User experience students were able to hear their projects come to life with an interactive assignment in collaboration with MSOE’s radio station WMSE.

Humanities, Social Science and Communication (HSC) Department faculty members Drs. Tammy Rice-Bailey and Candela Marini challenged students in their Foundations of Communication Design and Freshman Studies II classes to choose a local non-profit and write a public service announcement (PSA) highlighting the organizations.

New this year, students teamed up with WMSE to record their PSAs and broadcast them on the air. The partnership with WMSE emerged from a brainstorming session that the CREATE Institute ran for the HSC Department with the goal to integrate the MSOE Mindset into the classroom.

“It’s great to have students in the studio, hear their voices on the recordings and get them involved in the station,” said Tom Crawford, WMSE station manager. “This is the first curricular activity of its type that the station has been involved in.”

Groups of students chose a range of local non-profit organizations to promote including Alice’s Garden, Common Ground, Safe and Sound, Walnut Way, Woof Gang Rescue and ZIP MKE.

Bailey Wikoff, a senior majoring in technical communication, and her partner chose Sojourner Family Peace Center, an organization that provides education, advocacy and resources to keep families safe from domestic violence.

“I researched Sojourner Family Peace Center and decided to focus my PSA on their Holiday Giving Tree which helps families impacted by domestic violence by giving them gifts from their wish lists,” said Wikoff.

While the students had previous experience creating ad campaigns comprised of billboards, print ads or TV commercial storyboards, PSAs were a new ballpark for students. “It was challenging to do an audio-based project. It was difficult not being able to fall back on visuals, so I focused more on choosing the right music and right tone to read it in,” said Wikoff.

Crawford and his team began airing the students’ PSAs on WMSE radio 91.7 FM in November and will continue to air them throughout the year.

“I’m excited to hear it on the radio!” said Wikoff. “I think it’s really cool that I will have something that was actually broadcasted on an actual radio station. It’s also something I can add to my portfolio that will really stand out,” said Wikoff.

Rice-Bailey was proud of her students’ hard work and impressed with how they turned out. “I have only heard one PSA to date. It was amazing! Tom and his crew did a fantastic job producing the PSAs with my students.”  

Listen to the PSAs here: