Graduate Student wins grand prize for case study

Graduate Student wins grand prize for case study

A UA graduate student added prestige to her resume and $5,000 to her bank account last week when she won the grand prize of the Arthur W. Page Society’s 2012 Corporate Communications Case Study competition.

Jessica Carlton wrote a case study on ExxonMobil’s controversial method of extracting fuels, known as hydraulic fracturing. The competition, which had 50 entries this year, brings in students from all over the nation.

“I was shocked," Carlton said. "This case study competition draws over 50 fantastic entries from masters and doctoral students across the globe, including a wonderful entry from my fellow graduate student, Carleton Rafield. So, I was elated to win and humbled to be in such good company and judged by such good company.”

Carlton is majoring in advertising and public relations and will be graduating in August. She has always been interested in how organizations handle controversy and found this issue to be a great opportunity to address a debatable topic.

“I think ethics in communication is one of the most fundamental issues of our field," Carlton said. "And learning from these specific cases is such an important tool for both students and professionals.”

Working with Carlton throughout her case study was her teacher and advisor Bruce Berger, a professor of advertising and public relations.

“Jessica did virtually this entire project on her own. We met several times to talk about the structure of the case — what contents ought to be considered for inclusion, writing tone and so forth. These were less issues and more just clarification," Berger said. “Jessica is an excellent, serious student who is disciplined, collegial, easy to work with and a most promising young professional.”

Carlton worked on the case study from October to January, including many hours during the holiday season and outside of class. Carlton was recognized at an awards dinner on March 22 in New York City by the Arthur W. Page Society.

“As someone who is looking for a job in public relations, this case study has a tremendous connection with my professional life," Carlton said. "Ethics in communication is an essential part of adding value to your workplace."

At the awards dinner, UA student Carleton Rafield took third prize in the communications schools category. Rafield wrote a case study on how Phusion Projects deals with government agencies, parents and media after the controversy following the release of their alcoholic energy drink Four Loko in 2008. Berger was also recognized at the dinner and received $1,500.

“Dr. Berger's guidance and leadership on this project was absolutely invaluable," Carlton said. "He is a great mentor and one of the smartest minds in the public relations world.”


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