ComArtSci Alumna Writes a Love Letter to Detroit and Secures Career in Social Media

Posted on: July 10, 2017

ComArtSci alumna Amber Lewis was recently named one of Crain’s Twenty in their 20s. Lewis, who is now the digital and social media manager of the Detroit mayor’s office, captured the hearts of Detroiters on Valentine’s Day with the #DetroitLoveLetter social campaign. Quickly, the hashtag was trending on Twitter, with companies and residents contributing their affection for the Motor City.

AmberLewis1(Wide)Lewis graduated from Michigan State University in 2015 with a major in advertising with a management and media track and a minor in Spanish. Lewis’ major had a focus on social media, so she was able to learn about strategies, skills and audiences in the classroom that would build the foundation for her career.

My advertising management major really laid the foundation for my knowledge and how I apply it to what I do,” Lewis said. “I received my New Media Driver’s License and through the course I learned the practical application of tools and tactics in digital and social media. My consumer behavior course taught me a lot about audiences, something I use when buying ads and targeting posts on social media.”

As a ComArtSci undergraduate, Lewis was highly involved on and off campus. She got hands-on experience by managing the digital and social accounts for Emmons Hall Government, African American Celebratory, Pinky Promise and Spartan Remix. She studied brand strategy and storytelling abroad in Cannes, learned networking and communication skills through Career Services workshops and participated in the Marcus Graham Project

From the Classroom to the Boardroom

The Marcus Graham Project is a global organization that travels to different cities and partners with advertising agencies to host workshops. They assign a project to work on within a certain time frame with the chosen client. The organization’s goal is to get more minorities in advertising and marketing positions. Lewis’ participation in the Marcus Graham Project helped her transition her skillset from an educational to a professional setting. Her client was the City of Detroit.

“That workshop was eye-opening, because when I came to the city, I was a one-person department so I had to start from scratch,” Lewis said. “It was kind of like sticking my toes in the water for what I’m doing now because they give you these [social media] platforms and they say make them great. I would say it was a good transition into the role.”

Lewis and her team were instructed to create a social campaign for the city. The only guideline given was the need for a better social strategy. Lewis and her team presented to the Chief of Staff for the City of Detroit, who Lewis connected with and gave her resume to. A few months later, she was hired in as their digital and social media associate. Later, she was promoted to digital and social media manager.

For eight months, Lewis worked to transform the City of Detroit’s social strategy. She was gathering content and developing ideas all on her own.

Lewis worked to unify the brand presence for the city’s social platforms. The platforms had different names, the images were outdated and not all of the pages were verified. She also focused on growing their following. In 6 months, the City of Detroit’s social platforms grew their following by a total of 27 percent. Overall, their platforms have grown by 30,000 more followers.

“I think with me coming onboard, we did a lot more fun and engaging posts that weren’t necessarily related to city programs and initiatives, but more so to our audience,” Lewis said. “The way in which we put information out has evolved, so it’s not just posting a screenshot of a press release, it’s getting content and talking to people who will be impacted. A lot of times, through storytelling, it’s how people connect to concepts.”

Lewis said what she loves about her job is that no two days are the same. In her position, she manages the digital and social presence for the mayor and the City of Detroit, including running the social channels. She develops strategy, produces content, gives creative direction to photographers and videographers, covers press events and works on ad buying and campaign creation.

Disrupting the Norm

The Valentine’s Day from which the #DetroitLoveLetter social campaign was born began as just another day. Lewis was in the office with the communications director, media relations director and the digital and social media associate she had recently hired. They wanted to do something fun for the holiday and, with a little brainstorming, they crafted different themed posts for Detroit-based companies. Their goal was to get local people and companies involved.

“It was like the #1 trending topic within an hour and it stayed that way for a majority of the day,” Lewis said. “Valentine's Day is celebrated everywhere. In the City of Detroit, we have a sense of pride, so [we wanted to figure out] how to share that and tap into that pride while also being relevant on a topic. It wasn’t necessarily promoting a city program or initiative but it was associated with the brand of the City of Detroit.”

Lewis’ advice for social strategy is to stay current and relevant by knowing what’s going on, what’s coming up, and most of all, knowing your audience by discovering what language, tone and content connects with them. However, she explained, a lot of the process is trial and error.

Lewis recommends ComArtSci students use their college’s resources, such as experiential learning, study abroad opportunities and the Career Center. Moreover, she said students should be brave as they enter an industry that is still being explored.

“Don’t be afraid to disrupt the norm and follow your gut,” Lewis said. “I think a lot of times, since social and digital media is a relatively new industry, a lot of companies may not understand the importance of it or the resources that you need. [Don’t be] afraid to voice what you feel would be best for your company, your brand or yourself. Innovation comes from being different and creating change - so that disruption is necessary.”

By Rianna Middleton

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Advertising Professor Brings Award-Winning Experience to the Classroom

Posted on: July 6, 2017

“They all want experience, but you can’t get experience until someone hires you, but no one’s going to hire you if you don’t have experience.”

Schiavone FeatureThis is the predicament that haunts so many college graduates, and current advertising professor of practice Lou Schiavone was no different. After pursuing his master’s in English and comparative literature from Columbia University, he moved back to Connecticut and once again became roommates with his parents. He worked at a bookstore and a few indoor tennis clubs while scouring the Help Wanted section of his local newspaper, hoping to break into the publishing industry.

“I saw an ad one day for a copywriter,” said Schiavone. “I had no clue what it was. I thought it had to do with copyrighting a name or registering a trademark. That was how clueless I was. Advertising was not on my radar in any way.”

Schiavone went into the interview with an accordion folder holding poetry, a couple of term papers and a few book reviews he had written. It was far from a portfolio, but it earned him the chance to prove his worth and he landed the job.

A Successful Career

After bouncing locally from agency to agency, Schiavone made his way to New York and landed at McCann-Erickson, where he would go on to create award-winning ad campaigns for a number of high-profile companies.

“When I got to New York and McCann, I got to work on Coca-Cola, L’oreal, Sony, the American Express Gold Card and AT&T,” said Schiavone. “It was really a lovely mix.”

Schiavone ended up heading over to work at Ogilvy, where he worked on accounts like Seagrams, Duracell, the British Tourist Authority and Paco Rabanne. He continued to work for a number of highly-visible accounts, and even did pro-bono work for brands like the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and Meals on Wheels.

Schiavone was the creative director and copywriter for this poster while doing freelance work.

Schiavone was the creative director and copywriter for this poster while doing freelance work.

And then Schiavone got recruited to come to Michigan. He worked at Doner in Southfield, which had primarily been a regional agency, just as they were getting approached by national and multinational clients for work. Schiavone’s creative group worked on brands like Iams pet food, British Petroleum, Chiquita Bananas, Ballpark Franks and Lay-Z-Boy, as well as more regional accounts like The Detroit Zoo, The Detroit Institute of Arts and University of Michigan Hospital.

“I was at Doner for about eight years and then I went to work at Enlighten, a digital agency in Ann Arbor, which was strategically a great career move,” said Schiavone, who remembers the convergence of traditional media into a new digital world where everyone lives online. “My time at Enlighten helped me to see the convergence coming and also to know how to fit what I do into that landscape. It gave me a skillset that helped me stay relevant.”

Bringing Experience to the Classroom

His continued relevance and impressive track record in the advertising profession are what put him on ComArtSci’s radar. Before long, he was approached by the university to teach.

“I’ve practiced my craft in the real world, and now I teach what I’ve done my whole career,” said Schiavone. “They have a commitment in this department and in this college to bring in people who are actually still practitioners in what they teach.”

If there’s anyone who knows what it takes to be successful in the advertising industry, it’s Schiavone, and he wants to pass that information onto his students. He says that talent is of paramount importance and that “there’s a lot of talent here” at ComArtSci.

Another one of Schiavone's freelance pieces.

Another one of Schiavone's freelance pieces.

“Besides talent, timing is really kind of everything,” said Schiavone. “If I look at my own career, it had everything to do with timing. Sometimes it’s about knowing people who can open doors for you. That doesn’t mean you won’t do well on your own once you go through those doors, but it does help to develop relationships with people who can facilitate your movement upward.”

Schiavone has certainly propelled his students upward and onward. Recent advertising graduate Savannah Benavides ’17 won a National Silver ADDY after Schiavone urged her to submit her class project, recognizing her talent despite her doubt. Alumnus Matt Richter ’16, who just won a National Gold ADDY for his work with alumna Lauren Cutler ’16, credits much of his success to the relationship he built with Schiavone, citing him as one of the professors “who will bend over backwards to get you a job, because they believe in you.”

A Global Industry

Schiavone also emphasizes the importance of staying relevant by keeping up with current work in the industry, not just in the U.S., but globally. New markets like Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv and Moscow are turning out great work.

“You don’t have to know every agency and every player, but it does help to know where the really good work is being done,” said Schiavone. “It’s really a global business now.”

Beyond talent, timing and staying relevant, Schiavone says that he can’t think of anyone who ever got anywhere on the creative side of advertising by playing it safe.

“I think it’s important to play full-out, to take your foot off the brake - metaphorically speaking - and actually let your mind go to a place that’s unfamiliar,” said Schiavone. “I think that’s absolutely critical. If you just work within a box and play it safe, you’ll have a career. You just won’t have a terribly exciting one.”  

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Advertising Grad Wins a National Silver ADDY

Posted on: June 20, 2017

Recent advertising graduate Savannah Benavides ’17 reeled in a National Silver ADDY after hooking the judges with her witty 3-ad campaign for Ugly Stik, a company specializing in fishing tackle. The campaign had previously won a Gold ADDY at the local level and a Silver ADDY at districts, propelling her work to the national stage.

“I was really surprised, but mostly I was excited,” said Benavides. “It felt awesome to receive recognition for some of my work, but I was even more excited to work harder in order to create more for my portfolio. Winning awards is really nice, but it’s so important to learn as much as you can in the process.”

Benavides 1

Fishing for Ideas

Benavides’ winning campaign was produced as an assignment for an introductory copywriting class she took her junior year under the direction of Lou Schiavone. For this particular assignment, students were to create advertisements for a brand of their choice. Benavides decided on Ugly Stik because of the challenge it would present her, and went to work on a list of ideas.

“My creative process is, in a word, exhaustive,” said Benavides. “I do my best to get out all of my ideas on paper as quickly as I can. My best ideas come when I’m rapid-firing them onto a piece of paper or into a blank document.”

Benavides 2

Benavides decided to poke fun at the fisherman stereotype and produce a humorous campaign that would resonate with the target consumer audience. As the idea was further developed into three advertisements, Benavides gained constructive feedback whenever possible.

“Each step of the way, I had amazing peers and mentors giving me feedback, including criticism,” said Benavides. “It’s been so helpful to receive the insight and opinion of others, because it helps build me into a better creative.”

Enjoying the Ride

Benavides admits that she wishes she would have known the importance of finding fun in her work earlier on. In fact, her best work came when she stopped stressing and started producing because she wanted to.

Benavides 3

“Of course, getting an education at Michigan State is something to be taken seriously, but it was so important for me to find the time and energy to fall in love with my work and the creative process,” said Benavides. “I really think the most vital part of the creative process is to be in love with it and to enjoy every minute of it.”

Benavides advises other students to pursue their passions and take pleasure in the process.

“Find a way to feel comfortable having fun and enjoying the field that you chose to pursue,” said Benavides. “But if you don’t enjoy the field that you’re in, change it. Life is short.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Advertising Grads Win a National Gold ADDY

Posted on: June 15, 2017

“When work needs doing, leave it to the ladies. And keep a cold one waiting.”Flyer

These are the words, accompanied with expertly designed graphics, that earned Lauren Cutler ‘16 and Matt Richter ‘16 a National Gold ADDY. During an intensive advertising portfolio workshop, the then-students were given a creative brief to invent a micro-brewing company that is by women, for women: Lumberjane Brewing Co. was born.

“Our strategy in this campaign was to address the archaic “just for men” culture surrounding beer, so we created a microbrewery brand specifically for middle-class, hard-working women,” said Cutler, a junior art director at Güd Marketing in Lansing. “We created a campaign that is caught between delicate and rugged, for a semi-feminine beer with a punch of attitude.”

Brewing Success

The campaign has been wildly successful. Lumberjane is the winner of a Gold ADDY for Integrated Campaigns, a Gold ADDY for Packaging and a Judge’s Choice Award at the 2017 Mid-Michigan ADDY Awards Show. Following its success at the regional level, Lumberjane has gone on to win a District 6 Silver ADDY, as well as the National Gold ADDY, which Cutler accepted at the awards show in New Orleans on June 10.

3 Bottles“I have a few other ADDYs, but this one being a national award definitely takes the cake,” said Richter, who is currently interning at 360i in New York City. “ADDYs are great resume builders, and they definitely substantiate your work.”

While Cutler served as Lumberjane’s art director, Richter was the copywriter - though the distinction between their roles was often blurred. Cutler accredits much of the project’s success to the collaborative effort between Richter and herself.

“Concept development is the most important part, and both Matt and I spent a lot of time making sure the goals of the campaign completely lined up with the way we would execute it,” said Cutler. “I think that’s why it’s been so successful.”

The Summer Intensive Workshop

Lumberjane was created entirely in the realm of ADV 455, the Intensive Portfolio Workshop that is only offered during the summer semester. Cutler admits that the workshop is not for the faint-of-heart, as it is held Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.‒5 p.m.Bottle Logo

“The Intensive Portfolio Workshop is an absolute must for creative advertising students,” said Richter. “It’s the closest you will ever get to working in an agency while still in school. Deadlines are strict, it involves a lot of late nights and you will regularly get scolded, but at the end of it all, you will have some really great work to show off to recruiters.”

While Cutler advises other students to “Have fun, work hard and believe in what you do,” Richter wants advertising students to take advantage of everything the program has to offer.

“Do everything. Take the summer Intensive Portfolio Workshop,” said Richter. “It’s not just a great portfolio builder, it gives you a taste of what work will be like after school. It also leads to the creation of great relationships with people like Henry Brimmer, Ross Chowles and Lou Schiavone. These aren’t normal professors. These are people who will bend over backwards to get you a job, because they believe in you.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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“Just One More Episode”: ComArtSci Professors Research Binge-Watching

Posted on: June 14, 2017

We’ve all been there: cozy on the couch, our favorite show on Netflix, telling ourselves that this is the last episode we’ll watch. But before we know it, we’re five episodes in and can’t seem to stop. We’ve just fallen into the trap that is binge watching.

Morgan Ellithorpe, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, partnered with Allison Eden, assistant professor of communication, to conduct research on the effects of binge watching. The two presented their findings at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA).

A lot of people engage in binge-watching - that is watching more than 3 episodes of a show in a row,” said Eden. “But it is relatively new in terms of being available to everyone, due to streaming technology like Netflix. We are trying to understand if there is something different about binge watching than other types of viewing behavior, and if it can have an impact on your health.”

Allison Eden2

Allison Eden

What They Found

Ellithorpe and Eden’s research found that binge watching can have an impact on a person’s health.

“Our research suggests that binge watching is associated with detrimental health behaviors such as foregoing sleep in order to continue watching, selecting unhealthy meals, unhealthy snacking and sedentary behavior (i.e., sitting too long, less exercise),” said Ellithorpe. “Other researchers have found similar effects, including a possible link with heart disease.


Morgan Ellithorpe

Though their data points to negative health effects, the researchers acknowledge the positive effects as well.

“Entertainment can do a lot of positive things for you, beyond just laughing and enjoying it in the moment,” said Eden. “It can keep you company when you feel lonely, help you recover from a long day of work and take you outside yourself to experience another character’s perspective. We see a lot of these positive effects generally when studying entertainment.”

Interestingly enough, these positive effects are even stronger after one has been binge watching.

Importantly, we see some evidence that these positive outcomes of media entertainment – enjoyment, immersion and character involvement – are stronger after binge watching than they are after watching TV the traditional way (i.e., one episode per week),” said Ellithorpe.  

Both researchers point out the fact that binge watching is not to be confused with problematic television use. Ellithorpe notes that problem viewing has elements of behavioral addiction, indicating continued viewing despite sometimes serious consequences. This may include issues such as inability to cut down on TV time, displacement of other activities, withdrawal and continued use despite knowing that the activity is causing problems. Ellithorpe makes it clear that although binge watching can sometimes touch on some of these behaviors, it does not generally make it to the level of problematic viewing.

“We have some evidence that although on the face of it, binge watching for hours on end seems like a potentially negative behavior that is almost akin to an addiction, it actually is not the same as problematic, addictive television use,” said Ellithorpe. “Problematic television use is worrisome for the way it impedes other aspects of one’s life – from social contact to mental health. It is important (and relieving, given its popularity!) that binge watching is different from problematic television use.”

One Step Further

Ellithorpe and Eden are interested in the overall effects of media, and more specifically how it can affect a person’s health. In terms of binge watching, they realized what a common practice it has become, and wanted to further their research in the area.

“From an entertainment standpoint, it’s a really interesting question to ask if the form of media consumption can alter the response and effects,” said Eden. “Of course, from a personal perspective, many of us have certainly struggled against the desire to watch ‘just one more’ episode of a show. Also, with Morgan’s interest in health outcomes from entertainment, and my past work on guilty couch potatoes, it seemed like a natural next step to take.”

Eden adds that their research was welcomed by many at the ICA conference. Since binge watching has become more popular over the past few years, thanks to streaming sites such as Netflix, many people were able to relate to their findings.

“It’s a common practice,” said Eden. “So people were pretty interested in finding out how best to manage this behavior and if there are any negative effects.”

Next time you’re tempted to binge watch, remember that although it may be good for your mood, it could also be detrimental to your health.

By Katie Kochanny

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ComArtSci Professor Researches Media’s Influence on Teens

Posted on: June 8, 2017

Morgan_Ellithorpe_WideMorgan Ellithorpe, assistant professor of advertising and public relations at ComArtSci, partnered with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania to study how risky behaviors portrayed in the media, such as alcohol and tobacco use, sex and violence, are repeated by teenagers.

Take for example, shows like Empire, Narcos and Game of Thrones. Ellithorpe said teenagers see their favorite characters drinking alcohol, doing drugs and/or being violent in multiple episodes and come to think that this is normal behavior.

“My job is to figure out which adolescents are more likely to repeat the risky behaviors they see in the media, what kinds of media are more or less likely to influence behavior and what we can do to decrease the likelihood that these kinds of things will transfer from media to adolescent behavior,” Ellithorpe said.

Media Consumption Differences Across Racial and Ethnic Lines

Ellithorpe and her colleagues have published several research papers on the issue and she presented on the topic at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA). Ellithorpe said their research has shown that there are racial and ethnic differences in media consumption.

“We know that black, Hispanic and white adolescents watch different kinds and amounts of media, and the media they watch portrays different risk behaviors to different extents,” Ellithorpe said.

For example, Ellithorpe and her colleagues have found that black youth watch more media than their Hispanic or white counterparts and the shows they watch are more likely to include black characters, who are more likely to be involved in sex and alcohol use than white characters. Despite these facts, the team has found that black teenagers seem to be less influenced by media than white teenagers.

Ellithorpe said that, in the past, similar studies did not include media that was relevant to black teenagers, such as television shows with black characters. However, even with the inclusion of this type of media, she has found that black teenagers still show lower levels of media influence than white teenagers. Ellithorpe challenges future research to confirm these findings and help solve the puzzle.

Research Findings Consistent with the CDC

The researchers have also found that drinking alcohol before or during sexual intercourse is common among adolescents and young adults, which is consistent with similar findings by the CDC.

The combination of alcohol use and sexual behavior is the most common behavioral risk combination in television and movies,” Ellithorpe said. “We know that drinking alcohol before sexual behavior increases sexual risk taking and susceptibility to accidental pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, so it is really important to understand the who, when and why of this behavior.”

Hope for the Future

Ellithorpe hopes that her research will positively impact the lives of young people.

“I hope that stakeholders in adolescent health and wellbeing —  from policy-makers to health organizations to physicians and parents — will be able to use this information gleaned from our research to reduce the negative impacts of mediated risk on adolescent behavior,” Ellithorpe said.

In the future, Ellithorpe hopes to explore the role of social media on influencing adolescent behavior.

“Adolescents and young adults are very often posting on social media about television content and we are exploring the possibility that this social media posting could be a way to intervene in the negative influence of television risk behavior,” Ellithorpe said.

Additionally, Ellithorpe hopes to see more research in the area of media targeted at specific racial and ethnic groups, such as Spanish-language programming.

“This is a growing area of scholarship that really needs more research to understand how this media is different from mainstream media, who is watching these kinds of media and the influence exposure to this kind of media has on cognition and behavior,” Ellithorpe said.

By Rianna N. Middleton

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Professor Constantinos Coursaris Awarded the IIE Fulbright Greek Diaspora Fellowship

Posted on: May 18, 2017

University of the Aegean top image

Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris, associate professor for both the Media and Information and Advertising and Public Relations departments of ComArtSci, has been awarded a fellowship by The IIE Fulbright Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program.

As part of his new role, Coursaris has traveled to Greece for two months to collaborate with the University of the Aegean’s Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering on curriculum co-development, collaborative research on digital entrepreneurship and to assist with the professional development and mentoring of graduate students in digital entrepreneurship and electronic government.

Working abroad

From April 24 to June 24, Coursaris will work with Dr. Dimitris Drossos to create a new exchange program that would allow MSU students to spend a semester studying in Greece, while MSU would host Greek students from the University of the Aegean.

Coursaris will also explore new research projects with Greek scholars in the area of digital entrepreneurship and mentor graduate students on topics ranging from creating a professional portfolio, to designing rigorous research studies and using advanced statistics to analyze data.

“My interest in this project primarily stems from my passion for supporting MSU’s World Grant Ideal,” said Coursaris. “This is enacted, in part, through a greater internationalization of our East Lansing campus, the provision of study abroad opportunities to MSU students and the bilateral mobility of teacher-scholars.”

The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program

Constantinos Coursaris

Constantinos Coursaris

Coursaris is one of 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars, from 16 prominent U.S. and Canadian universities, traveling to Greece in order to conduct academic projects with their peers at Greek universities. They are working in areas such as public health, chemical genomics research, urban food security and a variety of others. Twelve Greek universities were selected by the GDFP to host the fellows for collaborative projects that meet specific needs at their institutions and in their communities.

The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program is designed to help avert Greece’s brain drain and develop the long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Greece and the United States and Canada. It is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

“Having been born and raised in Greece, I was also personally motivated to explore opportunities to support higher education in Greece, particularly during this difficult time period,” said Coursaris. “Investing and transforming Greek higher education in such a way as to support entrepreneurship and innovation is arguably the most effective approach in overcoming an increasing brain drain coupled with ever-diminishing resources.”

Looking ahead

Over a period of two years, the program will award fellowships to 40 U.S. and Canadian based academics to collaborate with universities throughout Greece to develop curricula, conduct research and teach and mentor graduate students in priority areas identified by the Greek universities.
“I feel honored to have been selected in the very first cohort of scholars selected for IIE’s Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program,” said Coursaris. “It’s an ambitious agenda, but given the faculty and student talent at the University of the Aegean, along with the hosts’ warm and engaging personalities, I am confident in the successful completion of this undertaking.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets 

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Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Programs Offer Undergraduates Connection to Higher Education at MSU

Posted on: March 31, 2017

bamaStudents in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University are offered unique experiences and opportunities during their undergraduate years. From top-tier faculty to international competitions, state-of-the-art technology, innovative learning spaces and reoccurring networking events, it’s no wonder that many students want to stick around to continue their education.

With the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s programs at Michigan State University, undergraduate students from across ComArtSci – including journalism, advertising + public relations, communication and media and information – can apply to complete their master’s degree in just one year.

The programs allow students to use nine credits from undergraduate courses toward receiving their master’s degree – cutting the two years often required to receive a master’s in half.

Constantinos Coursaris heads the Department of Media and Information’s Linked B.A.-M.A. program. He said the faculty who contribute their knowledge and resources to the program are a major advantage for students to consider when thinking about applying.

He added that students learn “the professional demands of not only today’s, but also tomorrow’s, workplace that leverages the power of media and information – from game design and the creative arts, to user experience and the management of information and communication technologies.”

In the classroom, Linked B.A.-M.A. students often apply their growing knowledge and skills to hands-on work created for real-world clients. Celina Wanek is currently enrolled in the media and information program for media management and said working with her classmates to develop client-ready projects for organizations outside of Michigan State University has been her favorite part.

I would highly encourage (other students) to apply,” said Wanek. “It's definitely a full year of work but knowing that it's just a year and being almost done is incredibly rewarding.”

Linda Good, director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, said these programs are for students dedicated to the pursuit of higher education and aiming to increase their value as professionals in their industries.

“As they seek positions that may not require a master’s degree, having the master’s degree gives them an edge over students that don’t have it. They’ve only added a year, basically, to their studies and they enhanced their knowledge base, their experience base and their network by completing the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s degree (program).”

For more information about all of the Linked B.A.-M.A. programs, click here.

By Savannah Swix

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Leadership in Sales Program Led Advertising Senior to Internships and Full-Time Position

Posted on: March 30, 2017

laneshaAdvertising management senior Lanesha Davis has had two sales internships during her college career and already has a full-time job lined up after graduation. She credits a lot of her success to the opportunities she was given through being a part of the sales minor leadership program in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

“The sales minor leadership program is not only a way to develop yourself professionally in sales, but also to develop real-world experience,” Davis said. “I learned how to network and the program offers the chance to compete in an actual sales competition.”

Davis is the event coordinator for the Global Sales Leadership Society, therefore she was responsible for organizing the competition, as well as competing herself. The event itself hosts about 80 students and about 20 different companies.

One of Davis’ sales internships was this past summer at Delphi Automotive where she worked on their sales team. Davis’ role was to work on the Ford team to acquire new business leads.

Davis worked on a team with other interns to come up with new onboarding ideas for new hires in the sales industry. While working on this project, she analyzed data to maximize profitability and was also able to attend some classes on selling techniques and gaining strategic people skills.

“My favorite task was definitely the onboarding project,” Davis said. “I was able to be one of the leaders for that project and it was cool having the goal of increasing new hire retention rates.”

Another internship that Davis completed was with the Enterprise Rent-A-Car located at the Detroit airport.

“Enterprise was very hands on and I was actually responsible for doing the same tasks that a full-time employee would do, which was a great experience,” Davis said. “ Enterprise was very fast pace, as we did transactions daily. It was a great opportunity to experience different paces throughout my two internships.”

Davis currently works in the human resources department at MSU and has just accepted a full-time position as a business management associate at General Mills.

How did she decide to work in sales?

“I would say I am a people person and I love a challenge,” Davis said. “Being able to interact with different people and achieve new goals daily is something that got me interested in sales.”

Davis enjoys the people she works with in the industry, as well as the chance to network with people that have the same interest in sales that she has.


“Get involved in leadership roles and experiences outside of the classroom,” Davis said. “Those are the skills that will set you apart from others.”

By Meg Dedyne

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ADDY Awards 2017

Posted on: March 23, 2017


And the ADDY goes to…

Each year, young creatives from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences submit their work in the hopes of winning an ADDY Award. The annual award ceremony is organized by the American Advertising Federation and the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance and recognizes students and professionals for their work in TV, print, design and digital.

Above: Ad created by Madison Johnson for her brand "Bad Habits Brewing Company," won her a Gold ADDY and Judge’s Choice award. She won 11 awards in total.

The submitted works were judged by a panel of professional advertising creatives, including Andy Azula, the creative director and vice president at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia; Silver Guellar III, from Van Winkle + Associates in Atlanta, Georgia; and Melanie Wiesenthal, a partner at Deerfield, a branding and design studio that focuses on fashion and beauty in Brooklyn, New York.

Eric Schwartz, advertising senior and Silver ADDY winner, looks forward to the ADDYs each year, as they promote and reward students in the MSU Department of Advertising + Public Relations and local professionals for their hard work.

The ADDYs to me is such a great way to celebrate the work that students do in and outside of the classroom, and the hard work that professionals are doing in the industry just down the road,” said Schwartz. “The students in the creative concentration within the advertising program are small and few, so having an event to celebrate and bring all of us together is really special – it’s a family reunion of sorts.”

This year’s entries included ads for Fruit of the Loom, Walgreens, Best Buy as well as companies and brands created by the students.

Above: Ad created by Madison Johnson, won a Gold ADDY for TV Advertising and an Excellence in Diversity award.

Students stole the show with stunning work

Recent advertising grad Lauren Cutler was awarded a Gold ADDY for work on a brand she created called Lumberjane, with fellow student Matt Richter. The brief they were given was to create packaging and advertising for a brewing company – for women, by women. Cutler also won a Judge’s Choice award for the brand, which she was excited to receive from judge Andy Azula.

lumberjaneThis year's ADDYs was really wonderful. The student work was exceptional, even compared to last year's,” said Cutler. “The most rewarding part of the whole experience is seeing your classmates and friends be recognized for the awesome stuff they do and to celebrate all our hard work together!”

A total of 60-plus awards were given to students in MSU’s Advertising + Public Relations program this year. However, if this were the Olympics, senior Madison Johnson would be Michael Phelps. She left the ADDYs as the most decorated student of all time. With 11 awards, ranging in color from Bronze to Gold and a Judge’s Choice, Johnson said she felt very lucky.

The awards I am most proud of are my Judge’s Choice and Best in Show for Bad Habits Brewing,” said Johnson. “I created the project over the summer in the Intensive Portfolio Workshop with Henry Brimmer and Lou Schiavone, but kept working on it afterward which is something that I should do with all my projects. Because I spent so much time on it, refining and adding, it was really great to get recognized for the hard work.”

Another honorable mention includes Tiffany Nagy’s “Coming Out” film trailer, which won gold for Television Advertising.

Above: Ad created by Tiffany Nagy, won gold for Television Advertising.

Celebrating creative work

Ross Chowles, professor of practice in the MSU Department of Advertising + Public Relations, compared having an ADDY award on a resume as “ringing a bell” that the student has something special about them.

You could have a nice portfolio, but having an award starts to ring a little bell that this person is different,” said Chowles. “More important, I guess, is that competitive spirit, that belief in their work. The problem with our business is it’s all of gut feel. It helps
acknowledge your gut feel when someone says ‘Yeah, it’s great’, but even then, it’s the judges’ opinions.”

A Gold ADDY allows the winner entrance into a regional competition and, depending on performance, potentially entered at the national level. We wish our Gold ADDY winning students the best of luck in the upcoming competitions!

View all of the ADDY Award entries on the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance’s website.


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