Embry-Riddle Team Wins Spot in NASA PR Contest

In their first try, a team of students studying communication at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University reached the finals in the NASA Means Business Competition, an annual national public relations contest to promote NASA to the next generation. The contest is sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium.

The students submitted their 50-page proposal in November, featuring their concepts for print media, a website, and community outreach, as well as a commercial storyboard, research analysis, and communication/marketing strategy.

The team is advised by communication professor Joanne Detore-Nakamura and led by Kelly Billon, a junior communication major. Other students are Joseph Antonucci, a junior business major; Victoria Demore, a sophomore communication major; Ivens Jean, a graduate student in the MBA program; Kevin Mock, a junior aerospace engineering major; and Melanie Pugh, a senior communication major.

As finalists, the students receive a $1,000 cash award, an invitation to ”behind-the-scenes” tours at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center, and a travel award for one team member. The competition culminates May 7-9, 2007, when the team pitches its finished plan to NASA officials at Kennedy Space Center. If the Embry-Riddle students win the grand prize, NASA will use their commercials on national TV and present their award in Washington, DC in Sept. 2007.

“By winning a spot in the finals, we have defied all odds and joined some very distinguished competition from much larger programs,” said Detore-Nakamura. “With only one PR class under their belts, our students produced a creative, research-based proposal that drew from their interdisciplinary strengths. Although this is the first time we have ever entered this communication competition, we intend to go all the way!”

Last year, Embry-Riddle public relations students generated some buzz with promotional plans they created for non-profit organizations in central Florida. (See http://www.erau.edu/er/newsmedia/newsreleases/2006/publicity.html.)

Detore-Nakamura teaches the public relations courses in the communication program, which focuses on the aviation and aerospace industries. For more information on the program, see the following web site: http://www.erau.edu/db/degrees/b-communication.html.

The students are now looking for corporate and community sponsors who would like to help finance the team’s expenses and cross-promote their organization with NASA and the Embry-Riddle team.

For more information about the Embry-Riddle team or to sponsor the team, contact Detore-Nakamura at detor6ee@erau.edu. Information about the NASA Means Business competition can be found at http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/nmb/.

Embry-Riddle, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates more than 32,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through the Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning.

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