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Ms. Whitney Porter - Student

June 22, 2015 (Monday)
Senior - Public Relations major
College of Arts and Sciences

Service-Learning Class:
Research in PR & Advertising: CO 4803

Semester: Spring 2015

Course Description:
This service-learning project brought together Ms. Rachael Carter, an Extension Instructor in Enterprise and Community Res Development, and Dr. Skye Cooley's CO 4803: Research in PR & Advertising class. The students were tasked with researching the community's opinion on Agriculture in the state of Mississippi. The research data that the class collected was to be presented to State Farm Bureau.

Comments from Ms. Whitney Porter:

1. What was your initial reaction after learning about your service-learning project and community partner?

The idea of applying research concepts that I would learn in the class in real-world situations was very exciting. Our community partner tasked us with researching the Mississippi community's opinions on agriculture in the state. I enjoyed knowing that I would not be the only one learning from doing this project. I looked forward to having my work benefiting our community partner, not just being read and graded by my professor.

2. What advice do you have for other students considering to take a course with a service-learning component?

I would defiantly recommend courses with service-learning projects. I would tell future service-learning students to expect working with a wide range of people, which benefits one's communication skills. Service-learning courses are unlike typical classes because they do not follow a traditional lecture format. Some of the course work can be time consuming, however, it is very rewarding.

3. What was your favorite part of the project?

The project allowed me to get out of the classroom to work in settings that I would not regularly be in. I also liked that the project was agriculture-based because I come from a family of agriculture farmers in the state of Mississippi. It was interesting to see what the public opinions were on agriculture.

4. Named something that you have learned (as a student) through your work with CASLE and service-learning.

I learned a lot about teamwork and research. My group conducted focus groups with Mississippi community members that allowed us to understand people's perceptions of agriculture in the state. We then took our data and combined it with other groups' results to conduct statistical analysis. My experience of working with a community partner has taught me that the perspectives of others may be very different than my own.

5. Name a specific aspect or moment from this experience that prepared you for your future career?

Working with a community partner was much like working for a real client in a business setting. I enjoyed knowing that I had a deadline and that my work would influence real business decisions. I believe that this experience has definitely benefited me, both personally and professionally.