When we talked to the girls about cyber­bul­lying on Face­book, it was like an explo­sion. They all knew someone who’d been bul­lied that way.”

So reported senior com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies major Hannah McCul­loch, who, with junior Brit­tany Troy, led an antibul­lying training ses­sion for Boston teenagers last semester.

McCul­loch and Troy devel­oped the two-​​hour pro­gram them­selves, as a project for their cap­stone course, “Orga­ni­za­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Training and Devel­op­ment,” taught by asso­ciate com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies pro­fessor and asso­ciate vice provost Elise Dallimore.

By the end of the semester, the pro­gram had had its real-​​world debut in a class of teen girls, cour­tesy of the Boston non­profit Health Resources in Action (HRIA).

HRIA invites girls who act as peer leaders at such Boston orga­ni­za­tions as Sociedad Latina, the South Street Housing Devel­op­ment and the Hyde Park YMCA to weekly ses­sions on a variety of public health issues. After­ward, the teens are asked to share what they’ve learned within their com­mu­ni­ties and their schools.

To create an antibul­lying pro­gram for these girls, McCul­loch and Troy immersed them­selves in gaining the nec­es­sary the­o­ret­ical back­ground and prac­tical skills. Then they devel­oped a needs assess­ment and a training con­tract for HRIA, designed the cur­riculum, piloted it in Dallimore’s class to get feed­back, deliv­ered it to the HRIA teens and, ulti­mately, eval­u­ated its effectiveness.

Hannah and I spent end­less hours in the library brain­storming and doing research,” said Troy.

Dallimore’s cap­stone, McCul­loch said, “was a really intense class, one of the most rewarding I’ve taken at Northeastern.

We would learn some­thing on a Tuesday, take it to our clients on a Thursday, then go back to class on Friday and talk about what the clients had said,” McCul­loch con­tinued. “By the end, we under­stood how to train, and what impact our training had on people.”

Best of all, McCul­loch and Troy feel they helped shed some light on the hot-​​button issue of bul­lying — espe­cially cyberbullying.

Troy said the teens she talked with didn’t fully under­stand the rela­tion­ship between cyber­bul­lying and suicide.

They were shocked when we showed them an article about Phoebe Prince,” she said, refer­ring to the South Hadley, Mass­a­chu­setts, 15-​​year-​​old who killed her­self last year after allegedly being bul­lied by classmates.

McCul­loch and Troy advised the teens on how they could address cyber­bul­lying without becoming vic­tims them­selves — such as by anony­mously reporting abu­sive remarks to Face­book. “The girls were really recep­tive to that approach,” said McCulloch.

HRIA is one of more than 225 pro­grams that partner with North­eastern through the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice to enlist stu­dents’ help.

Laurie Jo Wal­lace, the HRIA training director, praised what McCul­loch and Troy accom­plished. “They were very respon­sible, very focused and cre­ated a great two-​​hour cur­riculum we will def­i­nitely use in the future,” Wal­lace said.

In fact, said Dal­limore, “Health Resources in Action was so impressed they’re plan­ning to market this training to orga­ni­za­tions all over the country.”