Ball State geography major Emma Diebold, ’10, would someday like to drive throughout Indiana, speeding from one diner or museum to another to soak up the state’s rich automotive history.
During her senior year, the Indianapolis native settled on bringing attention to the 120 destinations along the Indiana 500 Tour route that she and 15 other students from an immersive learning class at Ball State helped to promote.
Diebold served as project coordinator during the spring of 2010 as students developed the transportation-themed tourism project in cooperation with the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureaus (AICVB). (Through the Building Better Communities Fellows program, Ball State students also assisted with the 2011 Indiana 500 Tour, which focuses on the heritage of southern Indiana.)
“Tourism and the automobile industries are incredibly huge industries in Indiana, and it was fun to bring them together on this project,” says Diebold, who specialized in tourism and travel. “I was very fortunate to be able to work with various organizations as we pulled this all together. I think we’ll see people from all over the country visit Indiana to see many historical locations tied to our auto industry.”
Over the course of several months, Diebold served as a communications liaison between the Ball State team and AICVB and various visitors bureaus. Ball State students studying telecommunications, advertising, and geography developed the website, conducted the necessary GIS mapping, and established social media accounts to help promote the new travel opportunity. Other student-created promotional materials are at various visitors bureaus around the state.
As part of the Indiana 500 Tour, Diebold worked closely Brenda Myers, executive director of the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau and coordinator of the project with AICVB.
Myers says Diebold personifies the typical Ball State student because she is an engaged, quick thinking, a problem solver who can easily adapt to whatever is thrown her way.
"I had the pleasure of working with Emma in 2009, when she served as our community development intern. As a result of that experience, I didn't hesitate to call her and see if she would be the on-the-ground liaison with Ball State. I couldn't have been more pleased with my choice.
"I learned in working with the Indiana 500 Tour team that these students get it. I remember sitting in a meeting for the first time with all of them on campus. I was off in the corner, watching as I marveled at how these students were working through the various scenarios as if they had 10 years experience under their belts. And there was Emma—task sheet in hand—making sure things would happen. I loved it.”
Tourism and Travel