Ad and PR Student Elizabeth Kebler Spends Week in DC as Michigan Ambassador

Elizabeth Kebler is escorted by Rep. Bill Huizenga at a National Cherry Blossom Festival event.

Elizabeth Kebler spent a week in DC recently as an ambassador for the State of Michigan in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Officially she was known as a Cherry Blossom Princess.

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry frees from Tokyo in Washington, D.C. The gift of the cherry blossom trees honor and celebrate the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. The Cherry Blossom Princess Program is a week-long program that offers cultural, educational, and professional development opportunities for young women leaders across the United States.

“I was selected by the State of Michigan as a young woman leader based off of my leadership and academic achievements along with my interest in social, civic, community, and world affairs,” said Kebler, who has also served an internship with U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s Second District. “I strive to surround myself with a diverse group of strong, smart women and throughout the week I was with 56 of them. I’m proud to be from the State of Michigan and I wanted to be able to represent my state in the nation’s capital.”

Kebler said she was able to make connections with world leaders and strong women while learning about opportunities in the future. She enjoyed learning more about the diplomacy that the United States engages with around the world. Government relations is her passion and she aspires to be a voice for our government that tells the truth and is consistently transparent.

Kebler only came back to Michigan and GVSU briefly. Right after graduation, she is moving to Washington D.C. on April 29 to begin a job as a communications specialist at the National Pension Fund and to begin work on a master’s degree from Georgetown University in public relations and corporate communications.

“My career aspirations are to be a communications director for a United State Senator someday,” she said. “I hope other students in the Grand Valley public relations program realize that there is a need for us in the government and  that there are so many opportunities that can enrich their experiences in PR.”




Media Planning Class Visits MLive

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MLive President and CEO Dan Gaydou welcomes students.

Students in Jonathan Snedeker’s Media Planning class went right to the source recently when they visited the MLive headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids.

The day included a welcome from President & CEO Dan Gaydou and presentations by the Account Director Ryan Knizner and Senior Creative Director Anne Drummond on current MLIve media options.

“It was a great learning opportunity for GVSU students on the value of traditional and digital media channels when planning a strategic advertising buy,” said Snedeker, Affiliate Faculty, who worked in media planning full-time before becoming a full-time professor.


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Snedeker, front right, with his media planning students at MLive.

GVSU Ad/PR Students Win District in National Student Advertising Competition

NSAC19 D6 First Place Team
Professor Spring (center, front) with the 2019 NSAC team.

After working hard over the past two semesters, a team of Advertising and Public Relations students were rewarded with a first place from judges in their district in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

The team competed in the American Advertising Federation District 6, which includes Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Due to the large number of schools in the midwest, District 6 is a mega district and teams compete in two tracks. The GVSU team won their track, edging out Southern Illinois University and Michigan State University. The team is now one of 18 in the nation to complete in semi-finals in May, and if they prevail there they will be among 8 teams to compete in the final competition June 6-7 in Hollywood, Florida.

“Approximately 150 schools and 2,000 students from across the U.S. compete in this competition each year,” said Robin Spring, assistant professor and faculty advisor for the team. “All teams develop a campaign for the same client, which was Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs this year.”

Judges are professionals from the advertising industry. Teams are judged on an advertising plans book and a 20-minute presentation. The competition has been around since the 1970s and is the largest student advertising competition in the country.

“Since NSAC has been around for so long, many professionals in the field have competed in it or know of it,” Spring said.  “It’s a huge boost on anyone’s resume, win or lose.  Just to participate is a big deal. Often there are recruiters from big ad firms there to scout students to hire.”

Students from the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program, part of the School of Communications, have regularly placed in the top 3 at the District level and gone on to nationals twice. Under Spring’s advising over the past five years they have won first place in the district three times and placed 4th in the country once. Competition place and clients included:

  • First in 2015 – Pizza Hut  (missed nationals by one point – came in 9th in Semi-Finals)
  • Third in 2016 – Snapple
  • First in 2017 – Tai Pei (moved through Semi-Finals to Nationals in New Orleans.  4th in nation, Best Marketing Research Award)
  • Third in 2018 – Ocean Spray
  • First in 2019 – Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs

Keegan Bauer Named Chapman Scholarship Winner for 2019

Keegan Bauer

Keagan Bauer has been named the 2019 recipient of the Frederick A. Chapman Scholarship. She will receive $1400 towards her tuition next year.

The Chapman Scholarship is named for former Advertising and Public Relations Professor Fred Chapman and recognizes a student going into public relations who is dedicated to community service.

As a student, Bauer has been involved with the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Make a Difference Day. She also served as public relations officer and secretary of Circle K International, which is the world’s largest collegiate service organization that partners with various charities. In this role she volunteered every weekend with various charities. She also is a member of Phi Sigma Phi, a co-ed honors fraternity dedicated to fostering the ideals of fellowship, scholarship, and leadership. With this organization Bauer serves as webmaster and serves on both the public relations and service committees helping to increase recruitment and help coordinate our service activities.

After graduating in December 2019, Bauer hopes to work for a public relations firm in the Grand Rapids area, either where she currently interns at COM 616 or another area agency. Long term she aspires to being a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) at a major local company. But she maintains her interest in using her public relations skills in community service as well.

“Community service has become an integral part of my life,” Bauer says. “Community service is something that brings people of all backgrounds and walks of life together to benefit the people in society. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to dedicate myself to serving others not only through volunteering but through the field of public relations as well. The two are intertwined in striking ways, and my draw to the field more than likely comes from my draw to helping others.”

Students may apply for the Chapman Scholarship every year. The information about the scholarship and application guidelines are on the School of Communication web site.

Donors who wish to contribute to the Chapman Scholarship may do so from the Advertising and Public Relations web site.

Vanessa Lansdale Named Outstanding Student in Ad PR Major Program

Outstanding Student Vanessa Lansdale
Vanessa Lansdale

Each year every major program at GVSU selects one student to be named “Outstanding Student” in the major. Vanessa Lansdale was named the winner of this distinction for 2018-2019. She was recognized at a university program on April 8.

Faculty consider Lansdale an asset to the Advertising and Public Relations program. In addition to taking the photos for this APRil Report and last year’s, she has served the program in numerous ways. She has been on PRSSA’s executive board as Director of Alumni Relations, effectively leading a committee with the charge of developing our preliminary Ad&PR alumni outreach which she did by establishing a newsletter and organizing events.

She was also active with GrandPR, the student-run firm. She has also distinguished herself for her many internships:  Marketing and Communications Intern at The Right Place, Digital Media and Art Operations Intern at Black Thorn Productions, and she currently serves as the Marketing and Web Intern for Hello West Michigan.

Lansdale was also named the first recipient of the Fred Chapman Ad&PR Competitive Scholarship in 2018 for the School of Communications.

Superior Award Winners Announced

Superior winners
Four Superior Award winners show off their certificates (left to right): Jowei Yek, Courtney Fogle, Asialina Katmanivong, Elizabeth Kebler.

Each year the Advertising and Public Relations Program selects the top student work from classes in the program to be granted a Superior Award. The name comes from Superior Hall, where most of the program’s faculty offices and classes are, and also reflects work that is the top in its class.

This year’s winners were nominated by faculty from their classes for the 2018-19 academic year. The winners were recognized and their work displayed at a program celebration on March 29.

Technology in Advertising and Public Relations

Social Strategy            Allison Carter, Gabby Cutler, Dana Dziedyie

Infographic                  Courtney Fogel

Infographic                  Kylee Reinert

Research Basics for Advertising and Public Relations

Research report          Amanda Heuck, Rachel Napier, Amelia Wampler, Mega Bouwkamp

Fundamentals of Advertising

Campaign        Dominic Raona, Elliot Rieth, Sam Vaughn

Campaign        Denise Carlson, Shelby Cassel, Heidi Hodges, Morgan Johnston, Haley Rasmussen

Campaign        Kearston Frusti, Mitch Kaiser, Eric Molnar, Connor Skrobot, Kali Tomlinson

Campaign        Megan Dungy, Courtney Fogel, Kelly Pierce, Anna Post, Matthew Smith

Advertising Management and Case Studies

Case Study      Patricia Dickson, Shania Lee, Joslyn Mara

Case Study      Julia Armstrong, Bailee Gunderson, Luke Janiszroski, Thomas White

Case Study      Daniel Shea

Case Study      Luke Janiszewski

Case Study      Emily Farrell, Olivia Passe, Shannon Seguin

Case Study      Devon Yousif

Advertising Copywriting

Ad Copy Campaign     Zac Kucher

Ad Copy Campaign     Christine Melvin

Ad Copy Campaign     Emily Seymour

Ad Copy Campaign     Julia Glenn, Laine Gaarner, Faith Fleming, Emily Seymour

Public Relations Management and Case Studies

Case Study*                Brooklyn Wilson, Aaron Robert, Bri Olson, Erin Stehlik

Case Study                  Amanda Rogers

Case Study*                Megan Dungy, Courtney Fzogel, Asialina Katmanivong, Joi Reddick

Case Study*                Alyssa Murphy, Emily Gagnon, Teagen Epley

(3rd Place in Page Competition)

Case Study*                Jowei Yek, Elizabeth Kebler

Page Society PR Case Study Competition

Media Planning

Media Plan      Christine Melvin, Alan Carter, Emily Sexton

Media Plan      Emily Farrell, Mackenzie Hamilton

Advertising and Public Relations Campaigns

Campaign        Andrea Photiou, Emily Weston, Trevor Bryan, Tiera Ross, JennaeRuehrdanz

Campaign*      Nicholas Kurty, Amari Rose-Walker, Tyler Lane, Karlee Tykosky, Marissa Ensing

Campaign        Sean Bllisitz, Alexis Deckert, Mackenzie Fraim, Christina Oberly

PRSA Bateman Campaign Competition

GrandPR Celebrates 10 Years

Sarah Myles
Alumna Sarah Myles, a former GrandPR CEO, came to the anniversary party with a copy of her national affiliation application.

In 2009, students Charlotte Milligan and Doug Clemente started something that has proven to have a legacy. The pair, as part of the GVSU chapter of PRSSA, started a student-run public relations firm and called it GrandPR.

In the spring of 2019 Milligan came back to celebrate the firm’s 10thanniversary along with other alumni and students who have been involved with the firm over the years.

“It was absolutely amazing to see so many students involved with GrandPR,” Milligan said. “I enjoyed hearing how the organization evolved and continues to grow. The best part is that it’s doing exactly what the goal was when we started it back 2009–it’s helping students get real-life and hands-on experiences so they can launch their career after graduation.”

Since the launch in 2009, the group has maintained consistent leadership. The students

GrandPR 10th
Alumni from as far back as 2009 and as far away as Detroit and Chicago came back to mingle with current students.

pass on management roles each spring to an incoming group of officers, account managers and staff. Over the years they have taken on dozens of clients, gained and maintained national affiliation from PRSSA, and participated in Create-a-Thon events.

“This is the tenth year that GrandPR has been Nationally Affiliated through PRSSA,” said current GrandPR CEO Sabrina Antcliff at the anniversary event. “Being nationally affiliated is a feat. There are hundreds of PRSSA chapters, and we are one of only 25 firms that are affiliated in the nation. The firm has to go through a rigorous application process for every three years, so being nationally affiliated for a decade is something worth celebrating! “

Students have the found their involvement in the group to be fun as well as educational. Former CEOs and firm staff have landed good jobs in west Michigan, Detroit, Chicago and elsewhere.

The CEO and officers have already been named for the 2019-20 school year and are eager to continue the tradition.