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Headshot of Sara Steffes HansenSara Steffes Hansen, professor of journalism and interactive web management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, said her favorite part of teaching is working with and mentoring students.

“I find myself harkening back to my corporate days where I worked with a group of people who I could be around and creatively work together and work toward goals that were professional and taking us to new places in corporate work or agency work,” Hansen said. “I really try to live that out with my students in the classroom with the kinds of experiences we have and I find myself pretty engaged with that because it’s a lot of fun.”

Hansen, who has taught at UW Oshkosh since 2009, teaches advertising, public relations and interactive web management courses and said the commonality in those subjects is creating messages to speak to different audiences.

“When I think about the students who have the most successes, they are the ones who can take every opportunity when they are here at Oshkosh—in the classroom and in extra curriculars,” Hansen said. “A student who goes to UW Oshkosh—even though we may not be the biggest school—can end up in big cities and working for big brands we’ve all heard of when they apply their skills and knowledge in that direction.”

Hansen has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in journalism and mass communication.

“Those fields intersect in interesting ways when we think about persuasive messages that we’re trying to get into the marketplace or maybe trying to understand how those messages impact society and how they are increasingly taking digital platforms to reach audiences,” Hansen said. “So all those areas continue to evolve and it makes for a challenging and interesting line of work.”

Hansen’s research revolves around digital platforms where different groups of people are engaging with persuasive content that may be from brands or public relations campaigns or issues that are circulating in societies.

“That research has taken me a lot of different places. It has taken me to virtual games and social media platforms, so my research has really spanned games, Facebook, Twitter and other places where those messages are happening and consumers are engaging,” Hansen said.

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