Christine Szustaczek

April 8, 2013

'In Charity We Trust' earns major writing award

Graduate student Christine Szustaczek has earned a major award in the international Case Writing Competition in Corporate Communications, placing second in the "Communications School" category.

Her submitted paper, Canadian Cancer Society: In Charity We Trust?, focuses on a case study involving the Canadian Cancer Society and the CBC, and the proper way to handle a public relations dilemma.

"This is a tremendous honour," says Szustaczek, a student in the University's Master of Communications Management program. "Just to be recognized in this competition is huge."

Earlier this year, Szustaczek joined Oakville's Sheridan College as director of Corporate Communications & External Relations. She credits her ongoing studies in the MCM program with giving her a real advantage in the workforce – especially when it comes to broadening her skill set. Offered in partnership with Syracuse University, MCM is Canada's only graduate program in communications management.

"The great thing about this program is that it involves more than just communications studies," she explains. "Students are also exposed to finance, accounting, marketing and other fields, and the faculty is second-to-none."

Her faculty advisor, assistant professor Laurence Mussio, referred to the award as an "authentically outstanding achievement," and praised Szustaczek for her, "substantive, serious, superbly researched contribution to communications scholarship." She'll receive a $1,500 contest prize next month in recognition of her efforts.

Traditionally, McMaster has done very well in the competition. Students in the MCM program swept the podium in 2011, and also placed among the top three in 2009, including winning the grand prize. Two other students in the program, Nii Sackeyfio and Phyllis Bennett, also competed this year.

"I was thrilled to get the news that Christine has continued our record of consistently superior performance in the prestigious A.W. Page Society's case study competition," says Alex Sévigny, director of the MCM program and associate professor in the Faculty of Humanities. "Our MCM students' regular success in international competitions is proof positive of the leadership position that the MCM occupies among professional communication programs in Canada."