UK Happenings

Symposium Explores Digital Strategies, AI and Machine Learning in the ISC Industry

The Department of Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) is hosting its annual ISC Alumni Symposium.
The Department of Integrated Strategic Communication is hosting its annual ISC Alumni Symposium.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2019) — The University of Kentucky Department of Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) is hosting its annual ISC Alumni Symposium April 3, 2019, for students in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information. The event will begin 6 p.m., in the William T. Young Library's UK Athletics Auditorium, Room 1-62. Gabby Dudgeon, an ISC doctoral student, will be moderating the panel.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Digital Strategies, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in My Organization.” ISC interim chair Chike Anyaegbunam explains why this event is important for both students and faculty at UK.

“This year’s topic is very timely and important for our profession, especially with the increasing role of digital technology and big data in the strategic communication industry,” Anyaegbunam said. “The symposium is an opportunity for current students to interact with and learn from our returning alumni.”

Speakers for this year’s panel include Alex Gaidzik of Farlinium, Ashlee Harris of Cornett, Brittney Bray of Kroger, Jennifer Bowers of Octagon, Jessica Chu of Yum! Brands, and Rachel Izdorek of Continuum Clinical. All of the panelists are alumni of the ISC undergraduate program. Students will learn about the alumni’s professional experiences with technology and ask for career advice.

Alex Gaidzik is a professional consultant who helps some of the world’s largest companies — that have massive amounts of consumer feedback data — analyze, design and execute deliverable strategies for turning unstructured “voice of the customer” data into actionable insights for the companies. He has worked in multiple roles where he has been able to turn consumer voice, perceptions and feedback into insights that provide building blocks used to inform important business decisions. He holds bachelor's degrees in integrated strategic communication (2015) and English (2013) from UK.

Ashlee Harris is a senior account planner at Cornett in Lexington, where she has worked with clients like A&W Restaurants, Tempur Sealy, GE and UK for almost 10 years. She loves digging in for her clients and bringing them big ideas that help solve their business challenges. She is from Madisonville, Kentucky, and graduated from UK in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in ISC (PR path). 

Brittney Bray is an assistant digital campaign manager at Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she facilitates marketing initiatives and go-to-market strategies for e-commerce and digital acquisition activations. She is from Lexington and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in ISC.  

Jessica Chu is a social listening analyst and global corporate communications professional at Yum! Brands. She leads a team that protects and promotes the reputation of Yum! and its brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) through social monitoring, listening, reporting and response on a global scale. She collaborates with cross functional teams to tell Yum!’s story through strategic digital communication plans and builds social listening capabilities throughout the Yum!’s organization. Chu graduated from UK in 2015 with a degree in integrated strategic communication and a minor in Spanish. 

Rachel Izydorek graduated from UK in 2016 with a double path in direct marketing and public relations and started working in account services at Pinnacle Advertising near Chicago. She recently accepted a position as account leader at Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide, where she works under a Blue Chip subsidiary, Continuum Clinical, a health care marketing agency known best for their brand awareness and direct marketing successes. 

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 two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," 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 three 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.