Dr. Karen Alman and MPA students take on challenge for Washington Service Corps

Karen Alman photo

Dr. Karen Champagnie Alman has been an Evergreen adjunct faculty member for the past 13 years. 

Dr. Alman earned a Bachelors in Mass Communications & Journalism from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, a Masters in Communications Management from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mass Media & Advertising from Michigan State University. 

Currently, Dr. Alman is a full-time Communications Studies faculty member at Wenatchee Valley College. However, she also teaches Marketing for the Public Service in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Evergreen. This graduate elective is a weekend intensive course that gives students the opportunity to work on real issues centered around re-structuring programs/re-shaping policy, public outreach, and changing social attitudes and behaviors through the application of marketing principles. Dr. Alman utilizes her extensive professional network to reach state agencies and non-profits that are in need of marketing solutions. Through these connections, student teams work on strategic marketing projects with organizations that are committed to the process and outcome.

In the spring of 2017, a team of seven of Dr. Alman’s MPA students found success in a strategic marketing plan that they had created during her weekend intensive course. The students worked with the Employment Security Department (ESD) on a project for the Washington Service Corps (WSC). The WSC was established in 1983 by the Washington State legislature in an effort to promote community service and support youth employment throughout the state. This program was the first of its kind in the country, and actually served as a model for the creation of the AmeriCorps national service program, which was launched in 1993. 

Although the Washington Service Corps has been well established for some time now, the program faced challenges of declining enrollment, awareness, and perception. Provided with the challenge, the team of MPA students produced a strategic marketing plan that included using the state’s seal as a conceptual point to capitalize on the state’s reputation, using the seal’s color scheme to influence branding, and more closely aligning WSC’s messaging to reflect a paid internship with career opportunities. The ESD’s director and design staff reviewed the students’ recommendations and were very impressed with the quality of their work, especially given the short time frame in which it was produced. The results of the students’ efforts will soon be seen in the Washington Service Corps’ new public outreach thrust.