Manship Student Meagan Morvant

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Cover Stories | 0 comments

Meagan is a senior Public Relations major at the Manship School and the Ogden Honors College. This semester, she is working on her senior honors thesis and plans to conduct an experiment in the Media Effects Lab. Outside of class, she is a member of PRSSA, Co-Director of ImPRint Communications, and an RA in the Mass Communication Residential College. Meagan discusses her thesis, reflects on her time at Manship, and speculates about where she’s headed.


Meagan is originally from Harahan, LA


MEL: How did you originally become interested in Public Relations?
Meagan: I started at LSU as a music major. But then it was kind of like you have to have something else as a backup. My parents didn’t want me just to do music. So I started double majoring in music and business. And those were on different ends of the spectrum on completely different sides of campus that it was nearly impossible. So I dropped music and stayed with business, and I didn’t like it. So I had to find somewhere else to go, and I landed in Mass Com because I liked the idea of having a business background, but I didn’t like all of the business classes. And PR is a good mix of communication and business.  I liked the mesh. I also really like people. So it kind of was a mix of that opportunity to communicate but also a good business background. And then I just fell in love with it from there.


MEL: Why did you choose to write a thesis as an undergraduate student?
Meagan: I came into honors college my freshman year for the good dorm and the priority scheduling. I also wanted to come to LSU and challenge myself, and not just take the ordinary classes. I wanted something that made me try a little harder. I stayed with the honors college, and I’d always looked forward to writing my thesis. I didn’t realize everything that went into it at the time. I wanted to stick with it because one, I think the opportunity to write a thesis as an undergrad is just an extraordinary opportunity. It teaches you how to time manage; it teaches you how to research at a level that you don’t typically get as an undergrad. It teaches you how to come up with your own theory or hypothesis based on what you’ve learned. And then, figure out how do I test that. My big thing was I wanted to contribute to the mass com field. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s hard, but it’s something that makes college a full experience.


MEL: What is your thesis topic?
Meagan: The original relationship I was looking at was brand loyalty and crisis communication. And deciding if a company has so many resources and so much time, should they spend that time developing a crisis plan to save them on the occasion of a crisis, or should they spend that time developing brand loyalty because that brand loyalty will save them. The big example that was recent is blue bell. Their crisis plan was terrible, but their brand loyalty kept them afloat. But that was a very broad topic, and we had to narrow it down. So now were looking at how negative attitudes that are formed in consumers because of a crisis. Can those negative attitudes still foster brand loyalty of any sort? Can brand loyalty exist during a crisis even though it causes negative feelings? The hypothesis is yes because they’re examples. But why, what factors, play into that. Is it nostalgia, is it how familiar people are with the brand, is it just the fact that it’s a habit and that’s what they’ve always bought, so they’re just going to keep buying it?


MEL: How do you plan on using the Media Effects Lab?
Meagan: The specifics are still a little muddled right now as we are still working on it. We are going to create an experiment where we use the Media Effects Lab and have students come and participate. The idea is that we’re going to have two different types of questionnaires or surveys and hopefully that will help us understand more about brand loyalty in a crisis.


MEL: What are your future career aspirations?
Meagan: I see myself being in some kind of strategic development or strategic communications. And that inevitably would involve some sort of research as far as consumer-based research, or understanding the field in figuring out messaging. I want to go back to get my Master’s, but I want it to be an MBA or a Master’s in Management, that more business side. Whether I’m doing that right after school or if I’m going to do something else I don’t know. I interned with Disney my Sophomore year, and I am looking to go back and maybe get a professional internship there, and then I could go back and go to grad school.


MEL: How do you see this process helping you in the future?
Meagan: I’ve learned how to get myself motivated on something. Once you’re in the thesis it’s just like, you defend in April, good luck. There are no deadlines. There’s no one to tell you when and where and how to do things. So I think that’s going to help me figure out how to set hard deadlines for myself and to make sure I’m moving forward in something. So time management, definitely, and learning how to develop my own ideas. And I think the fact that I’m going to learn something this academic and learn how to experiment in a way that isn’t taught in class is going to help because I wouldn’t get it otherwise. And I like working so closely with a professor who knows all of it and learning in that aspect too instead of just in that classroom. It teaches you how to analyze something. And you know the whole package. You know how to research, how to develop something and experiment on it, and you know how to analyze the data after. It’s a full sweep of great skills.


MEL: Advice to undergraduate students who want to do research?
Meagan: Keep it narrow. The biggest thing for me is that I had this big question, and I had to narrow it down or it just would never get done. And the other thing is you don’t have to come in expecting or wanting to make a big contribution. You don’t have to come up with something completely new. It’s okay to look at something that’s already been done, and say okay this is the limitation to their experiment and let’s work on that limitation and expand upon the research that way. It doesn’t have to be something completely new or a breakthrough. I came in, and I wanted to do something that no one’s done before. But remember that any contribution is a contribution.


MEL: What is your best Manship memory?
Meagan: My best Manship opportunity was studying abroad in Europe for a month. It was not really within my major. We learned media ethics, and it was very political based. And that’s not my forte, but that’s what was so great about it was that I learned, and I came back wanting to learn more. And it just opened my eyes to that there is just so much beyond where I am.

But more as within the school itself, PRSSA, and ImPrint have been the best because just PRSSA in itself is a student-run organization. We serve real clients in the area. It’s basically like getting an internship but on campus. And it prepares you for that big campaigns class that we have here, the big capstone class. Because you do that for clients just on your own time. I started out as a Sophomore I didn’t even know what a press release was. So by the time I got to class, I knew the basics of it already. It prepped me and gave me a lot of real world experience before I got to class or even had to get an internship, so I recommend that to anybody. It’s just great. That’s one thing I am really glad Manship has. It made me more confident with myself, and it made me okay with not knowing everything. I am the co-director, and I still don’t know how everything works. But that’s okay. It’s okay to learn as you go and it’s okay just to wing it sometimes.

The experience here has been phenomenal, it’s such a small college in the university, and I’ve made great friends in all my classes. The classes are small, the professors are great, the professors care about you. Like I can walk into their office hours every day, and they’re willing to talk. So Manship is great as a whole.