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Communications Conference Brings Industry Leaders and Students Together

In February, business management professors Ann and Scott Springer hosted the 2023 Association for Business Communication (ABC) Western Region Conference at Brigham Young University–Hawaii.

Jennifer Cummings, from the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, presenting at the ABC conference.
Conference attendee, Jennifer Cummings, from the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, presenting at ABC Conference.
Photo by Monique Saenz

Over 50 participants from 17 universities across 12 states, and Japan, came together to learn from colleagues in a diverse, cultural setting. The conference included interactive learning sessions, roundtable discussions, and research presentations. Among those in attendance was Jennifer Cummings from the University of Utah and Ana Barraza from Brigham Young University. Both are BYU–Hawaii alum.

As the conference organizers, Ann and Scott Springer highlighted the diversity and unique cultural practices within the BYU–Hawaii student body. As a result, professional growth and cultural understanding were two of the biggest takeaways from the conference.

Cultural performances from the BYU–Hawaii Mongolia, Kiribati, and Fiji student clubs amazed attendees during an opening ceremony. Ann Springer, assistant professor from the Faculty of Business & Government, shared the performances were the "perfect way to kick off the conference," stating, "our guests were immediately introduced to the unique campus culture we experience at BYU–Hawaii." It was a lively evening as student performers had everyone on their feet dancing throughout the night.

Student standing in front of her research presentation board. Board is titled "Getting to Graduation."
Photo by Monique Saenz

The schedule also allowed time for attendees to interact with half a dozen BYU–Hawaii students at a poster session presentation. The student's research focused on integrated marketing communications plans designed to improve the graduation rates of female students.

Lydia Wilson, a senior studying business marketing, one of the students presenting, shared, "I was nervous about doing the poster session because I had convinced myself that these were highly educated people who had their masters and doctorates degrees. There was nothing that I could say that would pique their interest. Well, I was wrong. These scholars were fun to talk to and were actually interested in what I had to say. I learned a lot of fun things from this conference."

Student sharing her research with a conference attendee.
Photo by Monique Saenz

Ann Springer explained, "It's a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research at an academic conference that is part of a global organization. It was great to see them speak to academics with confidence and passion about their chosen research topics."

The conference concluded with an afternoon and evening well spent at the Polynesian Culture Center. Participants learned more about the Oceanic countries many students call home, finishing the night with an authentic luau dinner. Attendees reported the conference was educational and entertaining and left with unforgettable memories and newfound knowledge of business communication.

ABC Conference attendees stand and pose for a picture at the PCC luau.
ABC Conference attendees at the Polynesian Cultural Center luau.
Photo by Ann Springer