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b2ap3_thumbnail_headshot.jpgJordan Mitrik, a junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa., recently won the Bob O’Gara Student Scholarship from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He accepted the award at the 2015 PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards Thursday, Jan. 29. 

This is the first time that a Waynesburg student has received the award, which is given annually to one outstanding public relations student in the Pittsburgh region. Mitrik met all of the scholarship requirements including high standards of achievement in academics, involvement in extracurricular activities, evidence of personal character, leadership and citizenship and demonstrated knowledge of and interest in the profession and practice of public relations. 

“I am truly honored to represent western Pennsylvania and the participating PRSSA Chapters as the scholarship recipient,” Mitrik said. “When people mention big names in the Pittsburgh public relations market, Bob O'Gara's name is always in the mix. He is a true advocate for students and a leader in the industry. He is a role model to me and I could not be more humbled to receive this type of recognition.”

Mitrik serves as the vice president of Waynesburg’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter and as the director of Waynesburg University’s public relations student-run firm, Red Brick Communications. He works in the Office of University Relations as a student writer and as a recruiter for the University’s Department of Communication. 

In addition to his public relations responsibilities, Mitrik is president and captain of Waynesburg University's Men's Club Volleyball team, is a Leadership Scholar and is a member of Lambda Pi Eta,Waynesburg’s communication honor society. 

During his acceptance speech, Mitrik thanked God, his family, the Renaissance Awards Committee and Waynesburg University for his success. 

“It took determination, motivation and lots of coffee to bring me here today,” said Mitrik. “During moments of doubt, God was always involved. He placed me at Waynesburg University to experience these things and to bring me to this moment.” 

Eight members of the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter traveled to the event to volunteer and network. The annual ceremony celebrates the brightest stars and best work in Pittsburgh’s public relations community. 

The students arrived before the event began and assisted with set up, schedule review and prep work. During the ceremony, students managed the registration table, communicating with more than 150 public relations practitioners from the Pittsburgh area. Members were also responsible for handing out the awards to the winners. 

This is the third consecutive year the Waynesburg Chapter sent members to work the event after establishing a close connection with its parent Chapter, PRSA Pittsburgh.  

Chartered in 2010, the award-winning Waynesburg University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America strives to prepare members for their future profession through experience, opportunity and achievement.

Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Seven students from the Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication will spend part of their Christmas breaking working with Trans World Radio (TWR), an international broadcast ministry on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. The students will spend Friday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Jan. 11, assisting TWR in creating production schedules, radio lines, videos and promotional materials. 

Beth Merry, instructor of communication at the University; Chad Sherman, assistant professor of communication; Jacquelyn Core, University provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Karen Younger, assistant professor of history, will lead the team of students.

The purpose of our trip is to help carry out the mission of the University by giving our students a chance to serve God and TWR, while using the skills that that they have learned at Waynesburg,” Merry said. “They will have a chance to do international broadcasting, film and edit videos, help the missionaries with their prayer letters, write scripts, take photographs and a variety of other projects that enable them to use their specialized skills.” 

Students participating in the trip include:

•April Bellizio, junior journalism major from Monmouth, N.J. (South Brunswick High School)

•Taylor Bombalski, senior public relations major from Freeport, Pa. (Freeport Area Senior High School)

•Anthony Conn, junior electronic media major from West Sunbury, Pa. (Moniteau Junior-Senior High School)

•Kyle Dawson, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Plum Senior High School)

•Stephen Haynes, senior electronic media from Smithton, Pa. (Yough Senior High School)

•Ronald Leisie, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information major from Ellwood City, Pa. (Lincoln High School)

•Anne McGlaughlin, sophomore public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Brentwood Middle-High School)

•Jordan Mitrik, junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Catholic High School)

•Abby Pittinaro, junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Carlynton Junior-Senior High School)

•Mitchell Ross, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information from Blairsville, Pa. (Bible Baptist Christian School)

•Chelsey Withers, sophomore public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Hills High School)

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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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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