The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication has named the 2020 recipients of two newly established alumni awards.
Shannon Latham is the recipient of the Greenlee Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes a Greenlee School graduate who has demonstrated leadership, impact and achievement in advertising, journalism and mass communication and/or public relations.
Latham has more than 25 years of experience as a media/public relations practitioner, marketer, brand storyteller and event planner. She’s co-owner and vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, based in Alexander, Iowa, where she directs the company’s marketing and public relations initiatives.
Prior to joining Latham Seeds full time in 2007, Latham operated her own communications and public relations business. She has also worked in an advertising agency and served as a state lobbyist for agribusiness. She received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and public service & administration in agriculture from Iowa State University in 1993.
Latham brings an entrepreneurial spirit to her work. She’s passionate about agriculture literacy and encouraging young people to pursue careers in agriculture. She also owns Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch in Sheffield, Iowa, where she plans weekly fall events and blogs all year long. For her efforts, Latham was named to the FarmHer Hall of Fame in 2016.
Latham holds an MBA from the University of Iowa and is active in professional organizations, including serving as a communications committee member of the American Seed Trade Convention and a board member of the national Seed Science Foundation.
The recipient of the 2020 Greenlee Young Alumni Award is Kacey Birchmier, a 2011 Iowa State University journalism and mass communication graduate. This award recognizes a Greenlee School graduate under 40 years of age or with fewer than 15 years of professional experience who has demonstrated excellence within their field.
Birchmier is the media relations manager at Corteva Agriscience in Johnston, Iowa, where she promotes company news and shares agronomic insights with both agricultural trade and tier-one media. She joined Corteva in 2018, shortly before it spun from DowDuPont to become a standalone company.
Prior to that role, Birchmier worked at Meredith Corporation as the agronomy and conservation editor for Successful Farming and at the Meyocks Group in account management. As a Greenlee student, she completed an internship with the Iowa Soybean Association.
A member of the Agricultural Communicators Network (AAEA), Birchmier has received multiple honors and recognitions including AAEA Master Writer, AAEA Writer of the Year — Honorable Mention 2018 and the AAEA Andy Markwart Horizon Award. She was also named one of Seed World’s Top 20 Under 30 in 2019.
“Our Greenlee School family is made up of many successful alumni across Iowa and the world who are advancing professions in advertising, journalism and public relations, and we are pleased to recognize two of them formally with these new awards. Shannon and Kacey’s excellent work in agricultural communication is inspiring for both colleagues in our fields and our current students. We’re proud to call them alumnae,” said Michael Dahlstrom, interim director of the Greenlee School.
The new awards, which were established in collaboration with the Greenlee School Advisory Council, provide avenues for mid- and early-career recognitions of Greenlee School alumni. They build upon the school’s longstanding James W. Schwartz Award, the highest award conferred by the school that has traditionally served as a lifetime achievement recognition, and mirror university and college awards for similar achievements.
“The Greenlee School Advisory Council exists to help deepen the connection between the school and industry. By highlighting the achievements of Greenlee alumni with these awards, we hope to inspire the next generation of journalists and communications professionals. We extend our congratulations to Shannon and Kacey,” said Dan Winters, chair of the Greenlee Advisory Council.
Recipients of the new alumni awards will be recognized annually at a spring honors and awards banquet hosted by the Greenlee School. The spring 2020 banquet was canceled due to COVID-19, so the school plans to formally recognize Latham and Birchmier at an event this fall.
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2021 awards. Fill out a form to nominate a Greenlee alumnus or alumna for the Greenlee Professional Achievement Award or the Greenlee Young Alumni Award. Nominations are due Dec. 1, 2020.