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b2ap3_thumbnail_Monogram Small.jpgThe first annual John C. Knox Writing Contest was held Sat., Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m. on the campus of Waynesburg University under the director of Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of Communication at Waynesburg University. The contest was free and open to high school students in grades 10 to 12 within the tri-state area interested in writing or journalism. The Observer Publishing Company sponsored this event. Cash prizes were awarded to the winners.

Following registration, students were welcomed and given instructions, followed by an hour-long news conference with Lanny Frattare, former Pittsburgh Pirates announcer and assistant professor of communication at Waynesburg University. The students then had a two-hour session to write a feature article based on that information. 

The students’ articles were judged by local newspaper journalists and editors from the Observer-Reporter as well as members of Waynesburg University's Department of Communication and the University's student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. 

The winners are as follows:

•First-place winner: Joseph Wilkinson of Pittsburgh, senior at Mt. Lebanon High School

•Second-place winner: Alex McCann of Freedom, senior at Eden Christian Academy

•Third-place winner: Katie Siple of Spring Grove, senior at York Catholic High School

The winners showed praiseworthy examples of a journalistic feature article. The first-place winner received $500 and his article will be published in the award-winning Waynesburg University student newspaper, the Yellow Jacket. Second-place received $300 and third-place, $200. All participants were awarded a t-shirt.

“It was a very tough task to choose the winners,” said Szuminsky. “The quality of work these students produced is very impressive. It was encouraging to see so many young people committed to journalism and quality writing. We hope all the participants continue this commitment throughout their high school career and into college and beyond.”

Next year’s John C. Knox Writing Contest will be held in Fall 2015. 

For more information, contact Brandon Szuminsky at 724-852-3427 or email bszumins@waynesburg.edu.

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11-12-megan-bayles.jpgWaynesburg University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter president Megan Bayles recently received first place in a national public relations scholarship competition. 

Bayles, a junior public relations major from Carmichaels, Pa., is the first student from Southwestern Pennsylvania to have received the Betsy Plank PRSSA Scholarship. The award is granted annually to three public relations students who demonstrate dedication to the field, practical experience, academic excellence and proven leadership. 

“This scholarship award is one of the most distinguished student awards given by PRSSA,” said Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication, assistant professor of communication and faculty adviser to the PRSSA Chapter. “This award affirms all that Megan has accomplished in our chapter in a very short period of time.” 

Winners were recently announced at the PRSSA National Conference in Washington, D.C. For first place, Bayles received a $5,000 award.

“The entire event felt surreal. I was happy, excited, proud and honored, all at the same time,” Bayles said. “Since discovering all of the PRSSA scholarship opportunities and joining Waynesburg's Chapter, it has been my goal to apply for and win one of these prestigious awards.” 

Betsy Plank was the first woman to lead the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) President in 1973. She was chair of the U.S. Section of International Public Relations Association and co-chaired the 1987 commission to develop guidelines for the undergraduate public relations curriculum in U.S. colleges and universities.

“Betsy Plank is an inspiration to all aspiring public relations professionals, especially women,” Bayles said. “To have been awarded the opportunity to help carry on her amazing legacy is such a blessing.”   

Upon graduation from Waynesburg University, Bayles hopes to work in corporate public relations and obtain a Master’s degree in a communication-related field.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2014-10-23-at-10.44.40-AM.pngWaynesburg University’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was awarded the Star Chapter Award for meeting specific chapter and professional development goals for the second consecutive year.

“It is especially gratifying to achieve this accomplishment in consecutive years given we have just begun our fifth year as a chapter,” said Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication and faculty adviser to Waynesburg’s Chapter of PRSSA. “We are well ahead of the long-term goals and objectives that we established for the public relations major and the PRSSA chapter when we first started the process.”

The Public Relations Student Society of America National Committee evaluates the performance of PRSSA chapters and awards the recognition to chapters that meet at least eight of the following 10 requirements:

  • Conduct a high school outreach session and/or promote Affiliate membership to a nearby community college
  • Confirm attendance by at least one Chapter member at National Conference, National Assembly, a Regional Conference or Leadership Rally
  • Confirm that at least 10 percent of graduating seniors applied for PRSA Associate Membership
  • Confirm that at least one Chapter member applies for an individual National PRSSA scholarship or award
  • Confirm that the Chapter applied for at least one national PRSSA award
  • Extend an invitation to students/faculty from other disciplines to attend at least one Chapter meeting
  • Gain positive attention for the Chapter in at least one campus or community publication or other media
  • Give attention to ethics in at least one chapter meeting
  • Initiate and complete at least one community service project
  • Strengthen the Chapter’s relationship with its Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) sponsor chapter

In just its fifth year of existence, Waynesburg’s Chapter of PRSSA is one of 328 schools nationally associated with PRSSA, the student counterpart of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Waynesburg’s Chapter was one of 31 from around the country honored with Star Chapter status.

“This recognition means that our Chapter is one of the best in the nation,” said Megan Bayles, junior public relations major and the president of Waynesburg’s Chapter of PRSSA. “This award shows that we are doing things right, and we are offering our members all of the opportunities needed to succeed in the fast-paced world of public relations.”

Bayles added that receiving the Star Chapter Award reflects the hard work and dedication of the Chapter’s members and executive board.

“Gaining the honor of Star Chapter is not an easy feat to accomplish,” said Bayles. “It takes motivated members with innovative ideas and strong work ethics as well as strong and active leadership from advisers and our executive board. I feel so blessed to be part of a chapter with such great potential and such amazing members.”

The Chapter’s next goals are to apply for the Dr. F.H. Teahan Chapter Awards sponsored by PRSSA as well as to obtain National Affiliation for the Chapter’s student-run firm, Red Brick Communications.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Last year at this time I was disembarking the Semester at Sea M.V. Explorer in Antalya, Turkey. The next three days were spent soaking up the sun on Turkey’s absolutely gorgeous beaches with an iced mint tea in hand. Fast forward one year, and I’m sitting at my Hasbro desk working with a team leader on what could possibly be one of the biggest portfolio pieces of my career thus far.

It’s not Turkey, but I’d say its better.

Due to the confidential nature of the piece, I cannot disclose exactly what it is. However, I can tell you that it is extremely important to promoting the company’s incredibly positive public image. This is what I love about my majors.

I can promote the company’s mission and positive public relations using graphic design. While the writing in a design is the meat of the message, the artwork is the first impression. You know what they say - “first impressions last.” It’s my job as a graphic designer to make that first impression a good one. From there, the reader/viewer can delve into the writing with the exact mindset and message that we want them to have.

This week also brought the development of another important project. I am now in charge of rethinking and redesigning the main Hasbro building’s internal directional signage. The building itself is the size of a standard city square block.

On account of the size, getting around is difficult without prior directional knowledge. I started my inventory of what signs we already have and where there is a lack of directional signage. I will be working on every aspect of this project from planning to working with the printer to make sure every sign comes out exactly the way I want it. 

Now, seven weeks in to my internship, I have made many friends with coworkers and become very comfortable with the company culture. Spontaneous inner-cubicle Nerf gun wars helped with that (Hasbro and Nerf are Franchise/Partner Brands).  

I look forward to continuing my projects next week and enjoying the holiday weekend, even though I’ll be spending it in Rhode Island and not somewhere off in the Mediterranean.

See you next week.

Brittany Semco is a senior design and public relations major at Waynesburg University.

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The first day of summer not only brought with it more tourists and typical Rhode Island beach traffic, but the further development of my logo project at Hasbro (detailed in my last entry). It seems that after the first two options I make for every design, I hit a major roadblock. See what I did there. It takes some deep thought and usually a fresh start to get to a point where the idea is finally “outside of the box.”

Some research on shapes and typography led me to a place where I could start to process exactly what message the company needed to convey with the logo and an idea that I believed would maximize the name of the entity with its mission and purpose (of which I cannot disclose). 

Because of the helpful nature of Waynesburg University’s professors, I was able to send my advisers and a mentor my logo prototype and get some excellent feedback. From there, I was able to improve the logo more than what I ever expected. Getting this feedback and “peer review” was a necessary step before sending the logo to my supervisor at Hasbro. It probably saved my supervisor a lot of time because now I can give him/her the best option possible.

The logo design process for this particular logo helped me tremendously in the process of another, which was given to me last week. I have already made strides toward what I think is a good option for the team. Time and more thought will tell if that is true.

During these last two weeks I have also had the opportunity to take some short online classes. When I had time between projects, I would take some of these classes and I have already learned more than I thought a video could teach me. I learned the science behind product photography and positioning objects in ways that make sense for say, a catalog or an advertisement. 

I learned about designing online portfolios in preparation for the design of my own to showcase all I have done during this terrific internship. I also learned that different shapes influence the feel of a logo. For instance, a circle conveys the idea of flow and movement, while a square gives the impression of structural integrity and rigidness. So a circle may be good for a medical facility to convey its current and dynamic nature, while an academic institution would benefit from a square logo to show its structured nature.

Most importantly, during these past few weeks I have learned the value of dedication to a project. It may seem that your first idea is awesome, but I promise you, the next one will be better because you have given the subject matter more thought.  Stay tuned for next week.

Brittany Semco is a senior design student at Waynesburg University. 

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