Tag Archives: mass commnunications

New Professor Overcomes New Challenges

Education is fundamental to the of development one’s life.
Kay Hannahan knows this well.

Hannahan is a first-year professor in the Mass Communication department at Winona State University.

She got into teaching after graduating college at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

After graduating, she returned home to Minnesota where she later joined AmeriCorps in their welfare to work program.
In this program she taught immigrants “how to write a resume and how to interview.”

She enjoyed volunteering and said made connections and taught people valuable life skills.

Hannahan then joined the Peace Corps where Hannahan “taught English in a really small village school.”

One of her memorable moments while in Peace Corps in Bulgaria, was when she was walking down the street with fellow Peace Corp members when some of her students stopped to say hello to them in English in what sounded like a Minnesota accent.

From there, Hannahan went to graduate school at Temple University in Philadelphia where she taught as an assistant in the film program.

After spending time on the east coast and outside the United States, she returned to Minnesota in 2019 to look for teaching jobs.

Then in March of 2020 a day before the declaration of the pandemic she gave birth to her son Duke.

Not only was Hannahan juggling finding a job she said, “I always joke that there’s no postpartum book that tells you how to be a mother during a pandemic.”

Shortly after her baby was born, she was officially hired on to be a part of WSU’s Mass Communication department in June 2020.

She had to deal with the pandemic and being a new mother, Hannahan choose to have an online delivery mode for her WSU classes this year.

At first, she felt online teaching was going to be inferior to teaching in person.

She said she found it could be helpful in some ways.

Natalie Tyler, a fourth-year student at WSU and current student of Hannahan.

Photo submittted by Natalie Tyler

Said her experience in Hannahan’s online course was positive, “I love that she actually goes through all of the assignments more in detail and she shows you know what students are supposed to do and how to actually edit each project,” Tyler said.

Hannahan said she liked Zoom’s capabilities because “when you’re teaching editing software, you have the ability to record to lecture.”

Alek LaShomb, a fourth-year student at WSU has had two classes with Hannahan said that the recorded lectures were helpful because he ran into an issue with Adobe Premier Software and the recorded lecture helped him figure it out.

Photo submitted by Alek LaShomb

LaShomb said, “If we’re in person, that’s something I’d have to wait until the next class session, or I’d have to email her about”

Hannahan said camera equipment tutorials would work better in person than Zoom.

 So in the future she intends to have them in-person.

Next year, she looks forward to the introduction of her new course the Living History Project which will be a collaboration with WSU’s Retiree Center.

Hannahan said, “I’m excited to explore more of Winona and to see my students more often face-to-face.”

LaShomb spoke on what Hannahan adds to the Mass Communications faculty. “I think she’ll be a good face for that new guard that’s gonna be coming through the Mass Comm department” LaShomb said.

Campaigning for the Real World

Even in his campaigns logo crested T-Shirt, amidst the throng of trade show masses, Winona State University public relations student Phil Robin started to sweat.

“It’s nerve-racking, and I want to go to sleep,” he said exhaustedly.

For many public relations and advertising students in Winona State’s senior campaigns class, Thursday’s trade show in Kryszko’s Student Activity Center was their first real world experience.

At the start of the semester, Mass Communication professors Tanya Ryan and Muriel Scott had each student fill out a skill survey and submit a resume. From there, students were sorted randomly into five different groups, so that students with similar skillsets weren’t together.

Each group had to develop their own company name, logo, and identity. From there, they decided on the roles they would have for the duration of the semester.

“The first day we sat in a circle and all said what our strengths and weaknesses are,”public relations major Megan Hayes said. “I said I was good at social media.”

Since the class mixes public relations and advertising majors, only a small portion of the students knew each other. In a real-life atmosphere, groups have to manage with what they have, just as they would with coworkers they don’t know anything about after getting hired.

“We all just clicked right away…  we’re all in the same boat, so we might as well like each other,” Hayes said.

For the students, there are no textbooks needed for this class. Everything that goes into the class involves time and resources.

“We meet five days a week for about two hours,” Hayes said. “We went over our budget first, then what we wanted to give out for ‘swag.'”

Hayes’ group named themselves Origin Communications, as “success originates with us,” as their mission statement says. Other groups include Avantive, Radiance, Meraki and Acai Eleven.

Origin’s booth at the trade show, which was manned by Hayes among others.

For the next two months, these five groups will be duking it out over a span of four events, vying for the coveted top spot. Each group was given two and a half weeks to prepare a booth for the first trade show, along with other handouts and information for a professional client. This year’s client is the Director of Communication at the Mall of America, Dan Jasper.

The students have to sign confidentiality forms and intellectual property forms in order to take the class. While the winning campaign isn’t used by the client, the winning group does receive some perks.

“Last year a client gave the mass communications department a donation, and it was used for [an end-of-the-year] banquet,” professor Tanya Ryan said.

She added that one time, “Best Buy gave everyone a gold membership.”

Professor Ryan said there is little teaching involved, other than feedback on how a group is doing after each event. The feedback and consequent rankings makes the groups strive to be better by the culmination of the class.

“You can’t ask your boss questions – they expect you to know what to do,” Ryan said. “The class is to empower students to make their own decisions, and teach them to become more confident in their knowledge and skills.”

Luckily for the group Avantive, advertising major Elizabeth Clark was able to offer some advice from her past experiences.

“I’ve done trade shows before at Mayo Center similar to this one for a gym [business],” Clark said.

That said, nothing could ever completely prepare students for what lay ahead – the trade show.

Students were cast into the fire as friends and strangers alike crowded the space around the booths, rifling off fast-paced questions and bumping into each other to fill out contest forms for the groups’ raffles.

“No matter how prepared you are, there are things where you wish ‘oh, I wish I would’ve done that,'” Clark said. “That and you always tell yourself to speak in a more professional manner.”

Amongst the photo booths, caricaturist and mini golf competition that groups brought, students kept piling in. Some WSU students had no vested interests in the trade show, and came to support friends. For Nicole Cullinan, a photographer at Winona State, she came to help her friends and help herself.

“One of my roommates is in Origin, and the other is in Avantive,” Cullinan said.

Like the groups, Cullinan was given a shortened deadline comparable to the real world.

“I shot for one team Wednesday, the other on Thursday, and then I sat down Friday night and did them all – I did it all in three days.”

Cullinan’s work was featured in slideshows playing at the booths during the trade show, and was also featured on social media.

“It was a good experience for me to do more studio work, and take more headshots,” Cullinan added. “It gives me a sense of pride, to see my work printed at the trade show.”

Hannah Ingebrand echoed Cullinan’s thoughts.

“This was the most real world thing I’ve ever done. I was really impressed by the whole thing. Everybody was on the same page,” Ingebrand said.

Winona State senior Phil Robin looks on during the Campaigns trade show, eager to answer questions the patrons might have.

On the far end of the SAC closest to the stage, Phil Robin and Meraki waited patiently to talk to the client. Jasper’s first question when he arrived – why the group wasn’t dressed like the rest.

“When people asked us why we were wearing T-Shirts, we said we want our work to speak for us, yet remain approachable and comfortable,” Robin said coolly.

Jasper told Robin he was impressed with Meraki’s overall message and mission statement.

“[Jasper] was more forward than anyone… nice guy, but a straight talker who was actually pretty intimidating,” Robin said. “Based on feedback from my teammates, we thought we’ll rank pretty well.”

An hour and a half later, it was all over. The groups were able to relax and consume some of their leftover cupcakes they had brought for the show.

Their first glimpse of the real world was just beginning.