Medical student feature story wins CASE Circle of Excellence award

Joel Bervell

An inspiring story about a medical student using an app known for quirky videos as a tool for social change helped Washington State University Science Writer Sara Zaske land a golden seal of approval from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). 

Zaske’s piece, “WSU student fights racial bias one TikTok at a time,” was recognized internationally with a gold award out of more than 4,000 entrees as part of CASE’s 2023 Circle of Excellence Awards. Two other WSU projects, both produced by University Marketing and Communications staff, were recognized with bronze awards as part CASE’s annual competition. 

Every year, CASE recognizes institutions worldwide for their marketing and communications efforts, with categories ranging from design and writing to alumni relations and fundraising. Out of more than 4,000 entrees in 2023, judges recognized 521 projects with bronze, silver, gold or Grand Gold awards. 

WSU’s 2023 Gold Award

“WSU student fights racial bias one TikTok at a time” (gold award)

Science Writer Sara Zaske’s story, “WSU student fights racial bias one TikTok at a time” received high praise from the judge pool for its excellent execution of a profile piece, earning a gold award in the profile less than 1,000 words category. The piece highlights the work of WSU medical student Joel Bervell who helps bring attention to racial bias in medicine through clever, informative TikTok videos. The article, first published in WSU Insider, has led to various coverage by news outlets and helped bring greater national attention to his efforts. Bervell has continued his advocacy work including speaking at companies like Google and Meta as well as participating in a White House social media roundtable on healthcare in 2022.