ALEX PRIEST | Flickr Creative Commons

ALEX PRIEST | Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, June 11, two BYU-Idaho students took second place in a national media buying competition in Washington D.C.

Becky Lyle and Alexandra Sorenson, both seniors studying communication, received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete for the National Excellence in Media Award and took second place, receiving $3,000 each in scholarship money.

“We are over the moon excited about it,” Sorensen said.

The competition began with a qualifying round in which students nationwide created media buying plans in a hypothetical campaign to get votes for the installation of a NASCAR race track in their local areas, Lyle said.

Lyle said that during this portion of the competition, she created a mathematical formula that helped the team figure out how to do their purchasing in the most cost-effective and beneficial way. She said this formula proved to help them throughout the entire competition.

The top 30 teams from the qualifying round got to move on to the Media Plan Case Competitions, according to the Washington Media Scholars Foundation Web page.

Lyle said this part of the competition had students creating hypothetical media buying strategies to increase movie theater attendance.

Of the 30 teams, the top six were chosen to attend the Media Scholars week in Washington D.C. and compete for the National Excellence in Media Award, according to the Washington Media Scholars Foundation website.

Lyle said the competition got even more difficult for her team at that point because Sorensen was off-track and was no longer living in Rexburg. She said the team would spend a lot of time doing Google Hangouts to prepare them for the final round of competition.

BYU-I had two teams make it to the top six. Along with Lyle and Sorensen, Jordan Powell, a senior studying communication, and Josh Powell, a recent BYU-I graduate, traveled to Washington D.C. to compete.

Lyle said that while she was in Washington D.C., the finalists had the opportunity to tour nationally recognized media industries, such as Yahoo and Twitter, and network with professionals.

Lyle said Yahoo was her favorite industry to visit.

“There was a lot of purple there, but the atmosphere was great,” Lyle said.

Sorensen said that not only did they get to visit these media industries, but also the CEO’s of the companies would often come talk to them.

The final presentations were given June 11 in the Newseum in Washington D.C. The top two teams were then awarded that evening, and Lyle and Sorensen received their award.

Lyle said one of the best feelings she had was knowing that her work could be used in the professional world, not just in a school setting.

Beth Hendricks, a faculty member in the communication department, said students who participate in national competitions such as the Media Case Competition have more opportunities available to them than just an average college student.

Jordan Powell said his favorite experience during the Media Scholars week was meeting and networking with other students and professionals at the nation’s capital.

“I cannot stress enough how pivotal this week has been and will be in my life,” Sorensen said.

She said she is working now to make connections with the more than 500 people she met during the week.

“This was truly a life-changing opportunity,” Sorensen said.