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Public Relations Student Wins Diversity Case Study Challenge  

Photo of public relations students at a diversity eventEric Lamadrid, a senior Public Relations major in the College of Communication and the Arts, recently received the Betsy Plank Diversity Case Study Award at the Challenge for Emerging Leaders, an intensive, hands-on leadership workshop hosted by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.

Students from Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Rowan University, Seton Hall University and Syracuse University gathered for the two-day program which strengthened the participants' leadership competencies through a series of activities, presentations and assessments. Students then synthesized their knowledge and learnings to develop a well-informed case study campaign which was then presented to industry leaders from Johnson & Johnson, W2O Group, Citi, AIG and more.

The winning team featured Lamadrid, Chelsea Jones (Quinnipiac), Anya Mourovannyi (Rowan), Daniella Scarmato (Monmouth) and Julia Trainor (Syracuse). "Our case study was on the extremely high maternal mortality rate among minority and low-income women in the rural United States," Lamadrid said. "My team researched why the epidemic was so prevalent, and we found a technological divide between urban metropolitan areas compared to their rural counterparts."

Photo of public relations students at a diversity eventThe research further informed their recommended strategy and approach, which focused on leveraging local Walmart locations as a way to help educate and inform the key audiences. "The judges were particularly impressed by how we thought from a business model point of view since we factored in budget and location," Lamadrid reflected. "During the question and answer portion after our presentation, they pointed out that Walmart was actually one of their biggest clients."

Seniors Gabrielle Apuzzo, Sarah Rose Auerbach, Kelly Carr and Kathleen McQuarrie were also faculty-selected to attend and received a Certificate of Leadership Achievement for completing the workshop.

"I am so proud of Eric and his teammates for winning the Challenge, and of all our Pirate participants. Every pitch demonstrated the great deal of time and effort that went into designing each campaign, as well as the application of leadership and strategy lessons that participants focused on during the workshop sessions," said Dr. Kristen Koehler, Public Relations Professor of Practice. "Opportunities like the Challenge for Emerging Leaders give our students a chance to work with industry professionals and help solve real-world problems, which are vital to their growth and an example of the program's commitment to experiential learning."

Challenge attendees were also exposed to a symposium of well-regarded professionals and academics in the public relations industry including Michael Sneed, EVP of global corporate affairs and chief communications officer at Johnson & Johnson; Radina Russell, VP of corporate communications and external relations for Macy's Inc.; and Jennifer Lowney '98/M.A. '00, head of corporate communications for Citi.

For more information about the Public Relations program, please contact Dr. Kristen Koehler at

Categories: Education , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Danielle Clements
  • (973) 275-4831
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