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Yang is awarded a Crystal Pillar in Animation

Nancy Yang and the Crystal Pillar for  College-  Animation/Graphics/Special Effects at the 2022 Student Production Awards.

Nancy Yang ’22 was presented with a Student Production Award from the Upper Midwest Emmy® Foundation for her work “Ee”, an animated short film. Yang received the Crytal Pillar for COLLEGE – ANIMATION/GRAPHICS/SPECIAL EFFECTS.  Yang is the second Augsburg student to receive an award in this category.

Yang’s film, “Ee”, tells the true story of a young girl who learns to love fishing through fishing adventures with her father.  When her father suddenly becomes ill, the girl must face a new reality.  Yang created the film in her Documentary Production class.  The work combines a documentary story with animated illustrations.

High School and college students from the Upper Midwest Chapter area of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and western Wisconsin area are eligible to submit to the annual awards. The awards recognize outstanding student achievements in video media production. Selected nominees are considered by a jury of professionals who examine content, creativity, and execution.  Awards are given out to those who achieve high marks in those areas.

You can read more about the Student Production Awards at

2022 Upper Midwest Emmy® Student Production Award Nominees

Nominations for the 2022 Upper Midwest Emmy® Student Production Awards are out and this year five Augsburg film students have been nominated in four different categories.

Kobe Markworth ’22, Corrine Werckman ’22, Finnr Elsmo ’22, Nancy Yang ’22, and Adrianna ‘Yani’ Forman ’20 earned these nominations for outstanding media production and will now be considered for a Crystal Pillar. Crystal Pillars will be awarded at a ceremony on Friday, April 1st. This televised ceremony will be streamed for online and mobile devices on the Upper Midwest Emmy® YouTube channel and The Emmy® App. You can read the full list of 2022 Nominees online at College media production programs in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota are eligible.

Upper Midwest Student Production Award


“The Grind”
Augsburg University
Kobe Markworth, Director
Corrine Werckman, Writer/Talent
Jenny L. Hanson, Advisor

“Augsburg Profile – Za’Nia Coleman”
Augsburg University
Yani Foreman, Producer/Director
Jenny L. Hanson, Advisor

“Augsburg Men’s Soccer: MIAC Playoff vs. Macalester”
Augsburg University
Finnr Elsmo, Director
Jenny L. Hanson, Advisor

Augsburg University
Nancy Yang, Animator

*The awards were not held last year, thus the period of eligibility this year was Jan. 2020 – Dec. 2021.

Groven Says, First Presidential Debate Was No Debate At All

Written by Peter Sands

“That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck,” said CNN’s Jake Tapper when describing the first presidential debate. And Tapper’s description was tame compared to some other online reactions! So, we decided to catch up with our own Professor Robert Groven to better understand how this political spectacle challenged an important part of the democratic process.

Professor Groven has been involved in debate, argumentation and political communication for years as a director/coach and is highly regarded within the community. His dedication to the social practice of debate showcases what some might consider to be an increasingly important function of public argumentation. For more information on his work, check out the Minnesota Urban Debate League Website.

Professor Groven wasted no time when asked for his reaction to the first presidential debate: “That was not a debate. There was a lot of social conflict, but almost no actual argument that took place.”

He went on to voice concerns about the impact of this kind of public spectacle masking itself as true argument. He fears that when people encounter this sort of performance, they often turn away from debate—often in “well intentioned” ways, as the professor puts it—to minimize conflict. His fear is that disdain for debate and public argument “emboldens people to speak only from within their bubbles,” as Groven describes it. A one-sided mentality can encourage extremism and a lack of empathy for others.

Professor Groven says challenging ideas through the process of argumentation is “crucial to testing these ideas within a democracy.”

“If we don’t test ideas, what we tend to get is more and more hyper-polarization, and eventually dangerous authoritarian rhetoric,” he added; something he believes will threaten democracy and free expression. More political displays like the first presidential debate will only cause people to become further, “disillusioned with public argument.” His fear is that if the public views debates as part of the problem instead of the solution to polarization, it will tear at the fabric of our democratic process.

As for the separate Town Hall Meetings that took place after the first debate, Groven was disenchanted that some people found these events to be a satisfactory replacement for a debate. “The town halls were only another platform for one-sided political stumping,” he commented. “They do not allow voters to compare the candidate’s ideas to each other, or to the facts.”

As we race to towards one of the more important elections in modern history, it is increasingly important for us all to watch and participate in these events using a more critical lens.