UMass Boston Students Take Home Golden Microphone Trophy

Office of Communications | March 05, 2012
UMass Boston Students Take Home Golden Microphone Trophy

Students Take Home Top Prize in National Radio Competition

Two University of Massachusetts Boston students have brought a golden microphone trophy back to campus. Seniors Caleb Nelson and Jacob Sommer won an Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) award Saturday in New York City.

Nelson and Sommer received top honors in the Best Public Affairs Program category for their project, JFK 50.

“I knew we had one of the best entries in public affairs, a field I am very interested in.  Having the best collegiate public affairs program in the country? I'm still grinning!” says Sommer, a political science major from Medford.

The JFK 50 project is a series of 26 90-second segments that started running on WUMB 91.9FM in October. The segments will continue to run on a weekly basis through May. Each piece covers a different aspect of John F. Kennedy's presidency, from his inauguration to his handling of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and includes portions of his speeches, telephone conversations, and recorded interviews.

“JFK 50 was Caleb's brainchild,” Sommer says. “He talked with the JFK Presidential Library and Museum and WUMB about it, and got approval to do a radio series of short pieces about John F. Kennedy's presidency. He asked me to be the announcer for the series, and frankly I jumped at the chance. It put together two disparate parts, my political science studies and my love of voice acting and voiceover work.”

Sommer and Nelson put the project together over this past summer and fall.

“I had a blast researching and writing the episodes,” says Nelson, a philosophy and public policy major who grew up in Dorchester and now lives in Savin Hill. “UMass Boston students should really take advantage of that free access to the JFK Library. It's an inspiring spot. I'd never been on my own until this summer for my research and since then I've visited at least 20 times. Even if you're just going to drink a coffee and look out over the harbor, it's one of those spaces that makes you want to create good things, and inspires a desire to make sense of the world.”

Another UMass Boston student, junior art major Aran Gilmore, a student DJ at WUMB, was a finalist in the Best On-Air Personality category.

WUMB General Manager Pat Monteith entered all of the students in the competition and went to New York City for the award presentation.

“The most amazing thing is that WUMB's three students have only been involved in producing their respective features and programs for five months,” Monteith says.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: jfk , kennedy , radio , student success , wumb

Comment on this story

Comments (3)

Posted by Jennifer Solomon | March 07, 2012 - 8:06 p.m.

Congratulations to Caleb Nelson and his family.

Posted by Alice | March 07, 2012 - 7:24 p.m.

Great job - very informative as well as interesting!! I loved them, especially #15 “What’s Sammy Davis Jr. doing here?” I also like “Chimp in Space.” You can hear them on What’s your favorite?

Posted by Rachel Sommer | March 06, 2012 - 8:31 a.m.

As you might imagine, I’m thrilled that my husband is finally getting some official recognition for his voice work. smile