Hatch Your Potential: The Next Wave of Student Agencies for Marketing and Communication Professionals

Karen Freberg

Slide Deck


Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) is a professor in strategic communications at the University of Louisville, where she teaches, researches, and consults in social media strategy, public relations, and crisis communication. She is also the new director of The Bird’s Nest, a full-service student agency focused on strategic communication and social media at the University of Louisville. Karen is also an award-winning author and has written several books, including "Social Media for Strategic Communications: Creative Strategies and Research Based Applications" and "Discovering Public Relations: An Introduction to Creative and Strategic Practices." She is also an adjunct instructor at West Virginia University and NYU. Karen has worked on several consulting opportunities with General Motors, NATO, Churchill Downs, Adidas, Adobe, Facebook, Chipotle, HubSpot, Sun Tan City, Brown-Forman, The Breeders’ Cup, DHS, CDC, Hootsuite, Colorado Ski Association, and Firestorm Solutions. Karen has coordinated and advised various companies on the areas of social media pedagogy and certification programs, such as Cannes Lions (cochair of the Cannes Lions Educator Summit), Hootsuite (Advanced Social Media Certification and #HootAmb), Meltwater (certification program and contributor), Adobe (EDUMax Thought Leader and Adobe Education Leader), Facebook Blueprint (Subject Matter Expert), and HubSpot (Education Founding Member).


Student agencies are nothing new for marketing and communication programs — they provide students with exceptional experiential learning opportunities and real-world experiences with clients in the industry. However, how does one build a student agency that aligns with university goals, industry trends, and student and professional expectations? How can a student agency bring brand recognition and donations to a program and university? This presentation will discuss these points while highlighting these strategies, best practices, and insights from building the University of Louisville’s new student agency, The Bird’s Nest.