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Monday, August 19, 2013

AU Team Wins $2,500

Nellie Cronin, a junior majoring in public relations, strategic communication, and health & risk communication, competed on a team of five Ashland University undergraduate students at the 2013 Business Concept Competition held as part of the seventh annual Entrepreneurship Education Consortium’s (EEC) Entrepreneurship Immersion Week (EIW) competition at Hiram College on Aug. 4-9. The AU team claimed first prize for its improved public and commercial restroom product.

EIW is an intensive one-week, academic immersion experience for undergraduates from all disciplines to immerse themselves in the skills needed to help them develop new business concepts and apply these skills in a team-based business concept competition. There were nine participating collegiate teams. The teams conceived and developed a business concept that was presented to a panel of judges from the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem. (

Due the competitive nature of the concepts presented, the judges took more than an hour and a half to select the winners before naming the Ashland University team as first place and awarding them with the $2,500 prize.

When asked about her experience, Cronin said, “The Department of Communication Studies really deserves this one! The professors and the department itself has given me so many opportunities such as being an intern for the Rural Emergency Trauma Institute (RETI), being a co-author on a chapter of a book that was published, and so much more. These opportunities have been beneficial in so many ways and taught me so many new things. This led me to be able to do all the work I was able to do during the Entrepreneurship Immerse Week and landing first place! I am so thankful for the department; they have helped me so much and will continue to watch me grow.”

"While I am not shocked, I am very proud of Nellie as she has developed into a quite an innovative and well-spoken student. She has brought great pride to the Department of Communication Studies," says Dr. Theodore Avtgis, professor and department Chair.

The Ashland team was coached by Read F. Wakefield, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, at Ashland University and treasurer and past-president of the EEC. Dr. Dan Fox, associate professor and chair of the department of Marketing, Hospitality Management and Fashion Merchandising, and past-director of the EEC, assisted the Ashland team on Thursday afternoon and evening.

The Entrepreneurship Educational Consortium Inc. (EEC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and a unique collaboration of 11 Northeast Ohio colleges and universities whose purpose is to provide practical "experiential" and theoretical education to students in Northeast Ohio to prepare them to become entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, create new ventures and jobs and build wealth for the region. The EEC was founded to promote both the concept and the reality of Entrepreneurship among college students of all disciplines. Beyond imparting the necessary classroom fundamentals, it encourages student exploration of new business concepts.

Ashland University is one of the seven founding members of the EEC. The EEC won national recognition when it received the 2010 Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.