Strategic Communication Snapshot: Fall 2015

ASP is excited to have 5 trail-blazing students in our new Strategic Communication track this semester, and they have been busy engaging communication leaders in Washington, D.C. Currently, we are putting together a communication campaign for Bread for the World, as well as constructing two case studies – one based on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 that the students are researching as a group, and the other done individually for their internship offices. Our students have great internship placements this semester at the Washington Redskins’ Business Development and Operations Department;  public relations firm, the Borenstein Group; Genocide Watch; Susan B. Anthony List; and a congressional office.

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Fall 2015 Strategic Communication: program director Peter Baker; Dietrich Heiss, Judson University; Brandan Wilchcombe, Taylor University; Christine Orr, Azusa Pacific University; Jodie Howard, Messiah College; Victoria Goebel, Gordon College; and ASP fellow in strategic communication Jacque Isaacs

We started our first week by meeting with Jared Noetzel, Church Relations Coordinator at Bread for the World. The students will be developing and presenting a communication campaign to Bread in three parts: a Formative Research Paper, analyzing tools such as a public relations audit and a SWOT analysis to build the foundation for their communication campaign; a Strategic Plan, working with Bread to establish goals and objectives for the campaign; and an Evaluation and Monitoring Plan, which will help measure and determine to what degree the campaign has achieved its goals. This has been a great experience for the students to work with a real client, understand their mission and vision, and apply what we are learning in the classroom in a way that creates value for a DC-based Christian organization.

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Strat Comm at Bread for the World

Next, we began work on the Strategic Communication case studies. The students are writing a group case study about the Ebola Outbreak in 2014, focusing on a communication decision that was influential which helps us to understand the big picture. We met with four professionals who actively worked on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014. First, we went to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and met with Marty Bahamonde, Director of Disaster Operations in the Office of External Affairs. FEMA’s strategic communication team worked directly with the CDC as they responded to the unfolding crisis. The student’s also video-conferenced with Rev. Susan Sytsma Bratt, associate pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church, which is located in the Dallas community where the first Ebola victim in the USA was staying. She shared a fascinating first-person perspective on communication in Dallas during the crisis and how she and her church chose to respond.

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Strat Comm at FEMA

We also met with Jonathan V. Last, reporter at the Weekly Standard, who covered the case closely. He provided valuable insight to the students about what was being told to the media, when, and by whom. Lastly, we met with Caroline Booth, the communication director for Congressman Pete Sessions, whose district includes Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital, the focus of the Ebola crisis. The next step of this case study is for the students conduct their own primary research and interview more professionals. We can’t wait to see who they are able to speak with!

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Strat Comm at Congressman Pete Session’s office

Strategic Communication concludes its first half of the semester by sending each student to their internships with the assignment of identifying a decision point at their offices that they can focus on for their individual case study. This is a great opportunity for the students to add value to their internship placement sites. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve travelled in just a few short weeks. Next week, the students will present the research portion of their communication campaign to Bread for the World. We are thankful for all of the opportunities that are being made available to our students, and we are excited for the good work they are completely this semester.

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What I’ve Learned So Far: Fall 2015

Fall 2015 students have been in D.C. for a month! We asked them what they have learned about their new city so far.  Here are a few of their responses.

“The city is a metaphor for life. Everything is constantly and rapidly changing at all times. Being here has helped me to remember how important faith is. Even when we don’t see the next step ahead, have faith.”
— Christine O., Azusa Pacific University

“The city is full of brilliant people who are more than willing to teach you.”
— Eric H., Gordon College

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“There’s more to D.C. than the federal side. The neighborhoods have so much life to them!”
— Danni J., University of Northwestern – St. Paul

“D.C. is a really small town. Everyone seems to know everyone, so a good (or bad) interaction with a person can go a long way.”
— Jason S., Biola University

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“D.C. is a very federal power type of place. It almost puts on a show to a point where it detracts from the real D.C.: neighborhoods, communities, and people.”
— Isaac S., Vanguard University

“D.C. is culturally rich. Everywhere you go, you experience a different culture and can be welcomed in. I experienced so much culture this weekend at the H St. Festival and the Latino Festival on Penn. It’s not just suits and ties here — it’s food, singing, and dancing on Pennsylvania Avenue with strangers.”
–Tori G., Gordon College

12049306_1720344878193791_6075489689274188108_n“It’s important to take the time to enjoy the small things during the hustle and bustle of the busy life.”
— Jodie H., Messiah College

“Life in D.C. is very fast-paced. Everyday you have to be better at what you do, especially at the office/workplace. You will meet nice people and mean people, but you should show respect to all kinds.”
— Brandan W., Taylor University

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Welcome to Fall 2015!

ASP Fall 2015 is off to a great start with students from Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Gordon College, Judson University, Messiah College, Taylor University, University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Vanguard University of Southern California, Warner Pacific College, Westmont College, and William Jessup University.  Especially exciting this semester is the launch of our new Strategic Communication study track! Internships start week after next, but until then, students are exploring their new home; discussing themes of justice, power and poverty, shalom, and faithful practice; serving their community; and building relationships.

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Introductions via “Three Things”

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester, ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

Bus Day 2: Spring 2015

As part of the Neighborhood Engagement component of their semester, students participate in several “Bus Days,” scavenger hunts throughout the city.  Click through the slides and videos below to see the experiences of three groups on Bus Day 2 this weekend.

Mount Pleasant in northwest DC:

with Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University), Tim Carr (Gordon College), Alberto Sanchez (Fresno Pacific University), and Patricia Vazquez (Fresno Pacific University)

Brookland in northeast DC:

with Hannah Crites (Franciscan University), Neakzaad Horriat (Biola University), Savannah Scherkenback (Azusa Pacific University), and Chelsea Tyson (Regent University)

Adams Morgan in northwest DC:

with Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), Katie Barany (Eastern University), Eric Corona (Biola University), Jacob Fusek (Southeastern University), and Danica Smithwick (Union University)

One Month in DC: Spring 2015

ASP students have finished their second week of internships and track work and are celebrating one month of being in Washington. What have they learned in D.C. so far?

When you arrive–walk everywhere during your first week! That’s how you get to know the heartbeat of this city.  One of the best “must do” experiences: grocery shopping on weekends at Eastern Market.  Talk to the people.
Savannah Scherkenback, Azusa Pacific University

The city is alive and busy, and so am I.  There is always cool stuff happening if you look.
Katie Barany, Eastern University

ASP students attended an event at George Washington University with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg {photo credit: Katie Barany}

ASP students attended an event at George Washington University with Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia {photo credit: Katie Barany}

We aren’t in Vermont anymore.
-Timothy Carr, Gordon College

I have learned that this city is amazing.  I want to keep learning what it takes to be successful in this city.  My internship is very fun.
-Alberto Sanchez, Fresno Pacific University

Lebanese food in DC is delicious (like the “Lebanese Chipotle”).
-Amanda Bishop, Biola University

Biola ASPers joined Biola President Barry Corey on Capitol Hill to meet with Congressman Ed Royce [l-r: Amanda Bishop, President Corey, Congressman Royce, Neakzaad Horriat, Luke Bennett, and Eric Corona] {photo credit: Eric Corona}

Biola ASPers joined Biola President Barry Corey on Capitol Hill to meet with Congressman Ed Royce (CA-39) [l-r: Amanda Bishop, President Corey, Congressman Royce, Neakzaad Horriat, Luke Bennett, and Eric Corona] {photo credit: Amanda Bishop}

There is no excuse for being bored.  There is always something to do, so go do it.
-Luke Bennett, Biola University

D.C. is a wonderful place, full of energy, growth, and vigor.  At the same time, it is a city full of hurt, poverty, and inequality.
-Charlie Richert, Taylor University

Students hang out in the Dellenback [l-r: Rachel Malcolm (Azusa Pacific University), Shelby Holloway (Trinity Western University), Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University of Southern California), Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), and Norann Beidas (Whitworth University)]

Students hang out in the Dellenback [l-r: Rachel Malcolm (Azusa Pacific University), Shelby Holloway (Trinity Western University), Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University of Southern California), Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), and Norann Beidas (Whitworth University)]

I have learned the layout of the city and how I can attend amazing events because of this knowledge.
-Norann Beidas, Whitworth University

There are so many kind people in the city that love to discuss anything and everything.  It is so easy to meet cool people like the Mayor of London, and congressional hearings are awesome to see politicians in action.  Come to D.C.–it’s amazing!
-Alexcis Albert, Vanguard University of Southern California

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London Mayor Boris Johnson at a Politico event attended by ASP students {photo credit: Norann Beidas}

Here in D.C., it is never proper to merely ride the escalator; you must expeditiously walk.  Escalators are not fast enough.
-Eric Corona, Biola University

Opportunities are everywhere if you keep your eyes open!
-Jacob Fusek, Southeastern University

So far I think I have started to learn how to network at different events and how to reach out to people who have similar interests.
-Patricia Vazquez Topete, Fresno Pacific University

Oscar Martinez is the author of The Beast (Spanish translation for The Immigrants that Don't Matter). On Wednesvday Feb.  12 he won the WOLA and Duke Human Rights Book Award. The Beast talks about the journey that immigrants take from Central America to the U.S. Mexican Border and the dangerous experiences they encounter. At the book award Martinez said that individuals from El Salvador don't just immigrate but they flee their country.

Salvadorean journalist Oscar Martinez receives the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award at an event hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America, where ASPer Patricia Vazquez Topete is interning.  Mr. Martinez is the author of The Beast which chronicles the journey that immigrants take from Central America to the U.S.-Mexican Border and the dangerous experiences they encounter. {photo credit: Patricia Vazquez Topete}

Everyone is here for a purpose, and if you are here without a purpose, you cannot succeed.  But if you do have a purpose, you will flourish here.
-Neakzaad Horriat, Biola University

I have learned about the interesting dynamic of Washington, D.C.  The poor work and live side by side with the rich.
-Rachel Malcolm, Azusa Pacific University

Never underestimate the metro system.
-Carolina Alvarado, Taylor University

Homeless Liaison for Prince George's County speaking at a panel discussion on child homelessness hosted by the Congressional Homelessness Caucus and Senator Patty Murray's office (WA)

Homeless Liaison for Prince George’s County speaking at a panel discussion on child homelessness hosted by the Congressional Homelessness Caucus and Senator Patty Murray’s office (WA) {photo credit: Christina McIntyre}

The world is bigger than I thought it was! But very different people living in the same place is a beautiful thing.
-Tara Tankersley, North Central University

Advice from someone at my internship — “Never think like an intern!”
-Reuben Van Gaalen, Dordt College

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{photo credit: Katie Barany}

The Start of a New Semester: Spring 2015

On January 15, we welcomed a wonderful new group of ASP students to Washington, D.C.! In the two weeks since arrival, they have stayed busy with class, scavenger hunts, volunteering, and exploring the city on their own.

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Move-in day welcome team: Kelley Griffin, program administrator; Erin Cox, Public Policy track instructor; James Kim, resident director

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Learning about neighborhood dogs during community life orientation with resident director James Kim!

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Hanging out in the apartments [l-r: Luke Bennett, Biola University; Neakzaad Horriat, Biola University; Evan Wilt, Geneva College; Jude Abeler, Palm Beach Atlantic University; Jacob Fusek, Southeastern University; and Tara Tankersley, North Central University]

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Tutoring children through Little Lights Urban Ministries’ after-school program–visit http://www.littlelights.org to learn more about this neighborhood organization

Eric Corona (Biola University), Reuben Van Gaalen (Dordt College), and Norann Beidas (Whitworth University) outside Navy Yard during Bus Day 1 [photo credit: Norann Beidas]

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Ice skating on the National Mall outside the Archives [l-r: Evan Wilt, Geneva College; Luke Bennett, Biola University; Savannah Scherkenback, Azusa Pacific University; Reuben Van Gaalen, Dordt College; Tara Tankersley, North Central University; and Jude Abeler, Palm Beach Atlantic University] [Photo credit: Luke Bennett]

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Discovering local coffee shop Sidamo [l-r: Reuben Van Gaalen, Dordt College; Jacob Fusek, Southeastern University; Norann Beidas, Whitworth University; and Alexcis Albert, Vanguard University of Southern California]