Bringing Home the Gold: Millikin’s Helena Hashimoto wins National Radio Award at Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference

The Big Blue junior won the Golden Microphone Award for Best Celebrity or Artist/Band Interview.

Helena Hashimoto

DECATUR, Ill. – When Millikin University junior Helena Hashimoto was choosing the focus of her studies, she wanted to balance her academic passions with some technical skills that would help her professionally after graduation.

Initially a Theatre major, Helena switched to Philosophy and Communications, a double major combination that has helped her in her numerous student organizations and extracurricular activities. 

“Through the Honors program, I fell in love with Philosophy and loved taking all of my ethics courses. I joined Philosophy because I found it really interesting, and I loved it,” she said. “Communication is what I want to do with my life. I'm also getting a minor in Organizational Leadership, and I really love the leadership side of it, which resonates with many different organizations I'm involved with at Millikin.”


One of those organizations is 89.5 FM WJMU “The Quad,” Millikin’s award-winning college radio station. Helena is the station’s Promotions Manager and in that role has interviewed students, faculty, staff, and visiting celebrities about their passions and upcoming projects. Her interview with actor and comedian Janelle James was recently selected as the “Best Celebrity or Artist/Band Interview” at the 2024 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference, held March 1-2 in New York City. 

“I was so shocked when I won. This is an international conference, and everyone in this category is amazing. I thought there was no shot that I'm going to win this, and I was just here to have some fun,” Helena said. “I was practicing my Oscars politely smiling and doing small claps, and then they said ‘Millikin University,’ and I was completely shocked. It was such an overwhelming feeling of being recognized, which always fees good. It was very humbling.”

WJMU Staff
WJMU student staffers Eliz Hulick, Helena Hashimoto, Katie Kocan, and Cole Anderson at the IBS Conference.

Helena had the support of three other WJMU staffers -– Eliz Hulick, Katie Kocan, and Cole Anderson -– who were also in attendance as Eliz was an IBS finalist in the Best Public Service Announcement category and Cole a finalist for Best Station ID. 

“It was beautiful to be there with them. People are very supportive in the multimedia industry and the communication industry in general,” Helena said. “Being there with my friends was great, and we had such a great laugh because I was unprepared for it.”

Helena interviewed James, one of the stars of “Abbott Elementary,” ahead of James’ performance at Kirkland Fine Arts Center in October. Helena’s time with her was limited, and she worked with WJMU Director Sam Meister to make the most of the opportunity to talk with the Emmy-nominated actress. 

“We had to think about the main things we wanted to ask. We wanted to ask open-ended questions where she could just do her own thing and give us a little insight into what her life was like. It was great that Janelle was willing to do it, which was all we asked for,” Helena said. “Sam gets all of the credit for the editing because he did an amazing job putting a lot of production value into the interview. The award is just as much his as it is mine.”

Helena Hashimoto

Along with her Executive Board position at WJMU, Helena is a Resident Assistant with Campus Life and a House Manager at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center. As a part of the Honors program, she serves as the President of the Student Honors Advisory Council (SHAC). 

“SHAC organizes events for students and philanthropic events to raise funds for local communities in Decatur. We have an annual conference that we attend every fall semester called NCHC (National Collegiate Honors Council) and they have talks about different college honors programs,” Helena said. “Being President of SHAC has given me so many insights into what leadership actually is and experience in leading your peers in classes with you.”

Helena looks forward to her senior year and graduation with the Class of 2025. As she wraps up her double major, she hopes to continue sharing her campus interviews. 

“My favorite interviews are the ones with students and faculty who are really excited about their work and they can talk about it forever,” Helena said. I think the student interviews are really interesting because some students are super involved in everything, and getting to talk to them and have them share a little bit about their passions is amazing. It is great to give them a platform.”

WJMU Capital Campaign

WJMU’s radio tower and antenna were damaged nearly a year ago in a storm in April of 2023, limiting the station's broadcasting ability. Millikin began a capital campaign to replace that tower and antenna, raising 73% of the goal ($80,000 of the $110,000 goal) so far. 

To give a gift to WJMU's campaign, contact Alumni & Development at 217-424-6383 or email Dan Baker at