Samantha Santana

Briefly describe your applied learning experience: 

My research investigates and analyzes the current social media marketing techniques employed by the English Department of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. From that analysis, the help of Dr. Anirban Ray, and an empirical case study, my research addresses and solves departmental faculty concerns in static departmental graduate enrollment rates for the English Department. 

How did you get involved in this applied learning experience and what did you hope to gain from it?: 

My DIS research project is actually a continuation from a similar project conducted in my Writing For Business course with Dr. Anirban Ray. Being the English Major that I am, the department truly holds a special place in my heart so when I was told that our class assignment was to create a social media marketing campaign for the department, I was beyond excited. So excited in fact, I continued the project into what is now my DIS.

It is my hope that by creating an effective social media strategy for the English Department, more students can see the versatility of the degree and the many wonderful people you get to meet in Morton Hall. 

What did you gain from this experience? What was challenging? What did you learn?: 

Through the project, I’ve learned things about myself I would not have otherwise known. For instance, I realize that I am fully capable of promoting an entire department in order to increase enrollment. I learned that social media marketing is much more in depth than simply posting a company status update on Facebook—no, social media marketing is much more involved. For instance, Facebook is just one channel but within it, there exists numerous promotion tools. Breaking down each tool on each social media avenue and then comparing those to the marketing goals is just the basic foundation. Simply put, social media marketing is much more complex, analytic, and data-centric than what first meets the eye. 

In what way will this experience make you a more viable candidate when you are seeking a job or applying for graduate study?: 

I am so thankful that I was not only able to conduct my research but also allowed to create an empirical case study utilizing the English Department’s social media pages. It takes a lot of trust to allow a student to gain access and control a department’s social media pages. I can truly say that the firsthand and real world experience has definitely made this project an enriching learning opportunity. The real world experience will lend well to any future communication/digital marketing jobs I apply to in the near future. And, with my graduating in May, I believe that will be sooner rather than later.