Student Spotlight: Mackenzie MacNeal (’18)

By: Margaret Scott (’18)

Mackenzie MacNeal is a Frame Your Future blogger who is currently studying abroad in Australia. She took some time out of her travels to answer some questions about her experience so far.

mackenzie for student spotlight in sydney

Mackenzie in Sydney, Australia.

What are you currently studying as your major and minor? 

My major is Ad/PR, and minors are Political Science, Comprehensive Social Sciences, and History.

What are you involved with when you are on Marywood’s campus?

I am an event assistant at Campus Ministry, blogger for Frame Your Future, content writer and contributing editor for Odyssey, tutor at the Writing Center, ambassador for Catholic Relief Services, or CRS, volunteer at Big Friends Little Friends, and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America as well as the American Advertising Federation. I have also been a participant and leader for two Alternative Break Service Trips to West Virginia and Tennessee and Campus Ministry Representative for Student Government Association.

What has been your favorite class taken while studying abroad?

Media Relations is currently my favorite class while studying abroad at Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia. There are two professors for the course, one for the lecture portion of the course and the other for the workshop part of the course. The lecturer reviews topics that I am actually pretty acquainted with as a result of taking Newswriting with Dr. Wotanis at Marywood.

In addition to reviewing textbook material, the lecturer brings in CEOs and innovators of different charities or products, and they give the class information on the happenings within their business. In return, my peers and I write media releases using the material the speaker provided. My workshop professor is also incredible and really pushes me to think of the logistical side of writing for the media. Our final project is to organize a media conference for the charity of our choice, which will be quite a bit of work but a great learning experience.

mackenzie student spotlight brisbane

Mackenzie (second from left) and friends visiting Brisbane.

How has this class helped you in your major?

Media Relations abroad has really helped me see the different angles of news stories. Headlines in the United States reflect a different sentiment than headlines in Australia despite the content within the articles or media releases revolving around the same subject. Different news values are emphasized in different parts of the world to tell the same story. In Advertising and Public Relations, I will need to maintain a favorable public image for a charity, brand, candidate or business. In order to do this, it is important for me to know who I want to appeal to, how I can reach them, and what media will allow me to get my message to them. There is no one-size-fits-all method and this class is helping me extend my skill set to write media releases and news articles in accordance with audience values, expectations and perspectives.

What has the experience abroad been like so far?

Incredible! There is never a dull moment. I have gotten lost more times than I care to admit, but the weather is beautiful, so I do not mind the extra time wandering! I had no idea a month could go by so quickly, but I am very thankful for every second I have and will spend here.

mackenzie student spotlight beach clean up

Mackenzie (far right) taking part in a beach cleanup in Australia.

What advice would you give a student in the Comm Arts Department who is considering study abroad?

Do it. Start the study abroad process early in the semester and work out what you want to get out of your experience before you go. It is an overwhelming process, but it all pieces together and soon enough you are heading to an entire world unbeknownst to you.


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Margaret Scott is a junior Advertising/Public Relations major. In her free time, she enjoys being a DJ for 91.7 VMFM and taking part in  Marywood’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.

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