Kent State Team Places Second Nationally for PR Campaign Focused on Childhood Cancer Research Funding
Only 4 percent of federal funding is directed to childhood cancer research, leading to a scarcity of clinical trials advancing treatment. In order to address this inequity in childhood cancer funding, Kent State public relations students implemented a plan focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at Kent State and at the Bio-Med Science Academy in Rootstown, Ohio. The campaign’s underlying strategy was to educate STEM students – who are potential childhood cancer researchers – on the funding inequity between adult and childhood cancers.
Their campaign, which focused on increasing funding for childhood cancer research, placed second nationally in the Bateman Case Study Competition. Each year, the annual competition, hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), calls for PRSSA college chapter teams to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign for a real client. The Kent State team – KSU Gold – was chosen as one of three finalists out of 84 teams across the country that entered the competition. KSU Gold and the two other finalist teams presented their campaigns to a panel of PRSSA judges and the client in Charleston, South Carolina, in May to determine the top three places.
This year’s client was With Purpose, a nonprofit that is dedicated to making sure children with cancer have access to safe and effective treatment options.
The KSU Gold team members are Ashley Purnell, Samantha Ross, Molly Spillman, Arkayla Tenney-Howard and Abigail Winternitz. The team worked with Kent State STEM scholars, who submitted ideas to With Purpose on how to increase advocacy; with Kent State science education graduate students, who created pre-clinical gap lesson plans; and with 95 students at the Bio-Med Science Academy, a STEM high school affiliated with the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) in Rootstown.
“The Bateman competition pushes students to use research insights to drive strategies and tactics, and Gold’s campaign succeeded with the PRSSA judges because of the outstanding research, fine-tuned strategies and superior implementation of creative tactics,” says Tim Roberts, associate lecturer in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the team’s faculty advisor. “These students and our school have a lot to be proud of.”
PRSSA Kent will receive a cash award, and the team will be recognized at PRSSA’s National Conference in Austin, Texas, in October. Bateman is the only national case study competition for public relations students.
Kirsten Bowers, a 2014 graduate and a member of the Kent State team that placed second in the 2013 competition, served as the team’s professional advisor. Ms. Bowers is a digital content analyst at Sixth City Marketing in Cleveland.
Kent State has placed or received honorable mentions in the Bateman Competition five out of the last six years.