Brett Burger, Quinn Anderson and Haley Anderson.

When all eyes turned to Minnesota in February to watch the Eagles take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Winona State University’s Mass Communication alumni were there on the sidelines to make sure this momentous event was a touchdown for everyone involved.

Kaitlin Hughes, a 2010 WSU alumna, had the unique opportunity to collaborate on planning and design for the Kitten Bowl for Hallmark Channel.

“As a football fan and cat lover, I’ve had so much fun being part of the team that put together the Kitten Bowl at Super Bowl Live for the Hallmark Channel,” said Hughes, who serves as Account Manager and Graphic Designer for CLAMOR in Minneapolis.

Hughes said she enjoyed the opportunity to connect with different local vendors, producers and designers, and also learned a lot about environmental design through working on the Kitten Bowl.

Kaitlin Hughes

Hughes is proud to have had a hand in a project that will lead to the adoption of kittens in need of homes, kittens she had the pleasure of working with.

“I’m so grateful to have a job that keeps me busy while helping me feel fulfilled,” said Hughes.

At Mall of America, a team of WSU graduates pitched in to support Super Bowl madness, handling everything from media inquiries to community relations to social media.

According to Public Relations Coordinator Brett Burger, Mall of America was a natural partner with an event the size and stature of the Super Bowl.

“We’re a huge space—5.6 million square feet. We have two hotels attached, over 520 retailers, over 50 different dining options,” said Burger. “We have a lot to offer guests and visitors to Minnesota.”

Burger said his day-to-day job intensified as Super Bowl Sunday approached. “My regular work was heightened and multiplied. In December we slowly started getting requests from affiliate news networks who would be here for the Super Bowl. Then all of a sudden in January we were fielding dozens of media requests each day.”

Burger, who graduated from WSU in 2016 with degrees in Mass Communication and Theatre, would typically spend Super Bowl Sunday enjoying game day snacks and commercials. But this year, Burger spent the big day assisting thousands of football fans checking in to the mall as their security checkpoint.

Haley Anderson, another 2016 Mass Communication graduate who works at Mall of America, also enjoyed the hustle and excitement of hosting the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

“Every time I thought I was ready for it to be over with, I just reminded myself that I’ll probably never get to do this again and that snapped me right back into loving every second of it,” said Anderson, who currently serves as an intern at MOA and will join the team full-time in March as Community Relations Coordinator.

Quinn Anderson is the newest WSU alumna to join the MOA family. The 2017 graduate serves as the mall’s Social Media Specialist, using skills and strategies she learned during her college career to communicate with mall guests and share events and information via MOA’s social media platforms.

“Seeing all of the hard work every single team member at the Mall has been contributing to get ready for the Super Bowl and seeing it all come together… it’s just hard to not smile the entire time I’m at work,” Anderson said. “It’s great seeing everyone come together and knowing the hard work has paid off!”

Brett Burger meeting Idina Menzel at one of the Super Bowl LIVE Festivities.

The opportunity to work on a large-scale event of national significance so early in their careers was not lost on these young alumni.

“One of my bosses kept saying how awesome it is that we’re so new to the field and we get to work on a huge event like this,” Burger added. “I know I’m fortunate that Winona State and the Mass Communication program prepared me so much for this position. I learned so many skills and techniques that I really do use every day with my position at Mall of America.”

The department of Mass Communication at Winona State University is comprised of four programs: AdvertisingJournalismPublic Relations, and Creative Digital Media. Each year the department graduates 70 students who have gained hands-on, real life experience working with professional clients on campaigns, publications and productions. Students enjoy access to creative work spaces, a professional TV studio, on campus radio station, audio lab, a dark room and a transmedia “makerspace” lab. Faculty are engaged in advancing student learning through scholarship, creative endeavors and projects.

To learn more about the department of Mass Communications at Winona State, please visit the Mass Communication website.

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.

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Brian Waldbillig

Brian is a Public Relations major and Communication Studies minor from Farmington, MN. His hobbies include photography, hiking and going to concerts.