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b2ap3_thumbnail_PRSSA.jpgSeven members of the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter traveled to the PNC Park Hall of Fame Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., Tuesday, Jan. 28, to work the 2014 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards. 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 180 public relations practitioners from the Pittsburgh area. Members were also responsible for handing out the awards to the winners. 

“Having the opportunity to help plan and execute the Renaissance Awards with our parent Chapter is invaluable,” said Molly Winters, junior public relations major and the president of Waynesburg University’s PRSSA Chapter. “It shows the professionals we look up to that we are extremely dedicated and are willing to go the extra mile to get that knowledgeable experience.”

This is the second consecutive year the Waynesburg Chapter sent members to work the event after establishing a professional relationship with Dan Ayer, president of PRSA Pittsburgh and co-chair of the 2014 Renaissance Awards, in the fall of 2012. 

“Multiple members of PRSA Pittsburgh have had the opportunity to work with Waynesburg University students in the past,” said Ayer. “When it came time to look for help with our biggest and most high profile event, it was a no-brainer to ask Waynesburg.”

Because of the great impression the students made on Ayer at last year’s event, he contacted Richard Krause, chairman of the Department of Communication and faculty adviser to the Waynesburg University PRSSA, in the fall of 2013 to not only ask if his students could help work the event again, but also for an intern to take control of the call for entries and online entry submission process for the award categories. 

Jordan Mitrik, a sophomore public relations major and historian of Waynesburg University’s PRSSA Chapter, worked alongside Ayer and his team prior to the ceremony. Mitrik managed the entry process, confirmed with the Pittsburgh agencies of their entries as well as categorized them into the appropriate award sections. Once completed, the work done by Mitrik was sent to PRSA Los Angeles to judge the entries and select the winners of the 2014 PRSA Renaissance Awards. 

“The students from Waynesburg University were essential to the success of the Renaissance Awards,” said Ayer. “By knowing that we had such a dedicated and capable group to help, the board was able to focus on making the event even stronger this year.”

Not only did the students work the event, but they also had the opportunity to network with working professionals in the public relations field. Winters said getting the chance to extend the Chapter’s skills and interact with Waynesburg PRSSA’s parent Chapter at the Renaissance Awards was very beneficial. 

“Working with our parent Chapter is extremely important to us, because the work we are doing as students is going to reflect how we act as professionals one day,” said Winters. “We strive to be like our parent Chapter professionals, so working alongside them is very beneficial to us.”

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.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_PRSSA-Resized.jpgWaynesburg 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. The chapter was one of 27 from around the country honored with the prestigious award.

“This is a huge step for us at Waynesburg PRSSA,” said Molly Winters, a junior public relations major and the president of Waynesburg’s chapter of PRSSA. “We are up to par with some of the best chapters around the country.”

A chapter must meet eight of the 10 Star Chapter requirements to earn the national award.   

“The stars or requirements range from participating in Ethics Month, applying for national scholarships and holding an annual event,” said Winters. “We actually completed all 10 stars.”

In just its fourth year of existence, Waynesburg’s chapter of PRSSA is one of 328 other schools from around the country nationally associated with PRSSA, the student counterpart to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  

“To do it in three years and to do it in a chapter with approximately 25 dues-paying members, I think is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Richard Krause, the adviser for Waynesburg’s chapter of PRSSA and assistant professor and chair of the Department of Communication. “It speaks volumes to the dedication of our students.” 

Krause said that while earning Star Chapter was an objective for he and his students, it was looked at as a long-term goal because of how new Waynesburg’s chapter is.

“To achieve that in year four accelerates the plan,” said Krause. “The goal is always to get better and this program has the potential to be outstanding, given our unique mission and our talented students.” 

Moving forward, Waynesburg’s chapter of PRSSA is hoping to gain national accreditation for its student-run PR firm, Red Brick Communications. 

“There is so much potential with this chapter to do some amazing things, and we just now have to work very hard to achieve those goals,” said Krause.  

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist

724.852.7675or awise@waynesburg.edu

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With an office overlooking the busy streets of Fifth Avenue in New York, N.Y., Rebecca (Lewis) Caruso, a 1979 alumna, has traveled a long way from her days as an English major at Waynesburg College. Her experience at Waynesburg has led to a highly successful public relations career and her position as the Executive Vice President for Corporate Communications at L'Oreal USA.

 

The Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter invited Caruso to speak to students as part of the Chapter's third annual PR Week. Caruso happily accepted the invitation to speak about her career, her passion and her role as a vice president for a large company.

 

In her current role, Caruso oversees all external communications efforts, including media relations, government relations, sustainable development, philanthropy and crisis communications for L'Oreal USA. She also manages two L'Oreal programs that recognize women researchers in the field of science and advocate career opportunities in science to young women.

 

“Our programs recognize and help advance women and girls in science,” Caruso said. “As the mother of two daughters, I certainly appreciate the importance of the roles that women play in science but science is also a strong part of L'Oreal's DNA. We're all about science and over half of our scientists are women. We really walk the talk.”

 

After graduating from Waynesburg College with a bachelor's degree in English, Caruso went on to receive her graduate degree in corporate communications in 1984. Caruso started her first job as the assistant director of public relations for a Pittsburgh college. It was in this position that Caruso discovered her passion for working with the media.

 

This new found passion led Caruso to a variety of positions in the Mid-West. She worked for a number of companies in communication roles, including Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate; the world's largest public relations firm, Edelman; American Motors; Chrysler; and McDonald's. She moved back to the East Coast after joining Toys “R” Us as Vice President of Corporate Communications for six years where she built the company's first corporate communications department before ultimately accepting her current position with L'Oreal.

 

“One of the things I have liked best about my career is that I moved around a bit and have had lots of opportunities that were completely out of my comfort zone,” Caruso said. “It's been a wonderful experience.”

 

Looking back, Caruso acknowledges that her involvement and studies at Waynesburg helped prepare her to take the path to where she is today.

 

“I always think back fondly on my Waynesburg experience,” she said. “The education I received has served me well for as far as I've come.”


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Excited to make a 1,700 mile journey across the country to benefit Waynesburg University's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, two students packed their bags and set out for Albuquerque, N.M., this spring.

 

Molly Winters, a sophomore public relations major from Beaver Falls, Pa., and Brittany Semco, a sophomore public relations and design major from Jamestown, R.I., attended the 2013 PRSSA National Assembly Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7, hoping to bring valuable skills back to Waynesburg's Chapter.

 

The PRSSA National Assembly gathers every year to make influential, long-term decisions about the future of the Society. During this three-day conference, a new National Committee is elected, bylaws of the Society are reviewed and attendees are given the chance to participate in leadership training and networking.

 

Seeing their involvement with the National Assembly as a valuable resource for the Waynesburg Chapter, both Winters and Semco were eager to travel to the conference and experience everything the National Assembly had to offer.

 

“I was very honored to be able to represent Waynesburg University at a national event,” Winters said. “The opportunity left me with valuable ideas that I can share with our Chapter to better it and continue its growth. I made a lot of new friends in Chapters across the country that I can continue to share ideas with throughout the semester.”

 

Winters and Semco currently hold the positions of President and Public Relations Director, respectively, in the Waynesburg PRSSA Chapter, which was designed to enhance the education of public relations students.

 

“We are currently in only our third year as a Chapter, and we have become recognized by the PRSA Pittsburgh Chapter as one of the more aggressive and active Chapters in the region,” said Richard Krause Jr., chair of the department of communication and faculty adviser to Waynesburg University's PRSSA.

 




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Waynesburg University's students are accustomed to applying classroom concepts to real-world situations and taking learning outside of the classroom. Last month, the University's public relations students took that learning all the way to the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., for the annual Renaissance Awards.

 

The Awards, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh Chapter, showcased top regional public relations talent and awarded practitioners who excelled in the field in 2012. Waynesburg University students worked closely with the chair of the Renaissance Awards to prepare for the notable event.

 

After meeting Dan Ayer, chair of the Renaissance Awards Committee and senior account executive at Gatesman + Dave, at a November 2012 Chapter speaking engagement, Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication and Faculty Adviser to the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) offered the skills of the Chapter.

 

“I told him that we have great students who aspire to work in public relations and take advantage of any opportunities that come their way,” Krause said. “He quickly took advantage of the offer and now our students have this wonderful opportunity.”

 

Ayer coordinated with the students via email and meetings to delegate tasks and track progress. He is grateful for their “outstanding help” and applauds Waynesburg students for their volunteerism and eagerness to learn.

 

“I've had the opportunity to speak at a number of local colleges and universities across the area, but I have yet to come across a group of students positioning themselves for successful careers better than the students who make up the PRSSA Chapter at Waynesburg University,” Ayer said. “The students jump at every opportunity to learn and have exceeded my expectations every time I have interacted with them.”

 

Students arrived at the venue early to set tables with programs and favors, assemble the registration table and assist Ayer and his team with any public relations activities necessary. Mitch Graham, a senior public relations major from Meadville, Pa., worked closely with Ayer to keep a running spreadsheet of registered event guests during the holidays and managed the registration table at the event.

 

“From learning how to conduct myself in a highly professional manner to being able to talk the jargon of the industry effectively, my education and experience at Waynesburg University fully prepared me for the experience,” Graham said.

 

The Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter, a pre-professional organization possessing national membership, recently entered its third chartered year and has approximately 20 dues-paying members. Krause is confident that the Chapter will continue to grow and flourish as it continues to volunteer for events such as the Renaissance Awards.

 

Brittany Semco, a junior public relations and interactive design major from Newport, R.I., served as the event photographer's assistant throughout the evening. She helped pose people for photographs and made introductions for the photographer. She communicated her interest in photography to Ayer and received the personalized responsibility as a result.

 

“I immediately volunteered because I knew it would be an invaluable opportunity to meet public relations professionals and strengthen my skills,” Semco said. “I got to network with so many people there.”

 

Students returned from the event with business cards and contact information from respected public relations professionals, and many were encouraged to apply for summer internships by company representatives they met.

 

“Volunteering at the PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards is an excellent opportunity for students to get an inside look into the world of event planning and public relations,” Ayer said. “My hope is that each student received a positive experience and was inspired to develop the campaigns and work that will be honored at future PRSA award shows.”

 

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