For the first time in school history, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln team has won first place in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s Bateman Case Study Competition.
It’s the third time in the past six years that the team, based in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, has finished in the top three in the nation.
The Nebraska team was chosen as a finalist, out of 51 entries, along with teams from Brigham Young University and the University of Florida. Florida placed second, and Brigham Young placed third.
The 2022 Bateman Competition client was the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Nebraska’s team developed and executed an integrated communications campaign called “1 is Still 1” to raise awareness of lymphoma and the challenges adolescents and young adults can face when diagnosed with the cancer.
Nebraska’s team designed its campaign to educate Husker students about how college-aged students are often overlooked in national cancer research funding and to engage students to advocate for every young adult with lymphoma and their own health.
“Working with this team has been incredible,” said Delani Watkins, the campaign’s community relations coordinator. “We faced challenges that we had to push through, and to see all that hard work and dedication pay off is amazing.”
The team partnered with Students Together Against Cancer, a recognized student organization at Nebraska, to launch a Change.org petition to bring light to the inequity of funding research for young adult lymphoma. The team also hosted three advocacy events on campus.
As part of its final presentation, the team put together a toolkit for universities to incorporate into their curriculum. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, Bateman team members knew they wanted to share the toolkit with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney. The team’s next goal is to encourage every school in the Big Ten Conference to use the toolkit on their campuses.
“The team has put so much time and effort into developing and implementing this campaign, so it is a huge accomplishment and affirmation for us to win this competition,” team writer Mai Vu said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the strategic direction from our advisers.”
The following is a list of Nebraska’s Bateman team members, listed by hometown, with major(s) and their year in school:
- La Vista: Delani Watkins, senior, advertising and public relations
- Lincoln: Lindsay Elliott, senior, advertising and public relations; Spencer Swearingen, junior, advertising and public relations, and journalism
- Omaha: Ilana Lewis, advertising and public relations, senior; Morgan Zuerlein, advertising and public relations, senior
- Haiphong, Vietnam: Mai Vu, advertising and public relations, junior
Dane Kiambi, associate professor of advertising and public relations, served as the faculty adviser. Sheri Sallee, a former college faculty member with nearly 20 years of health communications experience, served as the professional adviser.