Announcing the 2021 Greenlee School alumni award recipients

CATEGORIES: Alumni, News
headshots of Al Henkel and Adam Kuban
Al Henkel (left), 2021 Greenlee Professional Achievement Award recipient, and Adam Kuban, 2021 Greenlee Young Alumni Award recipient


Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication has named the 2021 recipients of two alumni awards.

Al Henkel out in the field reporting on a wildfires.
Al Henkel covers the Hennessey Fire in California in August 2020.

Greenlee Professional Achievement Award

Al Henkel (’82 journalism and mass communication)
NBC News, senior coordinating producer

Al Henkel is the recipient of the 2021 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.

Henkel has over 40 years of experience in the broadcast news industry. He joined NBC News in 1990 and is currently a senior coordinating producer whose duties include story coordination, generation and production for all NBC News programs and platforms. He is also the primary, company-wide trainer for field producers. Prior to his current role, he served as the news organization’s South and Latin America deputy regional director, a coordinating national producer, the acting bureau chief and a producer.

In more than three decades with NBC, Henkel has covered many of the nation’s biggest news events, including the Branch Davidian Siege in Waco, Texas (1993), the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (2003), the BP oil spill (2010), the shootings of Trayvon Martin (2012) and Breonna Taylor (2020), and the riots in Ferguson, Missouri (2014), Baltimore (2015), and Minneapolis (2020).

Henkel has also been on the scene for dozens of natural disasters across the South, the West and the Midwest, including hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes. He is a qualified wildland firefighter and frequently reports from firelines across the U.S. He also covered the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the long road to recovery in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. Through the years, he’s also covered several election seasons and the Olympic Games.

For his work, he has won five National Emmys, three Edward R. Murrow awards, a Peabody Award and numerous other national awards.

Henkel got his start working at stations in local markets, including Ames, Cedar Rapids, Tulsa, Shreveport and Oklahoma City. He resides in Arlington, Texas.


Headshot of Adam Kuban
Adam Kuban is a faculty member at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Greenlee Young Alumni Award

Adam J. Kuban (M.S. ’07 journalism and mass communication, ’05 journalism and mass communication, meteorology)
Ball State University, Department of Journalism, associate professor

The recipient of the 2021 Greenlee Young Alumni Award is Adam J. Kuban. 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.

Kuban joined the faculty in the Department of Journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, in 2011, and became an associate professor in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Utah.

Kuban’s scholarship includes both traditional research and award-winning creative work, with a focus on journalism curriculum development and media production.

In teaching, he leads project-based, interdisciplinary classes with community partners. For example, Water Quality Indiana allows students from six majors to collect and analyze water samples from local waterways selected by community partners. The resulting multimedia presentations document the experience and help the public have a better understanding of water quality. His Police + The Press project, a partnership between journalism and criminal justice students and local police departments, builds rapport by allowing students to experience both the assessments required to become an officer and simulated police scenarios while also sharing the many functions of media with officers.

Kuban also leads the Louis E. Ingelhart Scholars program, a two-semester leadership and media curriculum in which students partner with The Facing Project, a nonprofit storytelling project and NPR podcast, to chronicle personal testimonies related to topics such as depression, addiction, cancer, sustainability, and advocacy and activism in sports.

Kuban’s professional experience includes time spent as a broadcast news reporter and as an online magazine reporter, writer and editor. His honors include the 2017 Ball State University Office of Institutional Diversity Research Award, the 2016 “20 Under 40” Award from The Star Press and Muncie Magazine, and many other university and academic recognitions. He has 10 peer-reviewed publications and 52 peer-reviewed conference panels, papers and posters.

“Al Henkel and Adam Kuban have dedicated their careers to showcasing the power of journalism and storytelling in action, and we are proud to recognize them as our 2021 alumni award recipients,” said Michael Dahlstrom, LAS Dean’s Professor and director of the Greenlee School.

These awards, which were established in collaboration with the Greenlee School Advisory Council, provide avenues for mid- and early-career recognition 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 recipients of the alumni awards will be recognized at the fall 2021 Greenlee School Advisory Council meeting.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2022 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. 15, 2021.