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How MashComm36 Became MashComm252

By Hannah Poindexter | Photography provided | Published April 2020
Tomaya Chindon Competition

Students from the winning team of MashComm252 created a presentation on their crisis communication plan for Toyama National Chindon Competition.

Students in the College of Informatics are given numerous career development opportunities throughout their experience at Northern Kentucky University. This semester, students in PRE 394 were tasked with planning and implementing MashComm36, an event that allows students to connect with local businesses and present their public relations skills. However, with the onset of COVID-19 and classes moving online, MashComm36 turned into MashComm252.

MashComm252 is an event for 25-35 students to assist eight client organizations (local nonprofits and small businesses) in solving a communication challenge. The event allowed students to “gain real-world experience working on communication challenges organizations face and enhance their skills in working under pressure in a short time frame,” Professor Zach Hart says.  

Initially, beginning on Saturday, March 21, at 8 a.m., students would have been divided into teams and assigned a client organization to assist and had until Sunday evening to present their solutions, hence the name MashComm36. Instead, these students turned to online outlets—such as video conferences—to speak with their clients and complete their project with their teams.  

“One major positive that came from the transition to an online 10-day competition was being able to spend more time devising solutions and coming up with a quality presentation for our client," says Maddy Godsey, a public relations major who was also on the winning team.

The clients working with the students included Goshen (OH) Local Schools, Hoxworth Blood Center, NKY Society of Human Resources Management and Toyama National Chindon Competition. In 1st place, representing Toyama National Chindon Competition, are Madison Godsey (Public Relations and Media Informatics); Tyesha Gordon (Public Relations); Breanna Heightchew (Public Relations); Fiston Mpene (Computer Science); Kayleigh Rinck (Public Relations); Andrea Rothfuss (Public Relations); and I-Hsuan Tu, (Education and exchange student), with Dr. Yasue Kuwahara as the client representative. 

Professor Hart had only outstanding praise for the students involved.

“The student teams did absolutely outstanding work for the MashComm36 clients despite the last-minute change from a weekend, in-person event to a 10-day virtual one," he says. "They gained real-world experience providing practical realistic solutions to communication challenges the clients faced. An added bonus this year was that the PRE 394 Public Relations Event Planning class, which organized the event, successfully learned about and practiced event crisis management in real time.”