Many of us may recall the ‘what did I do on my summer vacation’ essay question at the beginning of the school year. For 17 graduate students in our Digital Media and Corporate and Organizational Communication programs, the summer break was an opportunity to do something very consequential.

With the guidance of our digital marketing expert and instructor, Christina Inge, they designed a brand identity and website for our Virtual PR Firm (VPRF).


How did we get here?


Dr. Ed Powers

As Professor Ed Powers noted in a prior blog post, we’ve just completed the first year of our VPRF educational model. The VPRF’s mission is to provide students with next-level experiential learning by offering key public relations courses in sequence, working with the same sponsoring organizations over a six-month period, and leveraging HubSpot Academy’s resources and marketing platform.

The results of this learning process were impressive. “I think the students were superb,” said Dr. Jared Auclair, Director of Northeastern’s Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory and a project sponsor, “They produced really high-quality work that was at the level of a professional services firm.”


Creating our virtual agency, Husky Communications


The challenge for our team of 17 students this summer was two-fold.

The first was to give the VPRF concept a brand identity. Our aim was to create a place to showcase student work, both now and in the future, as more students embark on this unique learning journey. The student team accepted the challenge with aplomb. The end product: A compelling, informative website that conveys the capabilities of our student-run agency, named Husky Communications. 

The second challenge was all about team dynamics. How do 17 individuals with different skill sets and cultural backgrounds find a way to collaborate virtually to produce a top-notch site in less than eight weeks? They more than exceeded expectations. For many of the team members, that was, perhaps, the most valuable takeaway of this summer’s experiential project.


So, what did you do during your summer break?


Here’s how some of the team members described their experience.

Khusboo Gulabani: “Working for Husky Communications has been a great learning experience, an opportunity to enhance  my teamwork and collaboration skills, and made me more end to end. I especially enjoyed working on the communication, content, and SEO parts of the project”


Priyanka Shankar: “This project was an opportunity for me to apply my skills and knowledge to develop real-world digital products, while learning from the other team members. It was my first work experience in the United States, and I was delighted to work with a team of students from varied cultural and educational backgrounds, guided by instructors who are experts in digital marketing.”

Abhinav Tyagi: “I was able to apply my User Experience (UX) and web design skills in building a website from scratch. But more that, by operating in an ‘agile environment’ to meet tough deadlines, I learned so much about making decisions, conflict management, leading team meetings, and iteration sprints.”


A learning process…for all seasons


Over the next few months, a new cohort of both graduate and undergraduate students (in our new BS in Digital Communications and Media bachelor’s completion program) will take on the roles of account executives and client engagement managers in Husky Communications. We look forward sharing their work and their reflections.

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Faculty