Imagine waiting to present your hard work put into your undergraduate senior thesis, with only a month until your presentation. That was Kaitlyn Eby position, who was one of the many EMU students who planned to present in the EMU Undergraduate Winter Symposium. Her plans, however were cut short by the COVID-19 global pandemic, and EMU’s decision to suspended in-person classes. Her presentation, along with all of her peers, were cancelled along with the whole of the 40th EMU Undergraduate Symposium.
Through some innovation, however, Eby along with numerous other peers, presented her project to the public in a new way via social media.
As a student Eby balanced two majors, communication and history, along with a minor graphic communication. She accomplished this all the while maintaining high grades and meeting the extra-circular needs to be enrolled in the EMU Honors College. Eby balanced an on-campus job in The Office of Study Abroad while being a high achieving student. At her job Eby learned how to use social media at a professional level, as she promoted the Study Abroad programs through the social media platforms the office used. These same skills were applied to her virtual Symposium presentation which she showcased on Facebook and Twitter.
Despite being a hardworking and high achieving student, Eby didn’t initially plan to present at the undergraduate thesis. This changed, however, when she enrolled in a senior history thesis course, called senior history seminar, in the Fall 2019 semester.
For her research Eby focused on the history of EMU through the past, with a particular emphasis the 1980s through the 2010s and how the marketing of university changed throughout that period, titling her thesis “'Yo‒This Way to EMU': Eastern Michigan University Recruitment Marketing Strategy from 1980 to 2010."
“I spent. . . fifty hours in the EMU Archive. I went through all different collections relating to marketing and I went through all the admission folders. After that, I compounded all my research [into] one huge document,“ Eby said.
With her research done she then began to narrate her work, asking herself, “What is the story, I want to tell? What Is the thesis of my paper?”
"Overall, my method kind of ends up telling a story. I didn’t really expect to. . . but it kind of ended up with telling [the story] of Eastern’s marketing,“ Eby said.
In addition to the history of EMU’s marketing, Eby took an analytical approach, finding what benefited the university, as well pinpointing where the universities marketing endeavors failed.
Eby was still able to share her work publicly through use of social media, in addition to expressing the pleasure of working under the guidance of her mentor, Mary-Elizabeth Murphy.
To hear about more symposium projects of EMU students who were unable to traditionally present due to COVID-19, listen to the Eastern Echo’s Podcast, "Symposium."