Three Local Women Honored for Excellence in Communication

In May, our chapter awarded our annual academic scholarship and recognized two other individuals with the Chapter Star and Professional Communicator Awards.

This year’s scholarship recipient was Mackenzie Lyons of Sherman. Mackenzie received an Associate in Arts degree from Lincoln Land Community College and is attending Western Illinois University this fall to study broadcasting.

The Chapter Star Award was presented to Dawn Pennington for outstanding involvement and participation in AWC. Dawn served as the chapter’s webmaster from 2014 to 2016 and is now serving as chapter president. While serving as webmaster, she transitioned the chapter website,, to a content management system and also worked to launch an online payment method for members and non-members to register for monthly programs hosted by the chapter.

“Our chapter has benefited from Dawn’s knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, new technology,” said Kara Kienzler, AWC Springfield’s 2015-16 president. “Her work has helped to improve how we make information and resources available to our members, and streamline our registration process.”

The Professional Communicator Award was presented to Kyla Kruse. This award recognizes any Springfield area communications professional who has made a significant contribution or impact to a nonprofit, for-profit or media. Kyla serves as communications director at the Energy Education Council. She was selected because of the successful guidance she has provided the national non-for-profit organization’s multi-faceted communications program since 2011. In her role, she oversees public outreach efforts on electrical safety, efficiency, and renewable energy and is responsible for two nationwide safety campaigns every year, which received national honors in 2015.

“The caliber and importance of her work speak to her personal commitment and dedication to creating a safer, smarter world,” her nomination said. “Kyla has played an instrumental role in getting the word out to the public about serious issues.”

Congratulations to our honorees!