All-female team will compete at state level of America250PA


Photo by Emma Federkeil

From left to right: Divine Kennedy, Sabrina Tatalias, Kayla Snyder and Brianna Farrand. Their collaborative project “PArt of Us” advanced to the state level of the America250PA competition.

Written By Hayley Keys, Co-News Editor

Point Park is sending an all-girl team to compete at the state level of America250PA. The team of Brianna Farrand, Kayla Snyder, Divine Kennedy and Sabrina Tatalias worked together to create a marketing plan for the Direct Effect Innovation Challenge (DEIC).

The DEIC is a competition where college students work to design and launch an integrated marketing campaign strategy. Point Park’s team is competing with other colleges and universities from Pennsylvania to be part of a state-wide campaign to celebrate America’s 250th birthday in 2026.

The University created their team by bringing together students from both the School of Communication and the Rowland School of Business. Farrand, a senior multimedia major, designed the logo and the direct mail piece, Snyder, a senior public relations and advertising major, worked to research the team’s target audience and how to effectively communicate their message, Tatalias, a sophomore information technology major, created the tech pieces for the team including a fully functioning website and Kennedy, a sophomore marketing and sales major, helped the team understand how to present their idea and how to encourage participation through sales tactics.

Snyder said she felt the teamwork was exceptional, especially since they had no history working together.

“We have such an interesting dynamic because we all care so much about this project and it’s not a regular group project for school,” Snyder said. “We have a great dynamic and that really shines through.”

Farrand also said she enjoyed working with students who had different backgrounds because it helped her be a better designer.

“It’s a really cool experience to work with people in different disciplines and trying to come up with a campaign that reaches so many people,” Farrand said.

Every team was required to create a potential direct mail piece that would be sent out to PA residents to bring awareness to the overall initiative.

Direct mail is a marketing effort that reaches a target audience through the postal service. It can be in the form of a traditional sale letter or even a brochure or newsletter. Snyder explained that the competition wanted to focus on this technique in order to educate students.

“They’re trying to push direct mail into college curriculum because it’s such an important piece that people are really hitting on because no one really knows about it,” Snyder said.

Point Park’s team created a campaign entitled, PArt of Us. Farrand said their goal was to showcase different parts of the state and encourage residents to participate in the initiative.

“We are trying to shed a positive light on Pennsylvania and really highlight what we love about it,” Farrand said. “We want all people to be able to be involved you know; their ideas and their stories are really a good representation of our values and all together help show that everyone is a part of us.”

The PArt of Us campaign features a direct mail piece that has a die cut pop up of the team’s logo, an interactive augmented reality element, QR barcodes and links to the team’s website.

The augmented reality will allow for recipients to drive an animated car along a road to learn about different places in PA and also enter for a chance to win a trip to different locations in the state.

Tatalias mentioned that her team also created a newsletter component, campaign posters, donation incentives, and a public service announcement video that would air on TV. She said she felt her team was unique compared to other schools because of their multiple components and their focus on the digital divide.

According to Tatalias, the team did face a setback when they were presented with a budget after the regional round of the competition.

“It was a few days ago, like right before we actually had to submit the project and they were like ‘you have a budget of $10,000’ and we were really worried about compromising the integrity of the project,” Tatalias said. “In the end we were able to work out everything and have all the pieces we wanted and still be able to send it out all the parts of the digital divide. I don’t know it just made me really proud of the project, I can’t wait to present it.”

The state competition will take place Nov. 19th in Wilkes-Barre PA. Farrand said she was feeling nervous but excited for the presentation.

“I’m pretty nervous knowing that there’s gonna be so many people there, but at the same time I feel very strongly in our concept,” Farrand said. “I think our team feels very connected to it and I think a lot of people are gonna benefit from it. Ultimately, I think we will hopefully be touching a lot of people and encouraging them to be involved and celebrate this. I’m excited.”

School of Communication Lecturer Camille Downing, a faculty advisor for the team, said that she is proud of the team and hopeful for their success at the state level.

“I think their concept is very strong based on what I saw at the regionals, and I think they have it down. I think the graphics are very good, I think the website is very good,” Downing said. “I have no doubt based on the personalities of these students and how hard they work that by the time they present to the 500 people and the governor, they’ll be completely prepared.”

Tatalias mentioned that her work on the project has helped her learn different skill sets, something she hopes will help her in the future with her career.

“Just being able to tie my experience in with the different elements is really important to me,” Tatalias said. “This is actually leading to me possibly getting an internship over the summer. I am just gaining so much experience that I can bring to the table when looking for jobs.”

Associate professor of Sales and Marketing, Dr. Dorene Ciletti another faculty advisor for the project, said this project is an example of the type of learning the university promotes.

“I think for Point Park, this is experiential learning at its best and this is what we want our students to do,” Ciletti said. “It’s more than just learning these concepts and theories in a classroom, it’s about actually putting them into practice.”