SMWC scoops up finalist spot for national tech award

June 5th, 2012 | SMWC

In a conference room stocked with the latest gadgets, ingenious marketing strategies emerge among a very unique group of students. In Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s (SMWC) virtual social media marketing internship, students work virtually with each other and local not-for-profits to develop creative online marketing strategies.

Now, their innovative work has earned the program national spotlight.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) selected SMWC’s virtual internship as a finalist for its 2012 Innovation Excellence Awards. NACE will announce the winners at their annual conference in La Vegas, Nev., on June 12, 2012.

“Students in the internship apply new technology in an online environment, while developing skills that employers value, such as teamwork and communication,” said Debbie Miller, associate director of career development and SMWC’s representative at the awards ceremony. “They also learn about the challenges nonprofits face in raising awareness and money with limited staff.”

Funded by the Ball Venture Foundation, the internship partnered campus and distance students with Wabash Valley not-for-profits using web conferencing stations with touchscreen technology, cameras, projectors and Adobe software. SMWC teams used this technology to complete projects for The Maple Center, Catholic Charities, Wabash Valley Community Foundation, The KidKare Project, Happiness Bag, Fire Department Training Network and the Halcyon Art Gallery. One team even produced a volunteer recruitment video for the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.

“They made the impossible, possible,” said Lynn Hughes, executive director of the children’s museum and a 2008 graduate of the College’s Master of Leadership Development program. “They used equipment owned by SMWC to keep our costs low, and did a lot of research on their own to minimize the time that we needed to spend with them.”

True to a liberal arts foundation, students from all majors are encouraged to participate in the program. “Most businesses use different technologies to communicate all over the world,” said Jordan Bedella, a business administration major at SMWC. “It will be to my advantage that they see I know how to use it.”

NACE’s Innovation Excellence Award recognizes the best college or employer program that utilizes technology to engage a variety of audiences in career services. The winners will receive a plaque, as well as articles in “Spotlight Online,” the “NACE Journal” and on the organization’s website.

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