Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Honors College

February 21, 2007

Rick Babusiak
A Ball State telecommunications major is being touted by USA Today as one of the nation's top college students.

Rick Babusiak, a senior from Bradenton, Fla., and a 2006 Letterman Scholarship winner, is one of 14 students from across the nation — and the only one from Indiana — to receive an honorable mention in USA Today's 18th annual All-USA College Academic Team program. The newspaper announced the recipients Feb. 15.

"This truly is an outstanding honor, but I must give a great deal of the credit to Ball State and the telecommunications department for providing me with many great opportunities," the 22-year-old said. "With the guidance and mentoring of my professors, I have been able to realize my potential both in and out of the classroom." 

About 600 students nationwide were nominated by their colleges for the honor. Students were chosen in a two-step process by judges who considered academics, breadth and depth of activities and leadership, and most important, how they have extended their academic skills beyond the classroom.

Nancy Carlson, telecommunications department chair, nominated Babusiak, describing him as a talented, hard-working student.

"Only the most outstanding students win a Letterman Scholarship, and Rick qualifies as a shining example of the quality of students to have received the award," she said. "He has been involved in a variety of programs offered by the department and has taken advantage of the immersive learning opportunities available to him. Rick is certainly an all-star at Ball State."

Babusiak, who is an Honors College student, was honored with a Letterman Scholarship after developing a marketing campaign for Ball State. The scholarship was established in 1985 by the 1970 graduate of Ball State and host of the "Late Show with David Letterman" to provide financial assistance to telecommunication students. The awards are made on the primary basis of creativity. Projects may include a written work, a research effort, audio or video projects, graphics projects, a film or presentation.

Babusiak is currently executive producer of Connections Live, a student-run television magazine that has won six regional Emmy Awards. As executive producer he oversees the weekly program and writes scripts, designs graphics, produces segments and trains underclassmen. The program is broadcast weekly on WIPB-TV, Ball State's Public Broadcasting System (PBS) station. 

Ball State's only other USA Today honorable mention came in 2003 when Jon Shaner, also a telecommunications major, was honored.