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Fisher Students Network at National PR Conference

November 6, 2017

Nine students from St. John Fisher College attended the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference (PRSSANC), “The Revolution Continues,” held in Boston, Massachusetts in October.

Nine Fisher students attended the PRSSA national conference this October.

Nine Fisher students attended the PRSSA national conference this October.

Claire Sauter ’18, Allie Rudy ’18, Morgan Van Der Horst ’18, Jake Allen ’18, Meghan Cleary ’18, Katey Padden ’19 (honors), Caitlyn Littlewood ’19, Colleen Senglaub ’20 (honors), and Lindsey Garrant ’20 (honors) represented the Tom Proietti Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as well as Fisher’s student-run ad 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 that explored fake news, visual storytelling, and ethics in public relations.

For Senglaub, a sophomore studying media management with a Spanish minor, the conference offered ways for Fisher to strengthen its chapter.

“I learned ideas on how to gain and retain members,” said Senglaub, who currently serves as the chapter’s treasurer. “And, I learned a lot about public relations and PRSSA that I will be able to share with members of the club.”

Rudy, who is president of Fisher’s PRSSA chapter and a double major in media and communication and digital cultures and technology, agreed.

“By going to the national conference, we got to hear about a lot of the really interesting things that other, larger schools are doing with their chapters,” she explained. “This not only inspires Fisher PRSSA to start new projects and implement new ideas, but it also gives us an amazing network of schools that we can learn from and grow with.”

The conference also showcased the myriad career avenues open to public relations professionals, which Garrant, a sophomore studying media management, said will help her decide on an area of focus.

“A big takeaway was that PR is such a broad profession and you can figure out what you want to do by just finding your passion and working on things that inspire you,” she said.

Allen and Cleary, who will graduate in December, both noted they found career advice shared by panelists to be of interest.

“I found their advice and information extremely valuable as I am graduating so soon and need to be educated on the ins and outs of the media/PR industry,” said Allen, who majors in media and communication. “From résumé-building to must-have characteristics of an entry-level employee, what I learned truly put into perspective what I need to do as a student to promote my brand and market myself to future employers.”

Another theme that resonated with the students was the importance of finding a mentor among one’s network.

“One of the driving influences of success in the field of PR is the ability to create connections and maintain a network. Part of this network should be mentorship,” said Sauter, who is majoring in media management with an ethics minor. “But, mentorship isn't just the typical old professional-to-young professional relationship - it is sharing knowledge, experience, and opportunities between friends, industries, and all ages. It's a two-way street.”

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.