Penn State University

Spring 2018 Winners

Nicole Abunassar

Nicole Abunassar

Nicole Abunassar graduated in Spring 2018 from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations as well as degrees in Business & the Liberal Arts and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Following graduation, Nicole plans to launch a career in Public Relations, with a focus on social media marketing and crisis communications. Prior to the launch of her career, she plans to return to Nicaragua for her second volunteer trip with Outreach 360, teaching English to young schoolchildren. Along with teaching, Nicole’s personal interests include international travel, photography, and jazz music.

FOX Sports University provided us with the unique opportunity to bring together all of the skills we’ve learned throughout our years at Penn State to create a viable public relations campaign.

This project presented us with some of the biggest creative challenges we’ve come across thus far and it allowed us to hone in on our skills to design a one-of-a-kind campaign.

FOX Sports University allowed us to challenge ourselves creatively, strategically and analytically. This project gave us the chance to prove to ourselves that we can design an effective campaign from top to bottom.

Kristen Topoleski

Kristen Topoleski

Kristen Topoleski recently graduated from Penn StateUniversity in May 2018 with a double major in Public Relations and Labor Employment Relations. Kristen will be working in the recruiting department at BNY Mellon in their Pittsburgh location. Kristen is focusing her career in Human Resources, but plans on incorporating her communications and PR knowledge she learned from school and participating in FOX Sports University to help her in her career. For personal interests, Kristen enjoys hanging out with friends and family and traveling to new places.

Fox Sports U gave us a real world opportunity to come up with a campaign to promote FS1.

Fox Sports U challenged us to use our PR knowledge and create a successful campaign.

It gave me insight of what I could be in the future and different techniques and skills I would need.

Taylor Donahue

Taylor Donahue

Taylor Donahue recently graduated from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. She also has two minors in Political Science and Business in the College of the Liberal Arts. Taylor is currently searching for an entry-level position in communications, marketing, or advertising sales within the sports, lifestyle, entertainment, or hospitality industries.

I gained a unique amount of real world marketing experience within a classroom setting.

I loved working as a team to develop creative strategies to target the demographic of Big Ten men’s basketball fans. This opportunity presented an exciting challenge to increase viewership of Big Ten men’s basketball games on FS1 and I’m grateful to have participated.


Spring 2018 Project Description

With FOX Sports’ acquisition of Big Ten Basketball rights, Penn State students were challenged to create a marketing campaign that drives awareness for Big Ten Basketball on FS1 and positions FOX Sports as the go-to network for College basketball.


Professor Profile

Renea Nichols

Renea Nichols

Renea Nichols is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Penn State Donald P. Bellisario College of Communication where she teaches public relations writing, campaigns and diversity in communication courses in the AD/PR Department. Her students at both Arizona State University where she began her teaching career in 1996 and Penn State have received national awards from PRSA, IABC, PRSSA and Rolling Stone magazine for their public relations campaigns completed as part of her writing and campaign courses.

In addition to her course load in the AD/PR Department, she also teaches a special seminar course each fall for the University Education Equity and Inclusion Office, assisting more than 70 first-year scholars from underrepresented populations to make a successful transition to college. She oversees nearly 400 hours of community service performed by new scholars each fall. In addition, Renea teaches a large lecture course on Race and Gender in the Media, tackling issues and impact of representations across media channels.

Her abundance of practical public relations experience includes public relations positions with the City of Phoenix, U-Haul International, Arizona Special Olympics and the ASU Alumni Association. She has served as a public relations consultant to many top public relations agencies in Arizona. With a background in journalism, she has worked for daily newspapers in Michigan, Maryland and Ohio as a reporter. She is a member of AEJMC. 

Renea has authored four books on interracial dating and multi-racial populations and appeared in national news media discussing the subjects. She spends her free time working in the community. She sits on the advisory board of the Centre County Youth and Children Services and Interfaith Human Services. In addition, she is a partner and co-founder of FITOLOGY, a research-based group fitness studio in State College. She is also strong advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness and diversity, spending a lot of her time educating others and/or teaching in this area. 

Renea is active on social media, tweeting and blogging about issues in public relations, diversity, Alzheimer’s and fitness.

In May 2017, Renea became a grandmother and looks forward to her daily FACE TIME and spending holiday breaks with her new grandson, Quinn and daughter, Danni.


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