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National Leaders

Diversity Award Tops PRSSA Kent's List of Recognition Earned at National Conference

Members of Kent State’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA Kent) traveled to Indianapolis for the 2016 PRSSA National Conference to attend workshops on topics like job application training, chapter development, public relations skills and professional networking.

To top off the trip, the Chapter and its members won multiple national awards:

  • The Chapter was awarded the Dr. F.H. Teahan Chapter Award for Chapter Diversity and Star Chapter Award.
  • Public relations majors Hanna Moore, 17, and Brenna Parker, ‘17, both won the National President’s Citation.
  • Public relations major Gabrielle Woodard, ‘17, won the Gold Key Award.

PRSSA Kent competes with more than 300 chapters nationwide for these awards.

The Teahan Chapter Award is the highest national honor for a PRSSA chapter. PRSSA Kent received the Diversity Award for the first time this year. Only five chapters are awarded the Teahan Chapter Award, and only one receives the Diversity Award.

“Last year, our Chapter focused on increasing our diversity initiatives and started measuring the diversity of our members in various ways,” said Erin Zaranec, ‘17, public relations major and PRSSA Kent Chapter president.

During spring 2016 semester, the group collaborated with Black United Students and Modista Fashion Group to promote diversity through majors, gender and ethnicity. New community service initiatives, recruitment and programming also helped PRSSA Kent win its fifth consecutive Star Chapter Award.

All of the individual awards are given to students with significant contributions to their chapter. Specifically, the Gold Key Award, given to Woodard, is the highest individual PRSSA honor. This award is given to a student who excels in chapter leadership, academics and professional development.

The National President’s Citation Award, given to Moore and Parker, is specifically awarded to students who make significant contributions to PRSSA at the chapter and national level.

“In PRSSA, no position is small, and everyone from our officers, to our members, to our professional and faculty advisers worked to help us achieve our goals and get these awards,” said Zaranec.

At the conference, the Kent State public relations program officially received PRSA’s Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR). Associate Lecturer Timothy Roberts and Associate Professor Michele Ewing attended the presentation, where Kent State was recognized in front of the National PRSA board and the entire PRSA delegation. With this certification, Kent State is the only undergraduate public relations program in Ohio with ACEJMC accreditation and CEPR certification.

“It is representative of the quality of our program and the quality of our students,” said Roberts.

“We owed it to the students to get the CEPR accreditation because they have elevated the program. The CEPR accreditation is a reflection of that,” he said.