By Nicole Gennarelli
The Kent State Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) won three national awards at the PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco, Calif. earlier this fall.
PRSSA Kent won the Teahan Award, the most prestigious PRSSA award, for its website, and the Star Chapter Award, honoring the Chapter for its achievement of Chapter and professional goals. PRSSA Kent was selected from more than 300 chapters across the country for the Star Chapter Award.
“We were ecstatic to win the Teahan and Star Chapter Awards,” said Online Media Manager Ryan Collins. “Earning Star Chapter validated what we already knew − that PRSSA Kent is one of the best opportunities for Kent State students to learn and succeed.”
PRSSA Kent collaborated with Stefanie Moore, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), and with Flash Communications’ students to research, design and create content for the new website.
“The students spent a great deal of time researching best practices related to website design for PRSSA chapters, as well as testing the website,” said Michele Ewing, PRSSA Kent faculty adviser and JMC associate professor. “The research efforts played a key role in the design and content development for the website.”
In addition, PRSSA Kent President Christine Morgan won the National Gold Key Award, the highest individual honor for PRSSA students. Morgan was one of 27 students to win out of 10,000 PRSSA members nationwide.
“When they called my name at the National Conference, I couldn’t help but smile,” Morgan said. “I felt a deep sense of accomplishment. Looking back at my freshmen year, I never would have pictured myself with this award standing in front of a room filled with the next generation of PR professionals.”
The four-day conference was composed of sessions that included panelists, speakers and events where students could network and improve their communication skills. There were many opportunities for students to connect with professionals and other students from across the country to secure internships and jobs after graduation.
Assistance from public relations alumni, Cleveland and Akron PRSA and other resources is what sets Kent State’s PRSSA chapter apart from the rest, Ewing said.
“The PRSSA Kent Chapter is fortunate to have Akron PRSA and Cleveland PRSA professionals located near Kent State and willing to help with professional development activities,” she said. “Our PRKent alumni are huge supporters of our Chapter. The students have lots of resources, but it really comes down to the leadership of the PRSSA officers. They spend countless hours on PRSSA activities. Generations of PRSSA Kent student leaders have worked extremely hard to grow the Chapter and create one of the strongest PRSSA chapters in the country.”
JMC prepares its public relations students for the real world by keeping the curriculum up-to-date by integrating social media and other Web content.
“It starts with guiding students to be excellent communicators, particularly developing strong writing and strategic thinking skills,” Ewing said. “The continued success of our PRKent graduates has built a valuable brand for the PR major at Kent State. We stress professionalism and ethics throughout the program.”
Photo: Five PRSSA Kent officers attended the 2012 PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco, Calif., this year. From left to right: Stephanie Black (VP of Public Relations), Trenton Chavez (VP of Membership), Ryan Collins (Online Media Manager), Christine Morgan (President), Hallie Pendergast (Secretary).