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Innovating the Future

Loyola’s School of Communication has embarked on a groundbreaking journey, pioneering the Faculty/Student Mentorship Awards. This initiative, celebrated for its forward-thinking approach, pairs  graduate students with faculty members to research and develop projects that are both timely and internationally focused.  

From addressing the environmental crises in the Pacific Islands to exploring the realms of AI in advertising, the 2024 awards have ignited a series of projects poised to redefine industry standards and academic excellence. 

Among the endeavors is Yesenia Rivera's collaboration with Professor Jing Yang, aimed at dissecting the impact of AI on creative learning and student well-being. Rivera, inspired by her experiences and the insights garnered at the Cannes Lions Festival 2023, is delving deep into how AI can revolutionize educational technologies.  

"Our study abroad class for digital innovations in advertising... was very intriguing, especially the thoughts shared on AI at the Cannes Lions Festival 2023," Rivera said. 

Her project, still in its infancy, seeks to bridge the knowledge gap surrounding AI's role in enhancing student performance and well-being. Rivera envisions her work as a cornerstone for future explorations in educational technology, hoping "to act as a source for other researchers and professionals who aim to discover the influence of such technologies." 

Jocelyn Correa's project, mentored by Professor Minjin Rheu, tackles the critical elements of AI in advertising essential for building consumer trust. 

 "Transparency...privacy...and ethical regulations for AI in advertising are critical," Correa said. 

Correa, MS Global Strategic Communication Class of 2024, with her class during a 2023 study abroad trip in Cannes, France.

Correa’s research involves interviewing industry professionals and educators on the use of AI in the advertising process and conducting a survey that explores consumers trust towards AI advertisements. Working with Rheu has not only aligned with Correa's vision but has also expanded her perspective and strengthened her curiosity on AI's role in advertising. Correa is determined to contribute to the ethical discourse surrounding AI, aspiring to demonstrate AI's potential to foster a supportive and equitable environment for professionals and consumers alike. Looking forward, Correa is excited to delve deeper into the intersection of AI and advertising, inspired by industry leaders at the Cannes Lions festival who view AI as a tool that enhances human capability, not replaces it.   

Adding a unique dimension to the awards is Marina Donahue's project, "The Angriest Generation," mentored by Professor Richelle Rogers. Donahue's project stems from her fascination with generational personalities and the pervasive anger observed across digital platforms.  

"This project came out of seeing so much anger and hate spread throughout the internet and news," Donahue explained, aiming to investigate if this anger correlates with generational differences.

Donahue, MS in Digital Media and Storytelling Class of 2024, speaker and award winner at last year's Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival 

Rogers' expertise in storytelling and data interpretation is pivotal in shaping Donahue's exploration into generational anger, driven by major global events and their impact on collective emotions. Donahue views this project as a stepping stone toward further research into generational differences, emphasizing the importance of authentic representation and creative data sourcing in capturing the emotions of an entire generation. 

The SOC Faculty/Student Mentorship Awards underscore the university's commitment to nurturing innovation and collaboration. Apart from Rivera, Correa, and Donahue, the awards also celebrate the achievements of other student-faculty pairs: Igor Batisti with Minjin Rheu on "Why Cultural Adaption and Crisis Communication Strategies Matter in Global Branding," Rose-Laure Bazile, Ryan Plecha, and Zipora Rocha with John Goheen on "The Kiribati Project." Each project, with its unique focus and potential for impact, not only enriches the academic community but also paves the way for significant advancements in their respective fields. Congratulations to all the inaugural winners, whose pioneering efforts are set to shape the future of communication, technology, and beyond.