Keuka College Students Take Their Marketing Skills to the Community

Students use a Strategic Marketing Capstone Project to develop ways to boost the brand of a local non-profit agency.

Monday, August 1, 2022

 “Create a Strong Sense of Community.”

That’s one of Keuka College’s shared values. It’s also one of the many benefits of a unique partnership that saw Keuka College marketing students collaborate with a local non-profit agency.

The initiative was the brainchild of Assistant Professor of Marketing Kim DeRuby, who created a Capstone Project for her Strategic Marketing students that enabled them to serve as real-life marketing consultants. They were tasked with building a pair of marketing plans for Mozaic, the largest provider of services for persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in the Finger Lakes.

“This was a mutually beneficial partnership meant to foster education through community involvement and experiential learning,” said Prof. DeRuby. “It was a win-win by providing a unique educational opportunity for the students and executable action plans for Mozaic.”

The semester-long project saw students develop marketing plans on two fronts.

One group of students tackled employer branding, which encompasses strategies to enable a company to position itself as an employer of choice to better attract and retain talented staff.

The second focused on Mozaic’s Arctic Gear brand of winter hats and accessories. Mozaic manufactures Arctic Gear products at Finger Lakes Textiles, the commercial textile factory it owns in Waterloo. The plant employs workers at all levels of ability.

The students were provided plenty of background on Mozaic’s operations and leadership, as well as tours of its facilities. The chance to practice their skills in a real-world setting was not only educational but personally satisfying, they said.

“Working alongside Mozaic and Arctic Gear on this project was a dream opportunity to utilize my knowledge in a meaningful way,” said Maisey Pautz ’22, a management major with a concentration in marketing. “The experience was extremely rewarding personally and I will continue to reference the information gained throughout my professional career.”

The students spent weeks researching and developing their presentations before making end-of-semester presentations. Mozaic leaders were able to ask questions and provide feedback.

“I learned that it’s extremely important to collaborate with a group efficiently,” said Caitlin Loving ’22, a management major with a concentration in sports management. “It took a team to pull apart information and data to be able to come up with recommendations that we saw best for the area of change. This was an experience I won’t forget!”

Experiential learning has a long history at Keuka College, where students engage in annual Field Period® experiences that allow them to roll up their sleeves while expanding their knowledge and building their resumes. And as Prof. DeRuby’s capstone project shows, there’s always room for new variations.

“This opportunity to work with Mozaic provided me with real-life situations and projects that helped prepare me for my future goals,” said Management major William Gross ’23. “This was one of my favorite classes of my college career!”

And if the project also reinforces the College’s values, that’s yet another victory.

“This was a true community partnership,” said Keuka College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Fuster. “A win-win-win for all!”