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K-State Today

April 28, 2016

K-State public relations students gain experience through partnership with local company

Submitted by Anna Shippy

This spring, 10 seniors in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications public relations sequence are working with American Institute of Baking, or AIB, International, a locally based company, to develop a comprehensive public relations campaign for the business.

Throughout the semester, the students have been consulting with two AIB employees, Doug Markham, director of people processes, and Katie Mayes, director of marketing. Markham and Mayes shared some of the company's public relations needs with the group at the beginning of the semester. The group then conducted comprehensive research that was used to design the campaign.

AIB International is one of three clients working with students in the public relations campaigns course this semester. The course's instructor, Nancy Muturi, developed this project as a way for students to experience service learning.

"Usually when we think of service learning, only nonprofit organizations come to mind," Muturi said. "However, some of our students are interested in working for a corporate agency. This was a good way of introducing students to that kind of public relations practice. I believe, through interaction with the directors and other employees, the students have learned the advantages and challenges of working in that kind of setting."

Group member Abigail Hammack, Waco, Texas, said this experience has been mutually rewarding for both the students and AIB International.

"Through our research, we realized that very few people understood what AIB International does or that they are a truly global company based in Manhattan," Hammack said. "While working with Katie and Doug, we get to help them fix that. We are getting excellent experience in research, planning and evaluating a public relations campaign, but we are also able to actually help our client, not just work on a theoretical basis."

Besides Hammack, other students working on the project include Elena Bailey, Overland Park; Kylie Fairman, Grand Blanc, Michigan; Ryan Haxton, Salina; Jessica Hermesch, Goff; Sagan Hundley, Tonganoxie; Lauren Price, Prairie Village; Kelli Reese, Wichita; Anna Shippy, Hays; and Maya Tilmon, Kansas City.

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