainability. She’s incredibly interested in music and sports journalism — shooting ACL and the Sugar Bowl were highlights — and she is on a mission to visit all 63 national parks in the U.S.


$2,500 Friends of The Texan Award Winner


Carla Garcia Leija

Design editor Carla Garcia Leija is currently a sophomore in the BFA design program, with a focus on design research and interaction design. She’s in her fifth semester at the Texan. In the coming year, she will work as The Texas Tribune’s design fellow and pursue an independent study that seeks to understand the concept of “coffee culture.”


$2,500 Kirk and Vicki Bohls Sports Journalism Award


Evan Vieth

After four semesters at the Texan, journalism junior and DC native Evan Vieth is now the sports editor. He’s covered tennis, soccer, baseball and football, attending and covering games at Globe Life Field, Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Cotton Bowl and Caesars Superdome. Outside of the Texan, he was an analyst for TSTV Sports and is a current intern at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.


$1,500 Jerry and Becky Conn Scholarship Award


Ali Juell

Junior Ali Juell is the projects editor and has been at the Texan for six semesters. Before studying journalism at UT, she was raised in Northern California and Hawaii. She loves to make hand-pulled noodles and pasta from scratch. Juell was a reporting fellow at the Texas Tribune and will be a reporting intern with Bloomberg News in Los Angeles this summer.


$1,000 Bill Mintz Outstanding Reporting Award


Sarah Brager

Sarah Brager is a journalism major graduating Spring 2025. She currently works as a news desk editor after six semesters at the Texan. At UT, Brager is also a journalism coach for the Moody Writing Support Program and president of Texas NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. She is a 2024 rider on the Texas 4000 team and is preparing to cycle 4,500 miles to Alaska.


$1,000 Faculty Recognition Award


Stephanie Ghandour

A radio-television-film major graduating Fall 2024, Stephanie Ghandour is serving as the Texan’s video editor in her third semester. Ghandour was inspired to study visual storytelling after becoming mute for two months because of damage to her vocal cords. She has been named on the Dean’s Honor List and is a photo and video intern at the Moody College of Communication.


$1,000 Faculty Recognition Award


Aislyn Gaddis

Journalism junior Aislyn Gaddis is in her sixth semester at the Texan and is leading as its audio editor. She has been dedicated to building a solid foundation for her department and upping the quality of its content. Outside of the Texan, she’s worked for The Drag Audio, Moody College and KERA. Her high school was in the Christmas Capital of Texas (Grapevine, Texas).


$1,000 Middy Randerson Life and Arts Award


Trisha Dasgupta

Trisha Dasgupta is a journalism sophomore who has worked in the News, Life and Arts and Projects departments over five semesters. During her time at The Texan, she has covered over 15 different concerts. Three of her concert recaps have been acknowledged by the artists themselves: Chappell Roan, the band Circa Waves, and Suki Waterhouse.


$1,000 Friends of The Texan Award Finalist


Trinity Flaten

Although she signed up for her high school paper accidentally, Trinity Flaten ended up loving it. She is now a journalism junior driving engagement as the Texan’s social media editor. She also copy-edited before moving up in the social media department and redesigning The Daily Texan’s Instagram. She is Texas Exes’ social media and marketing intern, so you might see her in one of their Reels.


$1,000 Friends of The Texan Award Finalist


Kylee Howard

Kylee Howard is a journalism sophomore and has been in the Texan since her first semester. After serving as the Spring 2023 public safety reporter, she has continued her journey as news desk editor and now serves as associate news editor alongside Vivien Ayers, under Joelle DiPaolo. Howard loves talking to people and hopes to pursue a career in print media.