Auburn University

Fall 2014 Winners - #NASCARNOISE

Catherine Watson

Catherine Watson

Catherine Watson graduates from Auburn University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations. During her time at Auburn, Catherine was the Online Editor for the campus newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, providing her with both journalism and social media experience. Considering herself to be a PR-journalism hybrid, Catherine hopes to work in publishing post-graduation. Her passions include writing, editing, photography, graphic design and working with people. In the future, Catherine plans to attend graduate school as the next step in becoming a certified professor. In her free time, Catherine enjoys the outdoors, good food and traveling.

“Working with FOX Sports was like walking on the moon. The experience proved to be life-changing and has opened so many doors for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

“The competition was stiff. Our group was sort of the underdogs because we barely knew each other. Words cannot describe how proud I am of this campaign’s outcome.”

“The project was 100 percent hands-on. We were able to have total freedom of our campaign, which was a first for me. This opportunity truly jump-started my professional career, and now I feel ready for anything.”

Lillian Parker

Lillian Parker

Lillian Parker is a Montgomery, Alabama native and December 2014 Auburn University graduate with degrees in public relations and Spanish. This spring she will work as an event planner and program director for the City of Auburn’s Parks and Recreation department. With passions for civic engagement, education and all things cheerful, Lillian aims to use her diverse communication skills, sense of humor and originality to pursue community-based involvements wherever she goes. Professionally, Lillian hopes to perform in-house public relations for philanthropic organizations and one day to manage her own PR practice.

 “The opportunity to produce a real product for a real client pushed me from thinking of our group’s work as just a class assignment to seeing it for what is was– my first chance to be a professional.”

“This project came full circle for me. In the beginning, none of us knew much about NASCAR much less how to engage viewers our age. By the end, I felt truly confident in my knowledge of the sport and our campaign’s effectiveness.”

“Through collaborating with my peers and my superiors throughout this campaign, I have earned invaluable experience in working as a team to accomplish a goal.”

“I have never enjoyed public speaking as much as I did in our final presentation. This project allowed me finally to synchronize my skills, and we came out on top. I am proud to see how far I’ve come.”​

Chelsea Zilner

Chelsea Zilner

Chelsea Zillner graduated from Auburn University in December 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a Minor in Business. During her time on The Plains, Chelsea was a member of the equestrian team where she helped the Tigers reach two national championships and an SEC Championship. Interning for the athletics department cultivated an even deeper passion for sports and the athletes behind the jersey. Chelsea plans to pursue a career in sport’s broadcast or journalism. A Kansas native, Chelsea enjoys being a self-proclaimed barbecue critic, keeping up with college sports, and the occasional sky dive.

“What a great opportunity to bring the real word into the classroom; i can’t imagine a more engaging and fun project.”

“NASCAR and FOXSports U really gave us the opportunity to think outside the box and make this project our own.”

“This project went above and beyond my expectations, it’s special when such well respected organizations like your ideas; not many college students can say they had this experience.”

Chelsea Roadman

Chelsea Roadman

Chelsea Roadman is an Auburn University public relations graduate from Melbourne, Fla.  Specializing in business branding, social media management and campaign creation, Roadman has already taken the communications industry by a storm. Currently employed as Auburn University’s Parking Services Public Relations Manager and Brand Developer, she is thrilled to be fulfilling a position specially created for her to re-brand the department and re-design its communication efforts. Roadman’s future endeavors are far from undefined. She’s already working toward creating a company of her own. Envisioning a panel of multi-industry experts, Roadman dreams of leading the team to do or renew business and campaign branding. 

“I’m honored to have experienced the privilege of engaging in this incredible opportunity to work with FOX Sports 1 for NASCAR’s goal to increase audience engagement.”

​​“The most difficult part of the process was harnessing our drive.”

“Most impacting result from this project? I’m now a NASCAR fan!”

Whitney Jones

Whitney Jones

Whitney plans on looking for both in-house and agency public relations jobs around the Gulf Coast and out West in Colorado and Montana. Her career goals are to work in the travel/tourism and outdoor lifestyle PR sector. Whitney loves promoting the concept of a destination and increasing the tourism and exposure of a location. Intertwining with her passion for the outdoors, she hopes to work with outdoor lifestyle and sports companies and brands in her career. Being able to work in a field she has a personal connection would be an amazing opportunity to her. Camping, hiking, fishing and competitively showing horses are a few of Whitney’s passions she tries to do as much as she can when she has free time.

“This campaign helped me realize my love for public relations- I was able to help make an abstract concept become a complete PR proposal for NASCAR and Fox Sports 1. Being able to make our idea become a reality was the most exciting part of this project.”

“We were allowed so much freedom to create just about anything we wanted. It was an awesome experience being able to take the reins and give this campaign all we had.  I feel like this project has prepared me for my professional PR career.”

“Fox Sports 1 was so helpful and encouraging with all the ideas we presented to them. They really supported our creativity and work we did.”


Fall 2014 Project Description

Auburn University’s ADPR program and FOX Sports partnered together for the first time in the fall of 2014. Students were tasked with developing creative ways to reach viewers in the 18-34-year-old range with differentiated messaging and branding to connect with this demographic.




Professor Profile

Brigitta R. Brunner, Ph.D.

Brigitta R. Brunner, Ph.D.

Brigitta R. Brunner, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University.  She has served as the associate director for the Public Relations Program, Plank Center for Leadership Educator Fellow, College of Liberal Arts Engaged Scholar, Imagining America Research Fellow, Auburn University Provost’s Fellow, Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow, and Journalism and Mass Communication Leadership in Diversity Program Fellow.

She has been on faculty at Auburn since 2002 and teaches public relations courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Brunner earned her B.A. in marketing communications at Juniata College (1993), her M.A. in communication at Auburn University (1995), and her Ph.D. in mass communication with a concentration in public relations at the University of Florida (2000).

Her research interests include public relations education, diversity, civic professionalism, and civic engagement.  Brunner is the author/co-author of 26 refereed journal articles.  Some of her work can be seen in Public Relations Review, The Internet and Higher Education, Teaching Public Relations Monographs, PRism, and Learning, Media, and Technology.  Brunner has also presented more than 50 research presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.

She was selected as the Winner of the Inaugural Public Relations Society of America Health Academy and Quinnipiac University Faculty Paper Competition in 2009, and she also won a Public Relations Council of Alabama Medallion Award Certificate of Merit in 2010, a PRCA Medallion Award of Excellence in 2013, and Southern Public Relations Federation Medallion Award of Excellence in 2013.  She was named the PRCA Educator of the Year in April 2013, and she received the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication PR Division’s SuPRstar award for Outreach in August 2013. Most recently, Brunner was honored at the AEJMC annual conference in Montreal, August 2014, with a Council of Affiliates of AEJMC Third Annual Industry Research Forum Award for her work in civic professionalism.

Brunner frequently uses service-learning, civic engagement, and civic professionalism in her classes and works with community partners to develop solutions to local issues.  She is a member of the Imagining America Undergraduate Research consortium and works with colleagues around the country on matters related to civic professionalism through funding from the  Teagle Foundation for “Civic Professionalism: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education.”  She is also a co-director for the Academy for Civic Professionalism at Auburn University and will be co-directing the new Institute for Civic Professionalism and Leadership in spring 2015.

Brunner’s involvement in professional service includes having chaired the Public Relations Division of the Southern States Communication Association and the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association.  She serves as Chair of the AEJMC PR Division’s Membership Committee.  She is currently directing a new mentoring initiative for members of the AEJMC PR Divisions.  She has previously held the positions of vice-chair, vice-chair elect, and secretary of the Public Relations Division of NCA and Four-year College/University Representative to NCA for SSCA. She serves as a vice president for the local Public Relations Council of Alabama chapter and as a board member of the Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental, which is Alabama’s only RIF program.

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