America is Facing a STEM Crisis – A Presentation Featuring One of Our Graduates

Master's in Strategic Public Relations Online |

In this webinar, Erin Dick, recent graduate of GW’s Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program, discusses how she and fellow students apply the skills and competencies learned in the Strategic Public Relations curriculum to prepare a comprehensive and well-researched communications campaign proposal to address the STEM challenge.

Hear Erin relate the findings of her Capstone Project titled: Preparing America’s Youth to Claim the Future: A Communications Campaign Proposal Prepared for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Transcript

[Start of recorded material 00:00:00]

Kira: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to GW’s Graduate School of Political Managements Master in Strategic Public Relations Online Webinar, and thank you for taking time to join us for the hour. My name is Kira, and I will be your moderator for today. We are very excited as we welcome Erin Dick, graduate of GW’s Master’s in Strategic Public Relations Program, who will be presenting to us the findings of the Capstone Project that she and teammates have completed as part of the program curriculum, titled Preparing America’s Youth to Claim the Future: A Communications Campaign Proposal Prepared for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for us to gain insights on the practical application into our award-winning curriculum.

Before we get started with this compelling presentation, I would like to go over the logistics of the presentation and some housekeeping items. All participants are currently listen only mode. Please place your line on mute and communicate with me by typing in the chatbox found on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen; this will ensure a smoother line of communication. Also, please feel free to forward any questions you may have while the webinar’s in progress via the chatbox, and we’ll be going through all of your questions in the order asked at the end of the presentation during the Q&A. If we’re unable get to your questions by the end of the hour, we will be in touch with you at a later time. And also the enrollment advisor will be happy to follow-up with you on any program related questions.

And next, I’d like to introduce to you our presenter for the event, Erin Dick. She serves as the lead communications analyst for the National Security Research Division of the RAND Corporation — a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analyst, based in Santa Monica, California and Washington DC. She’s responsible for all strategic communications for the largest business unit of RAND including internal and external communication, media and customer relations, crisis and repartition management, and more.

Prior to her position at RAND, Erin served as the Director of Communications for large aerospace and defense manufacturing companies, including Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, manufacturer of the jet engines for the US Air Force, the Rocketdyne, a multi-million dollar space propulsions company, who built the engines for the space shuttle as well as Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense system, and advanced hypersonics. Erin has nearly two decades of communications experience — with an emphasis on strategic planning, external communication, media relations, crisis communications, and campaign management.

She served ten years on active duty as a Public Affairs Officer in the US Air Force and is currently an active reservist assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command in Florida. Erin earned her BA in English from Texas A&M University and a Master in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University and is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators Speakers Bureau.

She will be speaking on the topic of media and PR relations at the AIBC World Conference being held in San Diego next week. So for those who are in town, you are invited. If anyone is attending the conference, she would encourage for you to stop into her session on Tuesday. And now I would like to hand the stage over to Erin, please go ahead.

Erin: All right, great. Thank you, Kira. Can you hear me okay?

Kira: Yes, we can hear you fine.

Erin: All right, excellent. So thank you very much for that introduction, and I have to say of all those accomplishments, I truly am very proud of being a graduate of this program. And I’m thrilled to the opportunity to speak with you about my experience with the College of Professional Studies Strategic Public Relations Program. And my group’s Capstone Project which, as Kira mentioned, focuses on the science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM education gap that’s currently facing our nation. During this webinar, I’m going to walk you through some of the elements of the project while also sharing the approach that my group took. I’m also going to take the opportunity the share with you some of my personal thoughts on why I believe the GW Strategic PR Program is truly one of the best in the nation. So I wish I could see everybody’s faces, but I’m thrilled to have everybody here gathering with me online.

Okay, so as you read in the invitation to this webinar, our nation is facing a crisis. It’s not an emerging crisis; it is a crisis now. We are very quickly falling behind other nations in STEM educated students. And this continued decline in interest by young people to pursue STEM education in careers not only negatively impacts our nation’s competitive position on the global stage, but it also represents a significant threat to our economic stability, as well as our national security,

By 2018, there will be 8 million — 8 million — STEM related jobs in the US, and these are jobs that we will not be able to fill domestically if this STEM crisis is not addressed right now. My team selected this topic for several reasons. First of all, it’s a very hot topic. It’s a very relevant subject right now. And this ensured that was great deal of information and research that was very readily available for us to help inform our campaign. But more importantly, the topic capitalized on the talents of my super smart teammates.

One of us was a communications manager for a candidate for the Pennsylvania Governorship, so she brought a very thorough understanding of running large campaigns that span numerous constituencies and stakeholders. One is a public school teacher administrator, so she brought a rich understanding of the education system and the challenges that are faced in schools, particularly public schools. One of my teammates was a military family support specialist, so she brought particular knowledge about after school, family support, and education type programs that occur outside of the school system, so she was incredibly helpful. And then finally, my background as a communicator in the space and science sector. I understand, first hand, the impact that this crisis could potentially have on industry, the economy, and our national security. So that just kind of shows you the quality, and diversity, and talent of the students that are enrolled in this program and really makes for a very rich learning experience.

So because this topic is so broad and because we, as a team, were going to be diving up certain portions of the campaign to work on independently, it was really important for us to agree, from the start, what success would look like, so that we would know what we working towards. We agreed that success would include awareness of the STEM crisis and The Boys & Girls Club of America’s leadership role in advancing STEM education. The program curriculum that was offered through GWU taught us that our campaign objectives should be measureable and achievable, and that all of our objectives should support our ultimate goal. And these are the objectives that we settled on— you’ll see that they have quantifiable numeric values, three of the four that really allowed us to tangibly measure at the end if we were achieving our goals and objectives.

So one of the important aspects of the Strategic PR curriculum is the practical application of communications theories to your work. I am about to get super academic-y on you, but hang with me because this is actually very important. I think something that is unique to this curriculum. So more often than not, these communication theories are things we as professional communicators do intuitively. What understanding the formal theories behind the actions that a lot of us take when we’re doing campaigns really crystalizes why certain approaches are more effective than others.

There are two theories that helped inform our campaign. As an educate influence campaign allows ourselves two-step flow theory was directly applicable. Again, you guys have probably never heard of this, but this theory is one that now seems very obvious in the world of Facebook and Twitter, but in 1944, when the theory was introduced, it was quite revolutionary. It centers on the notion that people are less influenced by mass media messaging and more by the opinion leaders in their inner circle.

An opinion leader is a person in a group who gives details and information to other people in the group. And the information they convey can also include their own opinions on the topic, as well as any personal bias or filters that they might apply to the information. This could be a parent to a child, a pastor to their congregation, or say like a local mayor to their township, so therefore the mass media messaging should be targeted to these opinion leaders as opposed to the general public. It’s easy to see in our campaign how we applied Lazarsfeld’s theory through the use of the extensive Boys & Girls Club of America alumni, and a few of them are very famous celebrities and high-profile figures, such as Denzel Washington, who’s been an outspoken supporter of BGCA. The messages about the emerging STEM crisis, and BGCA’s role in facing it head on can be communicated down to the lowest possible level by using these social opinion leaders. This will draw the engagement and contributions necessary for the success of our campaign.

The next theory we applied was the cognitive dissonance theory. It’s a very complicated word for basically people don’t like having dissonance in their thoughts. So for example, if you know that smoking is bad for you, but you still smoke, that creates kind of an intellectual dissonance, and we, as humans, don’t like that dissonance, and so we will seek a rational or information that will help us resolve that. So for example, in our smoking scenario, oh, if I smoke these cigarettes, that’s not as bad for you and so that provides a rationalization for the dissonance.

We capitalized on this theory by illustrating that the STEM crisis is a national challenging that impacts everyone. We’re not that far removed from the economic crisis of 2008, and each and every one of us knows someone impacted either through layoff, home foreclosure, significant financial loss of some kind, or other negative impact. While we are now part of a global economy, most Americans probably really aren’t crazy about the notion of exporting all of America’s STEM jobs overseas because we don’t have the workforce and expertise that we need to fill them. So in other words, this isn’t somebody else’s problem. This is your problem. This everybody’s problem. This is America’s problem.

And the persuasive part of this theory is that once the receiver of the information perceives the dissonance, you can offer a ready solution — support the Boys & Girls Club of America’s STEM pilot program either through financial contribution, or through the donation of volunteer time, or in-kind professional support. And the dissonance of potentially sending good American STEM jobs overseas and doing nothing about it vanishes. Sorry to loiter so long on that chart, but I think it’s really important, and something that I learned through this program that I did not know before.

Okay, so moving on. Here I highlight the various elements of the campaign plan that we accomplished. After we accomplished some of the very important upfront analysis and agreed, as a team, on our goals and objectives, we then divided up some of these elements amongst the four team members to work independently, although we were doing very regular group check-ins. This Capstone Project really is the perfect balance of independent self-paced work and team effort with all of us [huaying 00:13:03] each other’s work along the way to ensure that we were staying aligned with our goals and objectives. The program curriculum really prepares you for this final push across the finish line, and in the interest of time, I’m not going to go into detail about every aspect of the campaign, but I will hit the highlights in the next couple charts.

We selected The Boys & Girls Club of America as our focus organization for the reason you see here, not the least of which was the fact that they were already kind of dipping their toe into the STEM education water by holding a two-day STEM summit that began to look at this challenging. This summit was part of their Great Think series and was the first towards engaging external stakeholders in the STEM education effort. So the bottom line is that the conditions were and continue to be right for The Boys & Girls Club of America to take their involvement of advocating for STEM education to the next level.

The research class offered in this curriculum is one where I learned a great deal. Having never conducted formal research, it was very interesting for me to learn how to systematically use what can be a quite powerful tool if it’s applied appropriately. I think we as communicators, myself included, have a tendency when facing a challenging to kind of jump in and start thinking about solutions, and tactics, and things that we can implement right away to start addressing the challenging, but if you take the time to fully understand the depth of the challenge as well as how you can best affect change, your likelihood of success is much improved. So developing our research questions and methodology really forced us to think through what we knew, what we didn’t know, in order to identify the gaps in our knowledge, and thus where to expend our research resources, and the methodology that we should use to answer these questions.

I am not going to lie to you, this part was hard. It was very challenging, but it was easy to see how spending the time to get this right would make the rest of the project much easier. And, you know, it’s important to note that I say it’s hard, but you’re not alone. I mean, I had three awesome teammates. And then, you know, you’re in the final capstone. This is the final class in the curriculum, and you have developed relationships with the staff and the faculty, and they all want you to succeed. So it’s not like you’re all by yourself trying to, you know, get through some of the challenging aspects of this project.

So some questions of definition that we established were what level of awareness of the STEM crisis do our stakeholders currently have? What communications methods are currently used to promote STEM education in other organizations? So some benchmarking. Questions of fact included how many volunteers are already providing support of some kind, whether it’s financial or volunteer time or in-kind professional support? Questions of value included what motivates our key audiences and stakeholders? And if there are detractors or people who are resisting the campaign, what are their motivators? What is their rational? And then finally questions of policy. What strategies are best for reaching our key stakeholders? And then as the campaign proceeds, and we do some interim evaluation, do we need to modify any of our — or adjust any of our processes or tactics to best meet the needs of the campaign?

With respect to our methodology, our campaign recommended including both qualitative and quantitative samplings. Our qualitative sampling was conducted via focus groups to help gauge the level of awareness and support for the program, and its alignment with BGCA’s mission. And our quantitative sampling method consisted of an Internet based survey which was administered nationally to measure the attitudes and perceptions of various stakeholder groups towards the Boys & Girls Club of America out-of-school STEM program. And the survey would also collect demographic information about respondents, such as their location which would be analyzed, and we could disaggregate in order to the locations where the pilot program had the most interest or support.

So a lot can be done with data if you know what to do with it, and that was very eye opening to learn in this class. And of course shortly after I graduated, I started working for the RAND Corporation which is a research organization, and it was very helpful because now I understand and speak the language of research which is has really translated into being very helpful in my current job.

Okay, so these were the strategies that we identified as being the best way to accomplish our goals and objectives. You’ll notice that two of the three came down simply to making potential stakeholders aware of the STEM crisis and The Boys & Girls Club of America’s role in confronting it. Looking at these, you can see how the guiding theories that I mentioned previously make sense as anchors for our strategic plan. Lazarsfeld’s two-step flow theory which focusing messaging on opinion leaders and the cognitive dissonance theory would have direct application to each of these goals and help inform the most effective strategies and tactics to employ.

Establishing a standardized set of key themes and messages to support the campaign was imperative, especially considering that The Boys & Girls Club of America has approximately 4,000 clubs across the country that serve more than 4 million youth annually, so it’s a very decentralized organization. So it was important for the success of the campaign to build momentum for the effort to make sure that everybody was singing out of the same songbook. These were the central themes that we settled on, and there were messages that directly supported all of them. And it’s important also to ensure that our themes and messages were directly supporting our agreed upon goals and objectives to ensure that we weren’t creating inconsistencies in the campaign.

Here you can see the tactics that we set for our campaign. And what I’d like to highlight here is that several of these tactics were — and you can’t see me doing air quotes. I’m doing air quotes. Several of these tactics were, air quote, stolen from our peers in the program. One of the most valuable assets of the Strategic Public Relations Program is that the incredible amount of learning that takes place from your fellow students. Several of the classes require that you review and critique the work of your classmates, and of course your own work is being critiqued as well. And this communal sharing of knowledge and experience allows you to benefit not just from the formal instruction that’s provided, but also from the incredible of the talent of your fellow students. So really looking at these tactics again, I can even name the classmates that had these ideas that we kind of stole throughout the course of the program — smart people.

So finally and often the most challenging, as I think we all know as communicators, is measuring the success of the campaign. And this is where spending so much time of the goals and objectives, as well as the research questions, early on really pays off. We defined upfront what our output, outtakes, and outcomes would be, and if you don’t know what those are, don’t worry because I didn’t either before I went through this program. But they are essentially the concrete measures by which you will evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign. A couple of examples for our campaign were to track and assess the number and tone of media coverage, to track the number of Speakers Bureau invitations that we received and that we able to fulfill, survey results that measure awareness of the STEM crisis — both before and after the campaign, the total number of youth that were enrolled in the STEM education program at pilot clubs throughout the country, and several more.

I want to mention the fact that we actually presented our campaign to The Boys & Girls Club of America, where it was very well received. And the message there is that while yes the Capstone Project is a requirement for completion of the College of Professional Studies Strategic PR curriculum, we were doing much more than just checking a box. This was a real campaign that addressed a real problem with real approaches and solutions that were incredibly rewarding to work on. In this real world application of the curriculum is one of the qualities that was recently cited PR Week, when they awarded GWU’s College of Professional Studies Strategic PR Master’s Program, the nation’s top PR education program. That happened actually the week before graduation, so it was incredibly thrilling as I was traveling to Washington DC to participate in graduation to hear that announcement — very exciting.

And then last but not least, capstone is — you know, if you look up the definition — it’s considered the high point or the crowning achievement, and this project was absolutely challenging, but it was also absolutely achievable. And by the time we reached capstone, we had learned the skills that were necessary to complete the project, and not only that, we knew each other as teammates. It was the true culmination of an incredibly enriching educational experience that really gave us all a great sense of accomplishment.

But most of all, and in some ways I think most surprisingly, at least to me, is that I made some really great friends. And this is not something that I expected in 100% online program. But within a few courses, you really bond with your classmates and your facilitators. And you experience the joys babies being born, new jobs achieved, as well as life changes like losing a family pet or a spouse being laid off.

You really become friends, and graduation offered an opportunity for many of us to finally meet in person. In this photo, I’m there on the far right. This is just about three, four weeks ago. I actually participated in the graduation event in DC. And standing right next to me is Jill [Fauria], who was actually one of my capstone teammates, and this was the first time I had ever met her. So it was just a truly fun and rewarding experience. So that concludes my presentation. I believe I’m going to turn it back over to Kira, and then I’ll answer any questions you have about my Capstone Project or my experience with the program itself.

Kira: Wow. Thank you so much Erin for taking the time to present to us. I know you’re just so very busy with the RAND Corporation.

Erin: My pleasure.

Kira: So I will be going through the program information now because I know many of attendees definitely are interested in knowing more about it. And I would also invite you to, you know, brainstorm any questions you have for Erin, be it relating to the program, the Capstone Project, the process at which she arrived at the completion of the project, how it impacted her, or even just, you know, her experience going through the program as one who’s a full-time professional, managing life, and also upgrading her education with George Washington University so think of those questions and turn them into chatbox. And then we’ll be going through them during the discussion period.

Now going back to the program logistics, as you know Erin has mentioned it has been a wonderful experience for her and our students and graduates. It’s surely a life changing experience. Now it is 100% online, and completely asynchronous, so it’s very conducive to the working professional’s busy schedule. As you can see, Erin is one such very busy professional who has to travel from East Coast to West Coast for her work. But she’s able to achieve great results with her program through the assistance of the faculty and her classmates. And you only have to tackle one course at a time. This is great just because you’re able to really be focused and just have the thinking cap for that one subject at a time, and it’s a very good pacing six weeks with short breaks in between, where you very much appreciate having that little breather within about two weeks or so between courses.

And even though you’re doing this part-time while you’re working, you’re still able to accomplish your degree, as Erin has, within about 24 months. And students are dedicating around 15 to 20 hours, I would probably closer to 20 hours, depending on your course, but this is what the average student is reporting, which is very feasible. And if you’re working around the week, and you’re kind of tabulating the average hour per day, probably be about 2 hours, 2 hours and a half. I’m sure Erin can share her experience more closely with that.

In terms of the curriculum, there are 11 courses in all very relevant, though curated courses designed by faculty to ensure that it reflects the demands of the strategic public relations industry. You’re looking at 33 credit hours, and this includes either the Washington residency or an applied research project, which is the Capstone Project that Erin and her teammates have worked on. In terms of the tuition, you’re looking at 1545 per credit hour, which equates to just under 51,000 for the program. And of course financial aid is available, and the enrollment advisor, Maria [Loosh] would be happy to walk you through the details on, you know, how that would be broken down, and how you can make it work as part of your professional development.

If you’re interested in applying, the application requirements are as follows, so there’s an online application form, very straight forward, there’s an application fee of $75. We will want to have your essay or statement of purpose just outlining your motivation for wanting to be George Washington Master’s Strategic Public Relations student, and basically the purpose is your writing sample, also your resume or CV, three letters of recommendations from professional sources, and of course your official transcripts. And if you’re looking to apply, we are currently accepting applications. Marie would be happy to work with you to help you fulfil all the requirements. Upcoming starts, for the fall, are August 31st as well as October 26th. And it’s a pretty streamlined process to go through, and we’ll be happy to work with you.

And I’m going to now invite your questions, and I do have one question coming up, Erin. If you don’t mind just basically let us know how the faculty has been involved with this Capstone Project, and how it’s enabled you to achieve your goals?

Erin: Okay, that’s a great question, but before I answer that, you made me think of one other comment that I wanted to make about my traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast. I will say that my curriculum was largely completely at 36,000 feet with Delta and Gogo Inflight Internet as my partner in education. That was one of the things— In fact, that was probably the main reason why I was able to do a master’s program with my schedule is that while there are some set times where you have the option of meeting in chatrooms to speak with your facilitator or your professor, largely you can do it in your own time. And that flexibility is really, I think, a critical component of this program for working professionals or people who have other family commitments.

So getting to the question about the faculty. You know that the capstone project— By the time you reach the capstone project you have completed 11 courses, and so the theory is that you have been given the tools and the knowledge that you need to complete the project. Now that being said, you are assigned a faculty member who is kind of just there to answer any questions that you have about the Capstone Project. So for example, getting back to the research questions and our methodology we really— I won’t say we struggled with this, but we knew that it was very important, and we wanted to make sure we got it right, and so we were often not just going to Dr. Page, who was our professor, but also our facilitators, and they’re very accessible, very responsive to the questions that we had.

And in fact not just in the Capstone Program, but throughout the program, there was one class where I took, I believe it was the finance course, where if you guys are like me, we communicators are not the best at math, at least I’m not, and I actually ended up requesting a phone conversation with the professor because I was having a hard time with one particular concept, and he was more than willing to make himself available for that call. So while it is an 100% online program, the faculty and staff are there to help you.

And particularly when you get to capstone you have been given the instruction to be successful, but they are certainly there to help usher you through any challenges that you might have as you go through that program. Again I want reiterate, that once you get to capstone, you’re— I mean, everybody wants you to succeed. Nobody— Well, I shouldn’t say this, but I can’t see anybody like failing capstone. I mean by then, you’ve put so much into this program, you and your teammates have put so much into this program. You know the professors. They know you. You’re going to be successful, and the faculty and staff are there to make sure of it.

Kira: Thank you Erin. And there was a question that came in as well, if you can talk a little bit about the communication plan that you created for the campaign.

Erin: Okay, well, I mentioned on a high level some of the things that we focused on as far as our goals and objectives. The themes and messages, I highlighted the key themes were to raise awareness of the crisis and to position The Boys & Girls Club of America as really the organization to lead the charge in confronting the crisis. As well as the fact that it was going to be a partnership. We were going to need the support of many, many stakeholders to make the campaign successful.

Those key themes and messages were supported by a full tactical plan which included media relations, social media, web, you know, developing a microsite, an Internet site that was specific to this campaign, establishing a Speakers Bureau where we would have ambassadors like maybe Bill Nye the Science Guy or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, some folks like that, high profile people who were willing to go out speak on behalf not just of the importance of education, but The Boys & Girls Club of America’s role in meeting this challenge, setting up an advisory committee which would include business and industry professionals that would be impacted by this, government organizations like NASA, NOAA, the Center for Disease Control, CDC, academic institutions, etc.

So really it was a full on internal, external campaign that involved many facets of media, social media, advertising, web, and multi-media, Speakers Bureau. And I’m happy to share this with people if they’d like to see it either through Kira, your facilitator, or I’m on Twitter as well @erindick. And I’ll be happy to share the plan.

Kira: Wonderful, thanks Erin. And can you— Now I know the Capstone Project is, you know, a great example of how you’re able to kind of consolidate the skills obtained throughout the curriculum into a real world project, with real world application. Can you speak to how that has— just the program in general, how it has impacted you as a professional, you know, on a personal level as well, and what you’re takeaways, and what you’re advice you would have for people who are exploring this program.

Erin: Right, I mean, it was really interesting because, you know, I’m a little bit late in my career to be— Well, I shouldn’t say that. It’s never too late to go back to school, but I, having almost 20 years in this field, kind of came into the program thinking, “You know, I’m not really sure how much I can learn. I mean I’ve doing this for, you know, for 20 years.” But I will say that in every single class, even a class like the media class, where that’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years, that’s been my specialty is media relations and crisis communication, I was learning things. And so that was very exciting for me to kind of be this far along in my career and still be learning new techniques, new theories, new ideas. Each class I found that the things that I was working on had practical application.

I mean for example, when I started my new job here at the RAND Corporation, one of the first things I was asked to do was put together a comprehensive capabilities package. So I think corporations would refer to this as marketing, marketing brochures, marketing videos, a overview briefing, things like that. I mean they’re— That right there is a Capstone Project. I mean you have large business unit who is trying to raise their profile and let potential customers, and current customers, or sponsors know their strengths and their differentiators compared to the competitors, right there’s a Capstone Project.

And what I did is I sat down, and I did a [swat], and I considered what the goals and objectives of what this material would be. Is it to educate and inform current sponsors? Is it to try to generate new business? Is it to motivate current employees or to potentially recruit new employees? So you can see just in that one project alone, which I’m still right smack in the middle of, how basically everything I’ve discussed in this presentation relative to the Capstone Project was applicable to a project that I’m working on right now for my company.

Kira: Perfect, and how would you describe the support that you attained while you were studying online? And this is from the prospective, let’s say, you know, recruitment or student services. How has your experience been? And if you could speak a little bit about that.

Erin: Well, I will say that I didn’t have to use a lot of those services because things, for me, were pretty smooth and pretty easy, but that said, I knew that they were always there. There would be times when if I was, you know, having trouble accessing my, I guess it’s a bill for lack of a better term, the bill that you get for your tuition, I would just call my student services person, and they would put me in touch with the right people. Very, very, very responsive, but I didn’t really have a need to pull on those resources very much because things, for me, went very smoothly. But when I did need to, they were absolutely always there.

Kira: Wonderful, and I guess as we’re kind of wrapping up here, do you have any final thoughts for our audience today?

Erin: Well, I guess what I would say is, I mean I’m assuming most of you are here because you’re thinking about pursuing a master’s, and what I will tell you is that I researched other programs. I researched multiple other programs, and I won’t name the other programs, but ultimately, as PR Week decided, this is the best program that’s out there. And, you know, depending on whether your emphasis is on, in my case, media, whether it’s internal relations, whether it’s government affairs or public policy, this program has something to offer everybody.

And, you know, I participated in webinars like this, not just with GW but with the other organizations that I was looking into, and ultimately I decided and knew pretty clearly that this was going to be the best program for me. And I have been incredibly happy with the education that I received. I am incredibly happy to be done with the program. There’s no question. When you finish, you’re very happy to be done, but I am very proud of the accomplishment and very proud to have that diploma hanging on my wall.

Kira: That is so great. I am so glad that you joined us today, and I know you volunteered you time. And of course there’s nobody worried about their time like you do. But by your attendance today, I thank you so much Erin for taking the time out of your busy schedule, and all of our attendees, I know you’re equally busy, especially, you know, today’s a Wednesday. It’s the hump day of the week. It’s very busy for everyone. So I really appreciate it. It’s been a wonderful presentation.

And I hope that you will be joining us. We will continue to have, you know a very informative webinar. This has been a very unique session for us, just because, you know, having Erin here presenting the Capstone Project. It’s actually the first time that we’ve done a webinar of this kind, so I’m really glad we have such interested audience and having your ears and eyes to follow us today.

And upcoming start days, once again, if you get in touch with your enrollment advisor. The information is on the slide, and we look forward to having you join our program in the fall this year. And you’re able to leverage and gain insights that Erin and other fellow students and graduates of the program have enjoyed and just leveraging some knowledge of the faculty as well as the community at George Washington University. Thank you very much Erin once again and the attendees. We’ll be signing off now, and have yourself now a wonderful rest of the day.

Erin: Thank you for joining everybody. Good luck.

[End of recorded material 00:42:27]