Student News

ISC Students Work to Spread 'Raes' of Sunshine

The ISC 497 class
The ISC 497 class.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2021) — Kimberly Parker, an associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, and her ISC 497 Social Marketing class collaborated with Rae of Sunshine (KY) — a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading positivity and eliminating the stigma of mental health — for their Fall 2021 semester project.

Taylora Schlossler, founder of Rae of Sunshine, created the organization to honor her only daughter Taylor Rae Nolan, a former ISC student, who lost her life to suicide in January 2019. Schlossler is committed to sharing Nolan’s story, helping others who are struggling with their mental health and increasing access to mental health resources.

Schlossler attended Parker’s class at the beginning of the semester to discuss Rae of Sunshine’s mission and its current needs. Student groups were then tasked with creating a social marketing campaign for Rae of Sunshine that included the campaign’s purpose, primary focus, market analysis, target audience description, objectives, barriers, competitors, creative content and budget plan.

“Having the opportunity to create an applicable and measurable campaign for a nonprofit so close to my heart was both an honor and a hands-on experience I can share with future employers,” senior ISC major Katherine Yochum said.

Students noted that this assignment not only prepared them for future careers, but was extremely rewarding because it gave them the opportunity to start important conversations about mental health with their peers.

“No one is alone in their mental health struggle, and I learned just how much that concept needs to be illuminated. These conversations have the power to change the trajectory of someone’s life for good,” Shelby Arnett, another ISC senior said. “I am incredibly passionate about mental health, so partnering with Rae of Sunshine for this social marketing campaign felt like a dream come true.”

Arnett, Yochum and their classmates presented their final projects in class in front of several special guests, including Schlossler and Jennifer Greer, dean of the College of Communication and Information.

“It was so obvious that the students worked so hard and were passionate and genuine. It wasn’t a project they completed for a grade — it meant something to every single group,” Schlossler said. “I really hope we can take these projects and turn them into a reality on UK’s campus.”

Students worked all semester on creating the many parts of the campaign and the final presentation. Parker noted that students were passionate about Rae of Sunshine from the beginning and excited to share their final projects with Schlossler.

“It meant so much to me to know that they worked so hard on something that would honor Taylor and that Taylora would be proud of,” said Parker. “It was exciting to watch them take their skill sets and see the potential it has to make a difference.”

Visit www.raeofsunshineky.org/Foundation to learn more about the Rae of Sunshine Foundation.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.