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PRSSA Kent Shines Bright at National Conference

Posted Feb. 4, 2013 | Katie Fickle and Nicole Gennarelli
enter photo description
Members of Kent State's chapter of the Public Relations
Student Society of America (PRSSA) pose for a photo
during their trip to San Francisco for the PRSSA National
Conference.The Kent State chapter won three national
awards at the conference.

The Kent State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) won three national awards at the PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco.

PRSSA Kent won the Teahan Award, the most prestigious PRSSA award, for its website, and the Star Chapter Award 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.

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.

PRSSA Kent won the Teahan award for the chapter’s website and the Star Chapter Award for its achievements in its professional goals. Morgan was honored with the Gold Key Award for her academic accomplishments and professional achievements.

Associate Professor Michele Ewing of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication serves as the Kent PRSSA adviser. Ewing encourages the chapter’s officers to attend the national conference because it gives students the opportunity expand their knowledge of public relations and sharpen their communications skills.

“Students have the opportunity to network with PR students and professionals from all over the country,” Ewing says. “They can develop connections to secure internships and jobs. They learn about the latest trends in the PR industry and discover ways to improve the PRSSA Kent Chapter.”

Stefanie Moore, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Kent State alumna Sasha Chinchar developed the chapter’s website.

Ryan Collins, senior public relations major, is the online media manager for PRSSA Kent. He says that the organization’s website stood out among other websites because of its design and content.

“Our website is a great resource for public relations students at Kent State University,” Collins says. “They can visit the site for meeting previews, meeting recaps, speaker bios, PR resources and more.”

Collins believes that the group won this award because its officers have been striving to make it an effective website that leads students to success in their professional endeavors.

Ewing says the time Moore and Chinchar invested in the research and the testing of the website “played a pivotal role in the winning entry.”

“Our faculty adviser, chapter president and I all work together to ensure only the best work is displayed on the site,” Collins says. “It truly is the face of PRSSA Kent for prospective freshmen, and we have to blow them away.”

Morgan, senior public relations major, says she is proud to have won the Gold Key Award, and she attributes her success to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s public relations program.

“The PR sequence’s required classes are difficult, but my hard work paid off,” Morgan says. “The classes enabled me to sharpen my writing skills, fine tune my interpersonal skills and improve my design capabilities. It’s a well-rounded program that teaches young PR professionals the skills necessary to succeed in the PR field.”

Morgan says that she had a “winning combination” of academic achievements that led to her receiving this prestigious award.

“I believe my GPA, experience, leadership and education set me apart from other candidates,” Morgan says. “I took advantage of the opportunities offered by PRSSA to gain essential leadership experience. Also, I’ve been a global communication intern at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for one year and six months.”

This is the first time that Kent PRSSA won the Star Chapter Award for the chapter’s professional achievements. Kent State was among the less than 10 percent of chapters recognized for this award.

Ewing says she is proud of the group’s efforts and pleased that it won three awards this year. She explains that with the help of local professionals, the group has been able to excel in its efforts, which helped PRSSA Kent stand out among other chapters.

“Our PRKent alumni are huge supporters of our chapter so the students have several resources, but it really comes down to the leadership of the PRSSA officers,” Ewing says. “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.”

Ewing says the public relations department is striving to mold its students into successful professionals by guiding them to become exceptional communicators and strategic thinkers, who are ethical and portray professionalism.

“We strive to keep curriculum current and have done well with integrating social media and other Web content into the PR program,” Ewing says. “Our students are blessed with numerous resources to gain relevant experience – PRSSA Kent, student media, Flash Communications, The Tannery, internships and communication campus jobs. The continued success of our PRKent graduates has built a valuable brand for the PR major at Kent State.”