Writing for Strategic Communication Industries
Jasmine Roberts, Ohio State University
Pub Date: 2016
Publisher: Ohio State University Libraries
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The text offers a comprehensive look at the roles and responsibilities of professionals in the strategic communications industry. The index clearly read more
The text offers a comprehensive look at the roles and responsibilities of professionals in the strategic communications industry. The index clearly outlines the topics covered, broken down by macro and micro subject areas. As an educator, I find this to be helpful when making reading assignments. While it’s not likely I would use this text in its entirety, I can easily spot and pull out the most relevant chapters. There is no glossary included in the text, but I have found terms to be well defined within the manuscript.
To the best of my knowledge, the material in this book is accurate and unbiased. As a journalist by trade, and a professor by choice, I appreciate the approach Roberts takes to the reliance reporters have on strategic communicators and vice versa. It is easy to make jokes about reporters or editors going to “the dark side,” but this book makes very clear the need we need for strategic communicators and that they need for us.
At the time of this reading, the book feels current and as though it has a shelf life. I do think that it will need to be updated with new examples in the next year or two, though, to keep the examples up to date. When we’re talking about the need for public relations and crisis communications, United Airlines and Facebook and Harvey Weinstein and the March for Life will prove to be more timely examples than Malaysia Airlines’ bucket list promotion, the Boston Marathon bombings or sexual assault claims against Bill Cosby. That said, I firmly believe replacing some of the aforementioned examples can be done seamlessly without affecting the structure, integrity or feel of the book.
Roberts walks the walk. The book has entire chapters devoted to the need for clear, concise and conversational writing and it’s written in a manner that reinforces that message. It is an “easy” read that can be easily comprehended on one or two passes. There is an appropriate amount of professional and technical jargon used throughout, but it is defined using laymen’s terms. The use of graphics and video help enhance understanding for learners who need a slightly different style to absorb the information. This text is written at exactly the level I’d want to use with first and second-year college students.
The book is consistent in terms of terminology and framework. The chapters are all constructed in the same way and offer readers an expectation of what will come in those that follow. There are no surprises in terms of structure.
One of the things that pleases me MOST about this text is its modularity. It can easily be broken down to fit into units within a course and/or to complement other reading materials. I really like how Roberts broke each main area of strategic communication into its own chapter – and did the same with writing, law and ethics. This could make this text incredibly useful in a combined survey course that looks at the professions of journalism and strategic communication. I love that it includes the importance of AP Style, news values and inverted pyramid storytelling. It succeeds in driving home the point that strategic communication and journalism are hatched from the same egg. Students need to see and hear that message.
I have only one comment on the structure. I felt like some of the chapters could have been grouped together differently. I would have liked to see the media relations chapter in closer proximity to the sections on news writing, news values and grammar and usage. That would have even further reinforced the notion of the symbiotic relationship between journalists and media relations specialists (and pointed out ways they could all work together better). I would have also considered putting the law and ethics sections toward the end. I think a student needs to have a clearer picture of the rights and responsibilities typical of a specific role before being able to work through legal and ethical dilemmas facing them. I like the idea of building a portfolio at the very end, but I also wonder how quick I’d be to use that chapter at the level I’d consider using this text. I might consider it a little early to begin producing a professional portfolio.
The interface is clean and clear. I downloaded the PDF version. The text was easily legible. Images appeared as I would assume they were meant to be (no stretching, distortion), and links to YouTube videos worked without problem.
There were no noticeable grammatical errors.
This text is a comprehensive look at strategic communication using culturally relevant examples, including brands, celebrities, locales and news stories that will be easily recognizable to most undergraduate students. As mentioned earlier, there will be a need to update examples in the near future to maintain that cultural relevance.
This is the first open textbook I’ve examined and I am beyond impressed with the quality of the materials. Students who consume (because they’ll be watching as much as they’re reading) this text will walk away equipped with a literacy-level understanding of media relations, public relations and social media. For many journalism/editorial students, Writing for Strategic Communication Industries might be the only exposure they ever have to strat writing – and it might be all they ever need.
This book not only covers news writing and writing for public relations, advertising, and social media, but also how writing functions within various read more
This book not only covers news writing and writing for public relations, advertising, and social media, but also how writing functions within various industries. The public relations chapter could include more variety in public relations writing formats, such as pitch letters or media alerts. The advertising chapter could also provide additional detail on writing for advertising. Early chapters on news values and ethics are important and the information provided here is comprehensive. This book could also be improved with the addition of writing exercises for students.
The content provided is accurate.
The social media chapter contains information that will likely remain relevant for a long time. Most recent social media information, such as platforms, would be useful here too and could be easily updated. Some of the examples will be need to be updated over time.
The content is broken into short, easy-to-read sections, but I suspect that students will skim academic research cited in the book.
The book offers several videos, but additional videos could provide more consistency in content. The ethics chapter contained a case study, and I would like to have seen more case studies throughout.
The book offers embedded videos, graphics, and images as well as links to additional content. Additionally, the content is organized into readable chunks of material.
The book flows through the content the way I usually cover it in class, starting off with an introduction to the field, followed by a discussion of ethics and news values, and then presenting journalistic writing. Finally, writing for the various strategic communication industries is presented.
The book is easy to interact with arrows to the next section and links embedded in the text. I would like to see internet content linked in the reference lists.
I did not notice any typos.
This book draws on some current examples to illustrate main points. I did not see anything that was culturally offensive.
I appreciate the breadth of coverage of this book, to focus on news writing (hard & feature news), as well as strategic writing in public relations read more
I appreciate the breadth of coverage of this book, to focus on news writing (hard & feature news), as well as strategic writing in public relations and advertising. I could see adopting this for a Media Writing class that covers both newswriting as well as strategic communication areas. The one area that wasn't in that lineup though was any focus on broadcast writing--the newswriting focus is toward print media. Ch. 5 on News Values applies to both print and broadcast, while Ch. 6 seems to only address print news. So to use this text for that type of class, one may still want to supplement with some readings about broadcast news, as the storytelling style, use of attribution, etc., are different than in print news.
No errors found. The chapters have a wide range of timely examples to support the points made, and no bias is apparent.
The text is very timely in its examples, and media context for the areas of writing in it. Media convergence continues to change, so I think the longevity of this type of book is always going to be a challenge. For example, Ch. 10 on Social Media seems quite up to date, but now that Twitter is permitting tweets longer than 140 characters, that might need updating. I would hope that in the online open textbook world, such updates would be fairly easy to do. I think updates to this text would be quite straightforward. The examples used to discuss media ethics were also quite up to date--I don't think it needs to go so far as "flavor of the month" timeliness, because there can also be a timelessness to some ethics cases. I still talk about ABC News vs. Food Lion (1996) and the use of hidden cameras in investigative reporting when discussing media ethics
I thought the text was very accessible. The media writing class I teach and might use this type of text for is a lower division undergraduate course with no prerequisite course. The use the industry jargon, from public relations or advertising, was appropriately defined and explained. That helps students understand the industry, and "talk the talk" in possible internships.
Given that the chapters focus on different types of writing, some more strategic than others, I don't think the chapters can be, or should be, too formulaic and "cookie cutter" in their style and organization. Having said that, the chapters are fine in terms of consistency. There are none that are overly long or developed in minute detail compared to others. My only suggestion about consistency would be to have examples to demonstrate the different types of writing in each chapter--otherwise, an instructor might need to find some to present when covering that reading in a class. I'm not sure, for instance, if there were examples in the chapter on advertising, but there were examples in the chapter on public relations writing and the chapter on social media messages.
The chapters all seem quite self-contained within themselves. I rarely follow the order of chapters in a textbook, and this can be an issues when making that change. Good use of subheadings too--helpful to direct the reader, but not overdone.
Even though I've just noted in the previous category that I rarely assign chapters in the order they appear in a textbook, Writing for Strategic Communication Industries has a logical organization overall, as well as within the chapters. For this type of book (and class), to cover some of the basics of news writing makes sense before addressing public relations writing, because much of the style in PR writing is influenced by news writing practices.
I appreciated the examples overall, the visuals included (photos as well as charts), and the links to videos. I think one of the video links wasn't active--p. 107 (on social media writing). I'm not sure if there is a way to change the visual appearance of those links--perhaps more like the "further reading" box on p. 93 to call the reader's attention to them.
No issues or concerns noted while reviewing this text.
No issues or concerns. Good range of examples and cases incorporated in the chapter.
This book is very accessible to students, covering a broad range of writing areas that are relevant for a writing in strategic communication course. If I was to adopt this text for a media writing class, I would supplement it with some content on broadcast writing. Other textbooks in media writing often include some exercises at the end of chapters, which can be good material for in-class activities; that might be helpful to add if this text is revised into another edition.
The text is a wide-ranging overview of the key topics in strategic communications, ranging from the conceptual ("Defining Strategic Communications") read more
The text is a wide-ranging overview of the key topics in strategic communications, ranging from the conceptual ("Defining Strategic Communications") to the practical ("Creating a Writing Portfolio".) It is a short text at 126 pages, and the topics are supplemented with video interviews by experts in the field. The treatment of each topic is a little light, and sometimes the videos carry the weight of the explanation. Taken as a whole, the text and videos provide a good framework to launch a more in-depth lesson, but teachers will have to supplement content and create their own exercises. The text is relatively recent and provided real-world examples. There is no index or glossary, but the chapter subsections are quickly scannable, and the terms are internally defined.
I did not note any factual errors, though the author surely could have found a better example for a victim of defamation than Bill Cosby.
The content is recent and relevant, and included examples of PR efforts that backfired, such as the 2015 Starbucks "Race Together" effort that fell flat, or the Malaysia Airlines "Bucket List" campaign that launched not long after 500 people died in a Malaysia Airlines crash. These examples will inevitably become dated, but will still be illustrative. The links to other content are in danger of becoming obsolete if they are not constantly checked and maintained. There is a dead link to a webpage in the PR section, and a non-functioning link to a video in the social media section. The author should archive the webpage and link to the archived version. This can be done at archive.is.
The writing is very clear and accessible. The author defines industry jargon and refrains from academic lingo.
The structure and framework are consistent, with the main themes clearly stated, and references at the end of each chapter.
The chapters have similar structures and the order of topics can be moved around, as each topic is self-contained. The subsections are clear. A good deal of content is contained within the videos, however, and that content is not indexed or described in detail, so a teacher must watch the videos to know what they contain and how to supplement them.
The organization is intuitive, starting with a broad overview, and narrowing the focus to specific topics. The structure is consistent. I wished there was more depth on? several of the topics. The content was pretty cursory in some sections, and relied on links to outside sources. I didn't check for fair use of the outside sources, like Business Insider and The Washington Post, but assume that the publisher has approved the links for educational fair use.
As noted earlier, there were two dead content and video links in the textbook. Otherwise, the word-based interface was fine.
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
The text hit all the main points, and was written recently enough to be relevant. The speakers in the videos represented people of color and both men and women.
Overall, the text was a useful, quick overview, but a bit thin on detail and depth. Some sections felt dashed off -- the example of a feature lead was particularly disappointing, as there are so many examples of riveting or suspenseful anecdotal leads. There was one page addressing writing skills, and the points were all fine, but one wonders how the author selected that handful of specific skills. The text is a good jumping-off point for teachers or for students who want a cursory look at Strategic Communication.
As a professor who focuses on public relations (as opposed to advertising or marketing), the book provides a good general overview for the areas read more
As a professor who focuses on public relations (as opposed to advertising or marketing), the book provides a good general overview for the areas relevant to students in the courses I teach (in particular, my principles of PR course, or as ancillary material for my PR writing course). I would say that this text has been more useful for me in my courses for its examples and how concepts are illustrated and applied, rather than for its theoretical foundations. I've been using this text in conjunction with another text to fill in the gaps in theory.
The content in this text seems to be right on track with what I would expect in a strategic communication text. In my reading of this text I have not noticed errors (other than some missing content in a couple of places, though I've reached out to the author about those issues directly and she has indicated that she is working on correcting those). So, other than errors the author has already corrected, I believe the text is well written and accurate.
I've marked this text as 4/5 on relevance/longevity because it is relevant and timely right now - but will cease to be within the next couple of years if it is not regularly updated. This is the challenge with this type of text, of course - part of its value is the up-to-date, timely examples. it will need to be updated every couple of years to maintain its relevance.
The text is clear and concise. If anything, there are points where it's more concise than I would like it to be! Author does a good job of defining terms.
Book style is extremely consistent. Well done on this.
Each chapter can be broken out as its own section, and within each chapter there are individually labeled and indexed sections on specific subtopics. The text could reasonably be split out into 12 independent min-texts on each subject (again, as ancillary material in many cases rather than as comprehensive content presentation) - but the modularity is quite helpful. Compared to the other text I'm using in my classes right now, the modularity and indexing of this text is much better.
This is mostly a result of my bias as a PR professor, but if I were building the text for my own classes I would restructure it to suit my individual course needs. Aside from my own bias, the flow of the text works well. The flow is logical and reasonably builds as the text progresses.
Other than small errors mentioned previously (that have, to my knowledge, been addressed), the interface is quite functional. In several months of use neither my students nor I have had problems with the interface.
I have noticed no errors in the text, it is well written.
The author uses a wide range of examples from a variety contexts in the text. I have noticed no strong bias toward or away from any particular perspective, and I've certainly not seen anything culturally insensitive or offensive.
As should be clear for anyone who has read my entire review, I'm currently using this text in my class (I'm using it as ancillary material in my PR writing course). I'm also using a Saylor OER titled "Mastering Public Relations" - the two texts together work quite well for covering both the theory needs of my courses and the practical application to help my students make sense of the content/context. I'm actually planning (in the future, maybe as a summer project), to integrate content from the two texts to create one cohesive text for my courses. This is, of course, the beauty of creative commons. I'm really pleased with the text, and will continue to use it. Thank you for your work, Jasmine!
I appreciate the macro to micro organization of the chapters, especially the section on social media. I felt a chapter on risk and crisis read more
I appreciate the macro to micro organization of the chapters, especially the section on social media. I felt a chapter on risk and crisis communication would further enhance this work. I felt information about PRSA and PRSSA would be helpful when discussing ethics.
The author uses both industry and academic sources. I felt the content was accurate.
I appreciate the organization of the material. This text is relevant and has longevity. The section on social media channels will obviously have to be updated, but that is with any text, open or not.
The material is easy to read and engaging. It is much more reader-friendly than the book I am currently using.
I feel the book is structured consistently and I appreciate her use of industry and academic sources.
The sections are relatively short, but I would bolster the chapters with interactive media...I did really appreciate the videos.
Excellent. I can use this text for my introduction to integrated communication next semester.
There are a few open pages at the beginning of the PDF, but that isn't a deal breaker.
I did not notice any grammar errors.
I appreciated the attempt to address diversity, but it could certainly be it's own chapter.
I plan to adopt this for my Intro to Integrated course.
This textbook covers most areas of journalism and public relations writing and covers the basic introductory principles needed in strategic read more
This textbook covers most areas of journalism and public relations writing and covers the basic introductory principles needed in strategic communication writing . It does not cover the strategic communication skills needed in advertising writing and skills needed to conduct comprehensive and effective strategic campaigns.
The content is accurate, hover all of the video examples are from the Ohio State University. Also the references are mostly from the internet and do not include references from the most prominent textbooks that are utilized in the strategic communications industries in public relations and advertising. These main sources are excluded in the textbook. It seems to be very biased.
The content is only relevant up to date to 2016. There are many out dated sources used in the references. There should be more social media included as the strategic communication field is constantly changing with the technology and relevance. I believe this text will become obsolete. Also, it is solely based on Ohio State videos and outdated examples . The Malaysia incident happened years ago. Many things are happening now and there needs to be more current.There needs to be more ways to stay current. As I said, this is a basic introductory level for types of writing for journalism and public relations. It is a writing book. Not for advertising at all.
The text is written very clearly. The chapters are short and concise. It is easy to understand. It is an introductory level. It is very basic and easy to follow.
The book is consistent. It is something that would be used in a 100 or 200 level. It offers all the basics for an Introductory journalism writing or public relations writing class. I would not use this in an advertising copywriting or campaigns class. The new buzz word for these writing classes is now called strategic communications. However, this is very basic and introductory in nature.
I would break this into two modules. One clearly for Journalism and one for Public Relations. It does not warrant a third module for advertising. There is not enough information. It merely skims the surface. It does not even give an introductory level of advertising.I am not even sure I would call this book strategic communications writing.
The topics for journalism and public relations are presented in a very clear and organized manner. The chapters flow and have structure. They are presented in a manner that is easy to understand for the beginning student in this field.
This text is simple to follow and use. It is easy to connect to the videos that are used for examples. The videos are clear and short. The reader should not get confused with any examples that are related to the content.
The grammar is correct and basic. The examples given for mistakes are common with most students and clear to follow. The grammar is simple and word choices are easy.
There are no offensive or insensitive cultural content utilized in the content of this text. It is politically correct and non biassed. There are no stereotypes .All examples are clear and relevant.
The book is clear and easy to follow for an introductory level writing course in journalism and public relations writing.
As a broad, basic primer on communication in news, public relations and advertising the text provides a solid overview of contemporary rules and read more
As a broad, basic primer on communication in news, public relations and advertising the text provides a solid overview of contemporary rules and guidelines in these fields. Devoting a whole chapter to ethics is a bonus. What a teacher would have to add is how to do it, and do it well. For example, writing clear, simple messages to an audience is a main theme; just how the student is supposed to do that, such as using words of a single syllable as much as you can, isn't spelled out.
The author's done her homework. It's clear that she did a lot of research and made sure the text had no miscues.
Most of the case studies come from the past 1-2 years and are relevant to the topics being discussed.
Clear, simple language shows up throughout the text. No inside baseball, nor long-winded academic mush.
Very consistent. The main themes stated in the opening overview are referenced throughout the text.
Each chapter is about the same length, has the same number of pages and sections, with lots of subheads. A teacher could also move modules around; each is self-contained, yet still consistent with the main ideas and themes. It is a short book to base an entire semester on, but could work as the focus of the first quarter or half of a semester.
The progression works well: from broad overview of the field of strategic communication to the specific disciplines focused on different messages for different audiences.
The charts and other graphics are comprehensive but not too busy. The links to supplemental materials opened smoothly. One video in the copywriting section was missing. A couple of the videos that had music beds needed better balance, I think, with the voice track; the music tended to overpower the narration and was somewhat distracting.
No grammar or spelling issues appeared.
The images, videos and examples showed diversity, though most of the video commentary comes from people at the author's university or the immediate area.
More examples of good writing...and bad!...would be of great help to any instructor who might use this book. Some suggested exercises would be handy as well. But it's a very effective piece of work, a text that would give communication majors a solid foundation in strategic communication.
The information the author has included is very good, especially augmented as it is with videos. However, it is described as "a practical writing read more
The information the author has included is very good, especially augmented as it is with videos. However, it is described as "a practical writing guide for those interested in a public relations, marketing communication, or advertising career" and there is no chapter dedicated to marketing communication. The ethics chapter lacks information on protecting privacy and I think there should be a chapter on web writing. Also, in Chapter 11, the copywriting page still has "insert video" instead of the actual video.
The content appears to be accurate, error-fee and unbiased. It also seems to be very current.
The content is relevant and up-to-date, especially with its chapter on social media messaging. Necessary updates should be relatively easy to implement.
This is actually one of the book's best features. It not only describes how to write well, but also exemplifies how to write well.
Both the text and layout of chapters are internally consistent. The reader finds exactly what s/he expects to find.
The text would be easy to assign as smaller reading sections during the course.
There is definitely an internal logic to the organization/structure/flow to this text. It is clear and coherent.
The text is free of interface issues (with the exception of the mission video I mentioned previously). The navigation is simple and logical. Charts display beautifully.
I did not find grammatical errors, nor would I expect to with a writer of this quality.
I was impressed with the cultural relevance of the text. There is one example of Starbucks' campaign to initiate conversations about race and how the public reacted to that. Another example regarding Malaysian Airlines offered some international cultural relevance.
I would use this book for online strategic communication classes. I like its contents (though I would like to see more on marketing communication), its presentation and its videos.
This text is a brief introduction to the professional standards for and types of strategic communication careers. It covers a few of the most read more
This text is a brief introduction to the professional standards for and types of strategic communication careers. It covers a few of the most essential aspects of public relations and advertising to give students a sense of what they will need to know and be able to do to be prepared for these careers. I would like to see a bit more discussion of the important role that data plays in writing for PR, marketing, and advertising as well; perhaps outline and define the types of data professionals collect, analyze, and report in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of campaigns.
The content is accurate and incorporates some of the recent scholarship on PR and advertising and highlights recent industry trends.
The text makes use of recent examples, such as Trump's campaign and Volkswagen's emissions scandal. If the book is updated regularly, then it will remain relevant.
The book is well-written for undergraduate students in an introductory communication course. It is also written in a style that reflects the conventions and tone of professional communication.
Throughout the text, the content is presented using consistent format and voice. It would have been helpful to have activities or discussion questions more consistently throughout the chapters.
This textbook is organized into brief segments and each chapter is a clear, self-contained explanation of a writing style or career option. Thus chapters could be reordered or omitted to meet the needs of a given course.
The book is well organized in its current format, moving from essential specific writing skills to different career paths.
I appreciated that the book included links to examples, links to additional resources for more-indepth reading, and videos from professionals. One of the videos that covered copyrighting was missing at the time of this review (p. 65).
I did not see any grammatical errors.
The textbook covered a range of professional ethics violations, current events, PR successes and failures in different platforms, celebrities, and products as examples.
This book would be a good read for students in their first week or two of a PR, media relations, professional communication, or strategic communication program of study. It would be useful to students who are considering a career as a communication professional to help orient them to the skills they will need to develop throughout their coursework and internship experiences in college.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Chapter 1: Defining Strategic Communication
- What is strategic communication?
- Five tenets of strategic communication
- Skills needed in the strategic communication profession
- Jobs in strategic communication
Chapter 2: Media Writing--Conventions, Culture, and Style
- The role of media in American society
- Media culture and work environment
- The role of writing in strategic communication
- Media writing skills and characteristics
Chapter 3: Strategic Communication Ethics
- Ethics case study
- Code of ethics
- Conflict of interest
- Lack of transparency
- Misleading advertisements
- Corporate social responsibility
Chapter 4: News Value
- News value and the strategic communication professional
- News value types (Part 1)
- News value types (Part 2)
Chapter 5: News Writing Basics
- News story objective
- Types of news stories
- Inverted pyramid style
- Summary lead
- Body of the article
Chapter 6: Feature Writing
- The purpose of feature writing
- Feature writing versus traditional news writing
- Feature leads
- Feature article organization
- Feature writing devices
Chapter 7: Public Relations Industry
- What is public relations?
- Four models of public relations
- Why do companies need public relations?
- Public relations versus marketing versus advertising
- General roles in public relations
Chapter 8: Media Relations
- What is media relations?
- Working with journalists
- Pitching to the media
Chapter 9: Public Relations Writing
- The role of writing in public relations
- News writing versus public relations writing
- The press release
- Writing the press release
- Press release structure and format
- Press kit materials
Chapter 10: Social Media--Uses and Messaging
- What are social media?
- Social media characteristics
- The impact of social media in strategic communication industries
- Factors to consider before posting
- Creating social media messages
Chapter 11: Advertising Industry
- The role of advertising in society
- Job responsibilities in advertising
- Advertising campaign model: Social marketing
- Creative brief
Chapter 12: Creating a Writing Portfolio
- Why create a writing portfolio?
- Online versus hardcopy portfolios
- Writing portfolio content
- Other important points about the writing portfolio
About the Book
Good writing skills are important in today’s competitive work environment. This is especially the case for communication-related professions such as public relations, brand communication, journalism, and marketing. Writing for Strategic Communication Industries emphasizes practical application of academic inquiry to help readers improve their writing skills. This book gives readers:
- Straightforward chapters that use real-world examples to illustrate key points.
- Discussion of different writing styles and techniques.
- Examples of communication materials such as press releases, creative briefs, feature articles, and more.
- Embedded videos of insights from communication professionals.
- Tips on pitching to the media.
- A collection of popular sources for further explanation.
About the Contributors
Jasmine Roberts is a strategic communication lecturer in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. She teaches classes in public communication campaigns, writing for strategic communication, persuasive communication, and public speaking. Roberts earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies and Spanish at the University of Michigan and her master’s degree in communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has experience as a marketing and public relations professional for nonprofit, entertainment, and banking industries in the United States and Spain.
Roberts is also the contributing author of “Effective Public Speaking–A Top Hat Interactive Text.” Her current pedagogical interests include project-based learning and global education. She specifically enjoys assisting undergraduate students in applying theories and skills to real-world projects and problems.