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Life in Hamilton County 

Staying IN – Ball State Ambassador Blog
April 11, 2024


Jacksen Cole, BSU Ambassador 

If there’s one thing I know about, it’s Indiana. More specifically- Noblesville. I’ve lived there since third grade and take any chance to come back home as I can. My name is Jacksen and I am a Ball State student. I am majoring in strategic communications, which means I create a lot of content. My knowledge of my hometown has come in handy with my favorite project: Staying IN.

The McKinley Avenue Agency is Ball State’s student run, full-service media sales and advertising agency. We operate under the School of Journalism and Strategic Communications. We serve the City of Muncie and beyond through creative, public relations and social media services.

As The Executive Director of Public Relations, I manage all content produced by the agency. For the past two years, this content has included work for the Staying IN campaign.

In 2022, McKinley was contracted by Ball State’s Office of Industry and Office of Governmental Relations and Industry Engagement to lead a campaign. The goal of the campaign was to combat the “brain drain” phenomenon occurring in the state. Brain drain is the idea of Hoosiers getting their education in Indiana, but then leaving to work in other states. Talent is leaving the state, and it stems from misconceptions about Indiana started in college. This is where Staying IN comes in.

Staying IN is a two-part campaign, focusing on web content and Instagram content. The website shows Hoosiers all the best reasons to stay in the state. Low cost of living, booming industries, lively music scene and more. Instagram pushes this content even more. We’ve highlighted different areas of Indiana to show how diverse and vibrant our state is. The best part of this process is getting to find all the hidden gems in Indiana.

One important tool for Staying IN is our County Ambassadors. Ball State’s County Ambassadors Program was erected in 2023. The goal of the program is to attract Ball State graduates to consider each working and living in certain counties after graduation. These ambassadors help develop content for Staying IN and promote their counties around campus. As Hamilton County’s ambassador, I have had many opportunities to represent my home to Ball State.

Just recently, I was able to attend the Ball State Day at the Statehouse with my fellow ambassadors to celebrate the inaugural class of ambassadors. I was able to meet and connect with a variety of people while representing Hamilton County. I shared some of my favorite spots in Hamilton County and my own reasons for staying in Indiana after graduation.

My reasons? As a public relations and advertising major, Indiana brings me lots of opportunities to flex my skills. Indiana has tons of agencies and hosts a variety of different industries. Whatever kind of work I want to do, Indiana is bound to have opportunities.

To follow along with my work and see Hamilton County and other counties, follow @stayinginindiana on Instagram!