If you’ve been wondering what’s been keeping me from updating the blog lately, there need no be any mystery: this is the home stretch of final projects for school. Not the least of which is my masters degree Capstone Thesis paper.

Any one of these projects could warrant a blog post of it’s own, and I will be glad to share more about them after each is completed.  In a meantime, here’s a little insight into what a Graduate student in communications can accomplish.

  • Practicum: My team has been building a long-term strategic communications plan for Living Classrooms, a non-profit that serves communities in the DC-metro area with hands-on environmental education and workforce development; they call it “Learning By Doing”.  This group does amazing work with young people who live in underprivileged areas, but one of the drawbacks of their success is having so many diverse programs it is difficult for newsmedia to make a clear focused story about what it is they do exactly.
    One solution I have contributed, which fits the group’s communication strategy, is by making a Blog and Twitter for them to get the word out. I’ll cue you in on how we plan to help a non-profit grow as donors face a recession soon.
  • Management: We’ve been given a mock assignment in this class, responding to an RFP from the American Red Cross.  Our group has been designing a complete response, including plans for a multi-city festival and a localization model for more than 700 chapters of the Red Cross.  We’ll be competing with another group for the contract in an upcoming presentation, which I’ll try to share here.
  • Social Marketing: Diabetes is not “Your Grandparent’s disease” any longer; it increasingly impacts younger people.  I’ve conducted an environmental scan of the issue, and conducted original primary research through in-depth interviews with students.  From there we’ve designed a comprehensive social marketing campaign, that doesn’t just change attitudes but people’s behaviors as well.  I’ve already built a mock-up of the online network presence, which is key to our strategy.
  • Seminar/Capstone: My thesis involves original research of a scholarly nature, but with real-world application to the problem of energy conservation.  Although I am exploring an academic subject, exploring through case study and interviews how individuals are motivated to change their behaviors, I am writing it so that anyone can understand the issue.  Hopefully my research will help me build the soapbox I need to come out of my degree with specialization in opinion leaders, agenda setting, and marketing as they apply  to the salient public issues that brought me into PR.

I’ll be sure to tell you a little more about what I’ve learned… just as soon as I finish working through them of course.  Stay tuned.