Otterbein PRSSA elects 2015-2016 executive board

Otterbein PRSSA elects 2015-2016 executive board

By:  Adam Piccin ’15
Otterbein PRSSA President

After Otterbein PRSSA held elections on March 17, Chapter members elected a new executive board to begin to take office in April.  The month of April will serve as a transition month where newly elected members will be phased into their new positions while working with the person who has held the position last.

One noteworthy change to the executive board is that two new positions have been added.  Instead of one public relations director and one social media manager, the Chapter will now have two of each.  With the recent expansion this past year, the hope is that the Chapter will continue its growth.

But without further adieu, past executive board members will now introduce Otterbein PRSSA’s newly elected executive board members:


Otterbein PRSSA President Adam Piccin ’15 hands off the title to Alli Bates ’16.

Vice President Bailey Walker ’15 congratulates the new vice president, Abby Dawson ’17.

Kerigan McNamara ’17 will take over Dawson’s past position as secretary.

Bates introduces the two new public relations directors:
Courtney Kilmer ’17 and Brian Hammel ’18.

Social Media Committee members salute the two new social media managers:
sophomores Mikayla Pieper and Michelle Moore.

Graduating senior Alicia Contrascier hands off her title as treasurer to Audrey Vrancken ’17.

Byron Brenneman ’16 keeps his title as historian for the second consecutive term.

to the new executive board leaders!

Otterbein PRSSA earns Pacesetter Chapter Recognition

By: Adam Piccin ’16
Otterbein PRSSA President

Otterbein PRSSA is proud to announce that our Chapter has earned the Pacesetter Chapter Recognition from PRSSA National for success in the areas of membership, national participation and Chapter development in the month of February 2015.

“The national award shows how hard this PRSSA Board has worked on behalf of its chapter members,” Faculty Adviser Dan Steinberg, APR said.  “Students want to be a part of, and take part in, our chapter activities, and that goes back to the dedication this board has to making Otterbein PRSSA an active, vibrant pre-professional experience.”

The month of 
February has marked several new achievements.  Otterbein PRSSA increased membership by a 
staggering 60 percent in the fall, but targeting underclassmen this spring was effective in increasing 
Chapter membership another 23 percent this spring.

Additionally, Otterbein PRSSA has implemented 
a new award program called “Member Spotlight” to recognize members for “outstanding contributions” 
to the Chapter.  This program recognizes three members starting this semester from different education 
and PRSSA experience levels, so any member is capable of earning this award.  This develops the Chapter by 
thanking those who go above and beyond their roles while also inspiring others to follow suit.

was also a communication department open house this month in which several PRSSA members were 
present in this form of high school outreach to promote PRSSA and Otterbein University’s 
communication department to prospective students.

Last but not least, on Feb. 9, Otterbein PRSSA co-sponsored 
an Etiquette Dinner.  This campus event has been cancelled for several semesters due to lack of 
registrants, but with PRSSA’s help, 35 students registered and the event was a success.

Otterbein PRSSA hopes to continue to develop as a Chapter and keep up trends set this semester.  For more information on the award, go to the PRSSA website.


Thank you to all Otterbein PRSSA members
and advisers for your hard work!

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Internship Experience


By: Eva Zielinski ’15
Otterbein PRSSA Twitter Manager

At some point during or after your college experience, you will eventually be encouraged or required to complete an internship.  Interning can be an excellent opportunity because it will provide you with real hands-on experience for certain career fields.  It can also assist you in figuring out what it is you would like to do when you are seeking employment after graduation.

My experience with my first internship was in summer 2014 at Safelite Autoglass as an internal communications intern.  I was a paid intern and was hired full time, so this was my first taste of the adult working world, and I learned far more than I ever expected to.  For those of you seeking an internship, here are some tips from my internship experience:

1.   Arrive early.

You want to make a positive impression as often as possible, and being early to the job is a good way to start.  By being timely, you will let your supervisors and co-workers know that you can both reliable and responsible.  This shows that you are a dedicated individual that took the extra time to wake up early, put yourself together and fight the traffic to make good time.

2.   Dress for success.

You may think this one is obvious, but since modern fashion is constantly shifting, the idea of what is considered professional and what is not has been changing. Always ask what the dress criteria are or take a look around you to see what everyone else is wearing.  Always be professional, even if you are over-dressed.  It’s much better to be the best dressed intern rather than being under-dressed, so save the jeans for casual Fridays (if allowed).

3.   Be productive with free time.

Since this is an internship, think of it as a test drive for a real career position.  But since you are in a position that is technically temporary, there will be some days that go by slowly because you may not have as much work to do as full-time employees.  If you find yourself bored with nothing to do, don’t automatically resort to looking at your phone to pass time.

Use this time to your advantage to get organized.  Whenever I had some down time, I would use it to read up on professional blogs, establish my own portfolio, dust off and update my LinkedIn and clean out my email accounts.  If you ever feel like you have too much free time, never hesitate to ask around to see if you can help someone with something.

4.   Socialize when appropriate.

Getting to know who you are working with is essential to making your internship experience an enjoyable one.  Usually, you will get to know everyone by name and see what they do in relation to yourself.  Just keep in mind that you were hired to work, so keep the small talk to a minimum, and socialize when appropriate at meetings or lunch breaks.  You also don’t want to be bothering others while they have things to do, as well.

5.   Don’t goof off on social media.

It is a digital age where social media is now a significant part in professional and social settings. Everyone has accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Since you are an intern, it’s best not to be on these while you are working unless it is part of your job.  Even if you see other people around you checking their phones and sneaking a peek at their newsfeeds, it’s not worth conforming to the stereotypical young person that can’t keep their focus.  You also don’t want to have your supervisor walk in on you to see you looking at someone’s photos when there is work to be done.  Show some discipline, and keep the browsing on social media to a minimum.

6.   Ask questions!

When you are hired as an intern, everyone knows you are either a student or a recent graduate.  Therefore, you are not expected to just waltz in the first week and automatically know exactly what to do. Your supervisors and co-workers should be understanding and patient while you are in the learning process of how to perform your duties in this position.

However, if you are working on something and get stuck, always ask for help.  Don’t just sit there in hopes that the answer will come to you.  Never be too proud to ask questions; that’s how you will learn.

7.   Stay positive, and be yourself.

Your experience will be so much better with a positive attitude. It’s one of the most powerful attributes that an intern can possess.  Sometimes work can be a bit stressful, but staying cool under pressure and keeping  a smile can make all the difference in how you address problems.  You also don’t have to put on a constant professional robotic display for your personality. People appreciate those who can balance being themselves and while maintaining a professional persona.  Part of this experience is to integrate yourself into the company

8.   Be flexible.

Plans are constantly changing in the working world, and it’s best to know how to change with them.  Everyone has a busy schedule, but it’s important to develop a sense of understanding to work around conflict.  Interns who are able to adapt to shifting priorities are considered a valuable asset – above and beyond their skills and experience.  Being able to adjust to shifts in organizational dynamics is absolutely necessary.

9.   Share ideas, and take on more responsibilities.

Never hesitate to share your ideas or to offer to take on new projects.  You may be the youngest person there, but that doesn’t mean you are any less valuable to the organization you are working for.  Your opinion is still valued just as much as anyone else’s, so don’t be nervous to speak up in meetings.  If you feel confident in your abilities, you can also offer to take on more work.  Don’t overwhelm yourself and know when you have enough to do, but branching out of your comfort zone when it comes to your work responsibilities is a sure way to stand out.  Supervisors will appreciate an intern who is open to trying new things and has a willingness to learn.

10.   Keep in touch after your internship!

As I said earlier, an internship is usually temporary and will end after a certain amount of time depending on your situation.  Personally, I think this is one of the most important tips I learned from my experience, which is to keep in touch.

Always reach out after your internship is over to ask about the organization and to see how everyone is doing.  I find it prudent to send hand-written thank you notes and to go out on a positive note.  Every five to six weeks or so, I send out an email to my former supervisor and co-workers to keep my networking skills up to date while maintaining professional relations. You never know when an internship opportunity could turn into a full-time career, so be sure to stay connected!


American Red Cross speaker visits Otterbein PRSSA


By: Adam Piccin ’16
Otterbein PRSSA President

“Your dream job is out there,” Megan Ford, communications programs manager at the American Red Cross, said at Otterbein PRSSA’s first spring semester meeting on Jan. 26.

An Otterbein University alumna, Ford graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.  She initially studied to become a nurse, but said she “fell into public relations because someone said [she] would be good at it.”

Ford said determination is key to getting where you want to go, and setting goals along the way is important.  Other “lessons learned” she highlighted in her presentation for Otterbein students included find a mentor, take on internships, keep a positive attitude and follow your passion.

This was the first PRSSA meeting newly-declared public relations major Michelle Moore ’17 attended.  Similar to Ford’s story, Moore just changed majors from nursing to public relations this semester.

“Megan’s story has shown me that it is possible to fall in love with your major all over again,” Moore said.  “The information she provided at the meeting helped me realize just because one door closes, it doesn’t mean it’s the end.  It is only the beginning to a whole new journey, one I am ready to take with a new group of faculty, fellow students and alumni I know are here to help me along the way.”

Otterbein PRSSA’s next meeting will be a general meeting on Monday, Feb. 2 in Roush 429.



Otterbein PRSSA sees increase in membership


By: Adam Piccin ’16
Otterbein PRSSA President
In the summer of 2014, Adam Piccin and Bailey Walker, Otterbein PRSSA’s president and vice president respectively, met with PRSSA faculty adviser Dan Steinberg to establish fall semester goals and objectives.

The main objective of the fall 2014 semester was to increase membership by 15 members.  With many members up for renewal, Otterbein PRSSA leaders hoped to keep those members coming back while also drawing in a new crowd of students.

“Dan, Adam and I did a lot of planning over the summer, and we came up with a comprehensive strategic plan as to how to accomplish the goals and objectives we set,” Walker said.  “Considering Otterbein’s small size, we thought our goals were ambitious, but possible.”

This time last year, Otterbein PRSSA only had eight new members.  However, this fall, Otterbein PRSSA added 20 new members to the chapter, therefore surpassing the set objective.

With renewals added in, the grand total of Otterbein PRSSA members is now 34 members.  To compare, Otterbein PRSSA had 21 members in the spring including seniors.


Otterbein PRSSA now consists of two freshmen, eight sophomore, eight juniors, 15 seniors and one undecided.  The leaders of the chapter hope to continue chapter growth and development in the future.“We want to prove to people that joining was worth it,” Walker said.  “While we had excellent speakers this fall, we are looking forward to taking a more hands-on approach to our plans in the spring, so stay tuned for what we have planned.

Otterbein PRSSA presents a fresh new theme with an important lesson


By: Lindsey Hobbs
PRSA Professional Adviser, Online Marketing Strategist for Champion Real Estate Services
Heading back to my alma mater to library room 124, I was so happy to walk through that familiar door to a full house at an Otterbein PRSSA meeting. Granted, there was free pizza involved, but I knew that more went into this attendance than just Donatos.

This semester, the executive board of Otterbein PRSSA has designated a theme of consumer and lifestyle public relations. This is such a fresh idea for the organization, and I should know because I ran it not that many years ago. I was very impressed at the executive board’s out of the box thinking and not going for a typical agency/corporate/nonprofit curriculum for the year. Especially because the lessons that the day’s speaker, Tom Santor, executive director of brand marketing for Donatos pizza, were so applicable to the true fundamentals of public relations.

Santor talked about his experiences with placing news stories for the newest line of bacon pizzas and giving reporters what they need to help them turn around a story in the short amount of time they usually have. He talked about handling the crisis of a rogue employee on the show “Undercover Boss.” He talked about the process of research and development to get consumers to fall in love with a new type of pizza. These were great examples of some day-to-day functions of someone in the public relations profession, and I think it helped make things a little more concrete than most ideas that I remember having as a freshman and a sophomore in the major.

I look forward to seeing how Angela Sedivy, the Polaris Fashion Place’s marketing director, built upon the lessons that Santor presented. Speakers for the semester with this theme will hopefully highlight one important fact of public relations: and that is how customer service oriented it really is.

This fact was one that I did not realize until my final semester of college when I was working in the communications department for the Ohio Department of Transportation. We were doing public relations, there is no doubt about that, but we were achieving that public relations by being the communicator to the general public and making sure that their questions and concerns were always addressed. This was when I realized that brand and message control often goes hand-in-hand with customer service.

Even now, as I do online marketing for the real estate industry, I have to keep the customers in mind to achieve our ultimate goal of defining a brand. I do social media, but you know what a brand’s social media accounts are really for? Connecting with the customer. I write ad copy, but you know who I am really writing it for? The customer looking for an apartment who just needs good information, fast. I do website analytics, but you know what I am really looking for in that data? Things that need improved, so that our customers can use the site more efficiently and effectively.

Whether your brand is dealing with the general public like Donatos or the Polaris Fashion Place or it is B2B and you have a roster of clients, you are in the customer service industry just as much as you are in the communication industry. That is why we communicators are so important, after all.


Thank you for writing for our blog, Lindsey!

COMM hosts High School Media Conference


Westerville, Ohio – Hundreds of high school students converging in one area might seem to some a frightening phenomenon, but on Otterbein’s campus Oct. 14, a gathering of high school media students pointed toward a hopeful future.

For the tenth year, Otterbein’s Department of Communication hosted the Ohio Scholastic Media Association Region 5 Workshop, a day-long program giving teenagers a closer look at Otterbein’s state-of-the-art facilities through hands-on media production sessions.

The more than 300 students from 15 central and southwestern Ohio high schools were not just taking selfies and misspelling the King’s English in texts.  Instead they were learning how to take better news photographs, discussing investigative story ideas, and willingly improving their grammar.

“For a decade this workshop has been a unique opportunity for bright high school media students to experience a bit of Otterbein’s strong communication programs,” said Jean Kelly, associate professor of communication. “They attend sessions taught by our faculty and talk to current students who volunteer to help as facilitators of the event.”

Several students who have attended the event over the years have eventually enrolled in Otterbein’s communication majors, Kelly added. “We look forward to hosting this event for years to come because these teens have what it takes to become successful communicators.”