PRSSA’s Professional Speed-networking Mixer

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Every year PRSSA collaborates as a team and creates a speed-networking mixer for all communication majors. This year, our mixer took place on Monday, March 30th at The Old Bag of Nails in Westerville, Ohio.

PRSSA’s speed-networking mixer allows all public relation professionals to socialize with Otterbein’s public relations and communication majors. We gave Otterbein students the opportunity to rotate and speak to whomever they wished in 3-minute increments.

After our event, our social media managers, Michelle Moore and Mikayla Pieper, retweeted the professionals that tweeted at our PRSSA Twitter account.

“I had a great time teaching @OtterbeinPRSSA students about @MediaSourceTV & #BrandJournalism!” said Colleen O’Morrow via Twitter @Colleen_OMorrow

Another professional, Nicolle Racey, said “A great networking event with @OtterbeinPRSSA. I’m excited about the future of our profession. #futureleaders” via Twitter @nicolleracey.

This event is always effective and helps professionals and students meet one another through mutual interests. While speaking to the professionals, students are welcome to exchange business cards, emails, and LinkedIn accounts.

Abby Dawson, Vice President of PRSSA, said, “The PRSSA mixer was a great way to meet professionals. We all had a great time networking and meeting new people. It was a really great opportunity.”

Another PRSSA member, Alora Slak, said, “The PRSSA mixer was a great, stress-free way to interact and network with professionals. The mixer allowed for a relaxed and non-intimidating atmosphere. It was a lot of fun and opened up a world of opportunities.”

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Pictures and blog entry by: Alli Bates

How an agency visit changed my vision of public relations

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By:  Mikayla Pieper ’17
Otterbein PRSSA Social Media Manager
My name is Mikayla Pieper, and I’m a sophomore public relations major with a minor in political science at Otterbein University.  My main goal is to work on political campaigns as a communications director or something along those lines in the future.  I have a strong interest in governmental communications and never really thought about broadening my horizons to a public relations agency like Fahlgren Mortine… that is, until I visited.

I am a member of Otterbein PRSSA and newly elected social media manager for the Chapter, and I learned of the “field trip” to Fahlgren Mortine through attending meetings.  I really hesitated on going because a public relations agency is not where I specifically envisioned myself working at after graduation, but I was urged to simply try it out, so I did.

Keep in mind, my dream is to work on a campaign, and although they look glamorous on television, that is far from the truth.  I interned for a campaign recently and was working on a fold-up table in the basement of an old church; not exactly glamorous, right?

As soon as I walked into Fahlgren Mortine, I knew it was going to be a complete 180 degree turn from what I was used to.  The building and décor were all very modern and welcoming.  The associates and tour guide were all very kind and enthusiastic about showing almost 20 of of us Otterbein students around the building as soon as we walked in.

I knew that agencies dealt with many different types of communications and marketing, but after my tour, Fahlgren Mortine changed my vision of what I thought a public relations agency was.  All employees I talked to had nothing but good things to say about the company and expressed their love for what they do.  We toured the advertising, marketing, communications and customer relations departments and were taught how they are all woven together to achieve a common goal: help the customer succeed.

So this “field trip” taught me a lot. It showed me what an agency really was and what kind of work gets accomplished there.  It also inspired me to find a job that I love and feel passionate about, just like the associates at Fahlgren Mortine.  Last but not least, it taught me to be open minded when searching for internships and jobs.  I had my mind made up on what I wanted to do in life, but now that I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone and experienced another avenue of public relations, I have learned to explore new routes in the communication field, and I am excited to see what the future has in store.

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Thanks so much to Fahlgren Mortine and its staff members
for giving Otterbein PRSSA members a great experience!
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Photos by Dan Steinberg, Otterbein PRSSA Faculty Adviser

Running for an A

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Running for an A

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By:  Kerigan McNamara ’17, Otterbein PRSSA Member
Stacy Rosenberger ’16

When the students of the 8 a.m. Public Relations for Non-profit Organizations course walked into their first class of Spring semester, they got a real eye-opener when they were told that nearly half of their course grade would depend on how well their organizational and communication skills attracted runners to sign up for the Skeeter Stomp 5k Run & 1 Mile Walk, a community event they knew nothing about.  This early morning revelation was just as effective as a double latte!

“I believe strongly in Otterbein’s initiative regarding experiential learning whereby students learn by experience,” PRSSA Faculty Adviser Dan Steinberg, APR said, who teaches the course. “My assigning a portion of each student’s grade based on the number of Skeeter Stomp registrants is a professional-world extension of evaluation.”

Otterbein University, Church of the Master and Church of the Messiah United Methodist are partnering to host the race at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. This race will benefit Imagine No Malaria, an initiative dedicated to the prevention and treatment of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal is to raise $5,000 and have 250 participants.

Although malaria is 100 percent preventable, it continues to kill one person in Sub-Saharan Africa every 60 seconds.  Just one day after World Malaria Day on April 25, the Skeeter Stomp will offer Westerville and central Ohio community members, as well as past and present Otterbein students, the chance to help Imagine No Malaria as it strives to beat malaria once and for all.

“Not only is [the class’s] involvement bringing more awareness to the Imagine No Malaria cause, but it’s also great real-world experience,” said alumna Megan Ford ’10, leader of the Skeeter Stomp steering committee.

The public relations students have been planning for the event since January, and they will continue to work on it until race day.

Adam Piccin, president of Otterbein University’s Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America, is taking the course and said having his grade depend on the outcome of the event is stressful, but it also has its benefits.

“It provides us as students a lot of autonomy in gaining real-world experience and insight into planning and executing an event from start to finish,” Piccin said. “This assignment definitely motivates our class to utilize our professional skills, and it is great preparation for upcoming internships and jobs that a textbook cannot compete with.”

“Otterbein alumni have the opportunity to support a great cause and help make a successful event,” Ford said. “We hope to see many alumni come out to the event with their friends and family to raise money for Imagine No Malaria and help the students get an A for the project.”

This unique, off-road race will take place on Otterbein’s cross country course. Alumni are needed to help reach the goal, to register or learn more about the Skeeter Stomp, click here.

Monetary donations for the cause are also appreciated. Check can be written to Church of the Master, Skeeter Stomp in memo line and mailed to Church of the Master, Attn: Megan Ford, missions, 24 N. Grove St., Westerville, OH, 43081.

You can also keep up with with Skeeter Stomp news by following the Skeeter Stomp on social media:FacebookTwitter and Instagram at @SkeeterStomp.

Otterbein PRSSA elects 2015-2016 executive board

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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:

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Otterbein PRSSA President Adam Piccin ’15 hands off the title to Alli Bates ’16.
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Vice President Bailey Walker ’15 congratulates the new vice president, Abby Dawson ’17.
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Kerigan McNamara ’17 will take over Dawson’s past position as secretary.
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Bates introduces the two new public relations directors:
Courtney Kilmer ’17 and Brian Hammel ’18.
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Social Media Committee members salute the two new social media managers:
sophomores Mikayla Pieper and Michelle Moore.
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Graduating senior Alicia Contrascier hands off her title as treasurer to Audrey Vrancken ’17.
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Byron Brenneman ’16 keeps his title as historian for the second consecutive term.
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CONGRATULATIONS
to the new executive board leaders!

Otterbein PRSSA earns Pacesetter Chapter Recognition

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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.

There 
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.

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

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Internship Experience

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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

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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.

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