Jessica Branks, News Writer • firstname.lastname@example.org
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On February 24, 2018, the Emory & Henry Mass Communications department will be hosting a competition for the Middle Appalachian High School Media Association (MAHSMA).
MAHSMA is a newly-formed association of 449 high schools within a 200-mile radius of E&H that are engaging with mass media through radio, TV, newspapers, and yearbooks. The goal with this association is to support local schools and try to bring more attention (and subsequently more funding) to the work that they’re doing.
The head of the Mass Communications department, Dr. Mark Finney explained, “Appalachia is traditionally an underserved region, right, and so we really want to provide resources for the teachers and the students in the region that will enable them to continue to do great work.” This support will take the form of content and lessons the college will provide to these schools throughout the year, in addition to the MAHSMA competition in February.
Finney also said, “We will award five scholarships as rewards for achievement at the competition in February, and these are interesting scholarships. They are $2,000 renewable scholarships for four years. So, a winner could get up to an $8,000 scholarship with this by renewing.” A student would be eligible for renewal depending on their activity and leadership within the E&H Mass Communications department.
MAHSMA is considered an affinity bonding program, and thus is being organized in conjunction with the E&H Admissions Office. “The Mass Comm program has been doing this for years and years. Our EHCTV, our Whitetopper–these are already existing affinity programs that we’ve just been doing because it works for us,” Finney said. Affinity bonding programs like these exist to help students find support from mentors and peers, and to help boost rates of student retention at the college.
If MAHSMA is successful, it will help expand the E&H Mass Communications department. Finney explained, “expanding enables us to make a case for hiring new faculty, and that means that we’re able to offer new and different parts of the field”. This could include more coverage of topics such as public relations, strategic communication, and enhanced digital media.
The Middle Appalachian High School Media Association will be a valuable addition to both the Mass Communications department and the region. While MAHSMA is a recruiting tool, Finney also said that it helps us to make more connections in the community. “Emory & Henry has a strong community focus, so this enables us to do that.”