Public Relations Student Group Earns Seven National Honors
Kent State’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter earned seven national awards for the work done throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. The national awards were announced during a virtual award ceremony at the International Public Relations Society Conference in late October.
For the first time in Chapter history, PRSSA Kent won two Teahan Awards, the highest Chapter honors:
- The Teahan Award for “Outstanding Newsletter”
- The Teahan Award for “Outstanding Website”
Both categories were judged on creativity, featured content, design and overall appearance. The organization used its monthly newsletter and website to keep the community connected during the 2020-2021 school year, when everyone was apart due to the pandemic.
“As they work on the Chapter’s communication, we often discuss applying strategies and skills they’re learning in the classroom. Earning Teahan honors for the website and newsletter speaks to the students’ abilities to successfully master course concepts — that’s music to all their professors’ ears,” Faculty Adviser and Professor Michele Ewing says. “All programming and communication were virtually delivered the entire year. PRSSA played a key role in helping students feel connected and engaged learning about the public relations field.”
Two alumnae board members, Jada Miles, '21, and Samantha Farland, '21, were awarded the National Gold Key, PRSSA’s highest individual honor. This award recognizes outstanding academic excellence in public relations and leadership in PRSSA. Miles served as President and Farland as the Vice President of Communications during the 2020-2021 year.
Miles currently works at Ruder Finn, an independent global communications and creative agency in New York City, as an Assistant Account Executive. In her role, she finds herself using the skills and confidence she gained from the organization, every day. She says: “PRSSA helped me grow significantly and was a major factor in shaping me into the professional I am today, so receiving the Gold Key award meant a lot to me.”
Farland is now an Assistant Account Executive at Marcus Thomas LLC, an independent advertising and digital marketing agency in Cleveland. She says PRSSA Kent allowed her to see her coursework come to life. She says: “This organization was a big part of my college experience, and I'm so happy that all my hard work was recognized in the end.”
As Vice President of Communications for PRSSA Kent, Farland played a big role in the Teahan-winning newsletter.
“I was able to increase the open rate by 7.5 percent overall, compared to the year prior, and I did that with a more strategic approach to content and distribution timing,” Farland says. “I am so proud that our Chapter was able to win this award and very happy to see that the hard work of myself and others really paid off.”
PRSSA Kent also was recognized as a Star Chapter, and Kent State’s Bateman Blue team, which won an honorable mention in the 2021 PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition earlier this year, was honored. Additionally, student Ray Bukhari, the Chapter's Special Events Coordinator, earned the PRSA ICON Conference Grant.
Current PRSSA President Zachary Zdanowicz, '22, says that these awards have become inspiration for the Chapter this school year.
“Winning these awards made it all feel worth it. Now, as this year's Chapter President, this recognition has driven me to make sure our Chapter is continuing on the path of success and continuously elevating our work.”