Four Klein College of Media and Communication students made the semi-finals of the Washington Media Scholars Media Planning Case Study Competition. The competition's top 24 teams advanced from the qualifying round to the semi-finals. The top six teams from the semi-finals will advance to the final round with an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to battle for the National Excellence in Media Award and $16,000 in scholarships.

Two of the teams that advanced to the semi-finals are from Klein College. Jessica Mihalczo (KLN '20, advertising) and Raelie Mulvey (KLN '20, advertising and Spanish) form a more traditional team, whereas Marissa Pastre (KLN '19, advertising) and Rachel Berson (KLN '21, communication studies and political science) are a self-described non-traditional side.

Media planning professor Alison Ebbecke helped guide all four students throughout the process. Ebbecke serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Advertising at Klein College.

The semi-finals stage revolves around planning an extensive media plan for a fictional minor league baseball team. The semi-finalists were given background information for the fictional owner, the needs of the team, and more in order to develop a comprehensive plan.

"We'll be turning in a full media flowchart and calculating impressions, spreading out budgets by month, and coming up with a much larger rationale," Mihalczo said.

The qualifying round was based on the same concept but less involved. The groups had to find a target audience and select which media they would use to market the baseball team.

"It was pretty hands-on," Mulvey, Mihalczo's partner, said. "Having to spend money and justify it is something that you have to do in all the time in advertising. It felt good to have to come up with that rationale."

Mihalczo and Mulvery are excited at the prospect of going to Washington D.C., a place Mihalczo has never visited before.

"Me and my partner Rae are really excited. She's one of the best people I've ever worked in a group with," she said.

Pastre is hopeful about her and Mulvey's chances of advancing but noted her unconventional team. Pastre is not a media planner but concentrates on advertising and brand strategy. Berson double-majors in political science and communication studies.

"We're doing our best, but we're an unconventional team. We're either going to have an edge because of it, or we won't," she said.

Pastre said that while she and Berson don't work with the other team, both sides have provided assistance at one point or another. Pastre is friends with Mihalczo and they are on the National Student Advertising Competition in the Department of Advertising team together.

Berson's political science background has helped when taking into account the political parts of the project, such as budgeting and the fictional team's relations with the city, but she feels as though she is "out of her league" in some ways.

"I feel like it took me a little while, and I was playing catch-up for a little while to catch up with all of the media terms," she said.

Still, she feels like she has a solid shot to make the trip to D.C.

"We've definitely put work into this project. It's been hard for Marissa and I because of our schedules and we have so many other commitments and we've been busy. I think we've been able to come up with something that is a very solid contender for the scholarship," she said.

No matter what, she's proud of what her and Pastre have done.

"I hope that we end up in D.C., but if not, I'm very happy with where I am right now with this."