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National Conference Offers Fisher Students Chance to Network with PR Pros

November 30, 2016

Six students from St. John Fisher College’s Department of Media and Communication attended the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference (PRSSANC), “Crossroads of Public Relations,” in Indianapolis, Indiana, from October 21 to 24.

Alexandra Hristodoulou, Olivia Rotondo, Claire Sauter, Claire Lupi, Alexandra Ormond, and Jade Rood represented the Tom Proietti Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as well as Fisher’s student-run agency, The PRIMA Group, at the largest gathering of public relations students in the country. Students networked with a variety of speakers, professionals, and peers from across the country and participated in chapter development sessions, résumé critiques, and panels ranging from topics from media relations to internal communication and crisis communication, while developing their professional skills and keeping up with the latest trends in public relations.

“Being surrounded by students who have the same interests as you is very refreshing,” said Rotondo, co-president of PRSSA, who is a senior majoring in media management. “We were able to share ideas on fundraising and how to make our chapter better overall by sharing our accomplishments and defeats.”

PRSSANC keynote speakers included Derreck Kayongo of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. Other speakers included communication executives from Warner Brothers Television, General Motors, Vera Bradley, McDonalds Corporation, Burson-Marsteller, Starwood, NCAA, and more.

For Lupi, a senior who serves as director of public relations for PRIMA, and also acts as the agency’s president, a session on writing a killer job application was informative and engaging.

“Danny Rubin, the presenter, gave us a new way of looking at résumés and cover letters. He told us to add value to the bullet points on our résumé,” she said. “It was interesting to see how many things we could improve on these materials.”

In addition to practical tips, Lupi said presenters offered advice and inspiration for budding public relations professionals.

“The biggest piece of advice we received at the conference was that we will always have challenges, but we have to ‘fail fast,’” she said. “This short phrase has stuck with me since I’ve returned and has been in the back of my mind. We were also told to ‘embrace the crazy’ and to ‘navigate and respond to change appropriately.’ This is definitely great advice for college students about to begin their careers.”

Students were joined on the trip by Arien Rozelle, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication, who serves as advisor to Fisher’s PRSSA chapter and The PRIMA Group. The trip was sponsored in part by the Department of Media and Communication, the School of Arts and Sciences, and Roberts Communications.