Class was in session on a Friday afternoon in April but not in the usual way. Students in an Event and Media Planning course worked all semester to plan and organize their Cyber Security Speaker Series, an event open to the College campus and community, and April 12 was the day they saw their hard work pay off.

“I was very pleased to see their hard work had a positive impact not only for the students but also the community,” explains Mary Jo Slater, Associate Professor of Office Technology, the instructor for both the Event and Media Planning course and Social Media course.

As the semester began in January and students started to plan their project, a partnership grew between those in Event and Media Planning course and a social media course as well as with faculty and staff members.  The Speaker Series created a unique educational experience, allowing students to learn hands-on how to plan, execute and promote an event as well as work with various departments on campus.   

“The most rewarding part is the connections made during the planning process and during the event,” says Ruth Farrow, a current office technology major.

Since the students did not have a budget for the event, they brainstormed for ideas on how to find speakers as well as advertise the event. When Carl Dennis, Assistant Professor, Cyber Security, at CCBC, suggested cyber security as the topic, the collaboration started to happen.

“I always look for ways to work together with other faculty so that students can be engaged in relevant projects and I wanted to make the businesses in the region, students, novices, and entrepreneurs aware of the importance in securing data and computers against hackers,” explains Dennis.

Dennis was able to use his connections in the industry to find speakers; however, the students still needed a way to advertise the event for free. With the help from the social media course, they promoted the event through Twitter, using a hashtag (#CCBCSpeakerSeries); the class’s blog; and Facebook.

“Working without a budget was very challenging,” explains Kris Clingerman, an office technology major. She continues, “We had to find ways to advertise for free.”

With the combined efforts, almost ninety individuals attended the event, a result that surprised the students and provided them with a new challenge.

“I learned to expect the unexpected,” explains Shawn Petrell, a culinary arts management major, after hearing the morning of the event that 20 to 30 more people would be attending.

“The most rewarding part of planning the event was seeing that it was a big success,” says Kathleen Tinlin, who majors in media communications.  

Alanna Coffey, a human resources management major, agrees with Kathleen. “Seeing how many people showed up and seeing all our hard work come together was very rewarding.”

By the end of the afternoon, the students might have been worn out but they all shared the same thought.

“I loved being able to plan this event,” says Brett Kaminski, who majors in human resource management. “It was a lot of fun and a great experience.”

The second installment of the Speaker Series happens in the fall on October 18 and features a continued focus on information technology, including the topics of e-discovery and big data. Follow #CCBCSpeakerSeries for updates throughout the summer.