While film and art majors have projects to work on, there is another program that keeps busy: public relations (PR).
Public relations students have their hands full with internships, classes and other on-campus involvement. Senior public relations majors Brianna Bell and Lindsay McGowan are familiar with the busy life of a PR major.
They both discussed how they balance the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), internships and classes.
Bell said she never waits until the last minute to complete assignments.
“It sounds cliché, but I keep a planner in order to see everything that I need to do all at once,” she said. “This allows me to plan accordingly if I know I have an important assignment due, but also need to go to my internship twice that week.”
In the 3+2 year program, Bell is working toward her bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time, which gives her a head start in preparing for her work in the real world.
Bell is a member of PRSSA and the Litore Agency, a student-run strategic communication firm, as well as completing an internship. As a part of the Litore Agency, students work on a PR campaign with a real-life client, gaining extremely beneficial experience for life after graduation.
Bell said that she feels working with the Litore Agency gave her the experience she needed to be hired at her current internship with Sony Music Entertainment and RCA Records.
McGowan, president of PRSSA, described the organization as pre-professional, focused on giving students the opportunity to gain insight into public relations and communications. In addition to hosting professional industry speakers and networking events, the organization “make[s] sure that students who join us have another asset to their portfolio.” In other words, a resume and portfolio booster.
Professor Devon Gifis is also involved in the PR program in multiple ways. She teaches PR I and II as well as Managing Reputation and Crisis. In the spring semester, she will be teaching courses, overseeing internships, advising the Bateman Competition Team and the CHAMP program offered through the University.
Gifis’ students have gained experience by taking part in an outside organization’s bi-weekly PR challenges for “real life” clients, and she feels that is where her greatest contribution has really shown its colors. In previous semesters, her class has won this challenge.
Her students’ ideas were chosen out of 142 other ideas. She continues to encourage students to submit their ideas to these challenges each semester.
The PR program continues to grow at Seton Hall. Gifis mentioned that the courses have been streamlined, new courses have been added and the department has begun to utilize the RPIE model (Research, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation).
Both Bell and McGowan saw a window of opportunity open for themselves through SHU’s public relations program. As they continue to hone their skills, they work closer toward their dream goals. Bell said she hopes to become a publicist for high profile music artists, while McGowan said she hopes to work for a global entertainment company.
Erika Szumel can be reached at email@example.com.