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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Only after she had time to finish the interview, drive home, have dinner and relax did Ashley Clark, a junior Waynesburg University marketing major and accounting minor, acknowledge the phrase that had been buzzing around in her head all day. 

“Every day is an interview,” a piece of advice imparted by Clark’s Waynesburg University accounting professor Joshua Chicarelli, resonates in all aspects of her life. Clark believes that each day is a generous gift from God and therefore treats all of her interactions as a means to make a lasting impression. 

That advice served her well that day and throughout the days of her upcoming internship with 84 Lumber Company.

“An education at Waynesburg not only prepares you for your career, it also offers a close-knit experience with professors and advisors, which is crucial for development and preparation in the work world,” she said. “A professor personally recommended that I apply for an internship at 84 Lumber. He saw the position and told me that my skills would fit well there.”

And fit well, they did. Clark impressed 84 Lumber with her “quiet confidence” and strong character, resulting in a summer-long marketing coordinator internship at the company’s corporate headquarters in Eighty Four, Pa. 

“They told me that a lot of applicants all have the same qualities and skill levels, but they were looking for something different,” Clark said. “Confidence can make all the difference.”

Clark said her confidence came from practice and the knowledge that her Waynesburg University education could hold its ground in a fast-paced corporate marketing environment.  

“After interning for a couple of months, my boss told me that I was chosen because I researched the company and could confidently answer questions, as well as ask my own questions at the end of the interview,” she said. “I would not have been so prepared without Waynesburg.” 

At 84 Lumber, Clark created and managed a multi-departmental and 30-store-spanning advertising calendar that allowed her to keep track of the company’s advertising needs, contracts and costs. She proofed and sent ads to local and regional newspapers and sent weekly updates to concerned parties. 

“A lot of money is spent on advertising, and it is important that all the ads are created correctly and are on time,” Clark said. “I was really able to showcase my organization skills and I enjoyed working with various departments, store managers and newspaper representatives.”

She also served as the contact person and organizing manager of the annual 84 Lumber Boy Scout Golf Outing event and helped to plan a customer event for more than 400 people. Throughout the summer, she fulfilled ad requests from many of the chains’ 250 store locations across the United States.

One of Clark’s favorite experiences was volunteering alongside her 84 Lumber coworkers as they partnered with Rebuilding Together and the Pittsburgh Steelers to rebuild a veteran’s home in the area.

“I continue to believe that it is essential to incorporate serving into a business organization because it helps to stay you humble and thankful,” she said. 

In December 2014, Clark will graduate a semester early and begin working in retail marketing and advertising at Lowry's Western Shop in Washington, Pa. She will create and manage the shop’s advertisements throughout the year, bringing with her a wealth of advertising experience from her 84 Lumber internship and from selling advertisements for the campus newspaper, the Waynesburg University Yellow Jacket.  

Her internship became the culminating point for moving forward into a new semester with enthusiasm and energy, and eventually on to a job with that same disposition. 

“All of a sudden, it just clicked that my purpose at Waynesburg University is so much more than just going to class and learning,” she said. “It is making friendships in unfamiliar places, connecting and networking. It is being brave and being myself. It is an interview every day and a chance to make something out of myself. We have that opportunity every day that God lets us wake up in the morning, so why not make the most out of it all?” 

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Digiandomenico_Kyle_6.JPGFor his passion for service, Waynesburg University awarded Kyle Digiandomenico the prestigious Bonner Scholarship as an incoming freshman. Now three years later, the junior psychology major credits the scholarship for not only allowing him to become a better servant leader, but also for helping to earn him a summer 2013 internship at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.  

“I used many techniques I learned in my psychology classes,” Digiandomenico said. “But without experience from many of the sites I serve at through the Bonner Scholar Program, I would not have been equipped to pursue the internship.”

Waynesburg is one of only 23 higher education institutions in the nation to award the Bonner Scholarship, which offers scholarships to approximately 15 incoming scholars each year. The scholarship requires awardees to perform eight to 10 hours of community service each week, as well as two summers dedicated to serving. 

For Digiandomenico, a summer at the Clinic counted toward the Bonner Scholar Program’s summer service requirement, while also fitting within his academic pursuits. According to Evan Kephart, the Interim Coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program, Digiandomenico embodies what Waynesburg University means by “service learning.” 

“There is a huge difference between service and service learning,” Kephart, a former Waynesburg University Bonner Scholar himself, said. “When a student is able to serve within their selected field of study, they are able to take the knowledge and skills they have learned in the classroom and bring them to bear in solving social or environmental issues. That is what makes Kyle's situation so significant; he was able to use his classroom learning to serve kids at a higher level, which is exactly what the Bonner Program is about.”

Digiandomenico said that working with children and understanding the concepts from his psychology courses prepared him for work as an undergraduate group counselor at the Clinic. He worked with Cleveland Clinic’s Summer Treatment Program for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to help modify behaviors, develop problem solving skills and enable them to take control of their behavior.  

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. The Summer Treatment Program (STP) is a seven-week behavior modification program that helps children, adolescents and their families learn to manage ADHD. 

“I was assigned two specific children from our group of 10,” Digiandomenico said. “I created individual goals, requirements and plans for them. I was responsible for labeling the negative behaviors, documenting them on a chart and creating goals that we tailored to the specific frequency of negative behaviors.” 

As a part-time basketball coach for the Clinic, he worked to develop positive social interactions between the children in the classroom, a typical setting and an athletic setting. He also hosted daily therapy sessions for the children during which they could discuss anything they wanted. 

“My favorite part was getting to know the children on a deeper level,” Digiandomenico said. “It was a great experience to understand what the children were struggling with at that point in their lives and it was so exciting to work with them one on one to come up with skills to solve those problems.”

Digiandomenico relied on his faith, developed in the heart and nurtured at Waynesburg University, to step outside of his comfort zone and apply for an internship with young people experiencing ADHD. 

“It was very challenging to work with attention deficient children, but I gained a new understanding of patience and problem solving skills,” he said. “I had learned the techniques in class, I had served several populations and I was discovering God’s will for me. Serving at the Clinic was an opportunity for me to tie all three aspects of my life together in real practice.” 

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Melissa-Yoder-resized.jpgAs a student worker in the Career Services Office at Waynesburg University, Melissa Yoder saw plenty of internship postings land on her desk. She posted them, promoted them, filed them and, for one in particular, applied. In the spring of 2013, the senior finance major noticed an open position at Jacobs Petroleum Products, Inc. in Waynesburg, Pa., and pursued the internship. 

From her first interview with the company, Yoder was impressed. She knew that she could learn quite a bit about business from the local start-up specializing in on-site delivery to drilling sites in the tri-state area. They, too, were so impressed with her interview and resume that they hired her for the summer and fall of 2013. 

Yoder, who serves as the secretary for both the Student Investment Club and EnActUS, the Waynesburg University business club, enjoyed the family-owned atmosphere and learning from her supervisors in a meeting setting. 

“As a finance major, sitting in on the credit meetings gave me a better look at some finance-related issues that will help me in my future,” Yoder said. “I also was able to sit in on a few management meetings which gave me a better insight on how a small family owned business is run.” 

She felt most challenged by the jargon and lingo related to the oil industry, but learned how to communicate about the company and its operations. 

“Fuel isn’t known as just fuel in this business,” Yoder said. “Since I was entering billing information, I had to learn the different types of fuel and what they can be referred to, the numbers that corresponded with them, all of the numbers for the trucks owned by Jacobs and the account numbers for all of the businesses and individuals we provide with fuel.”

With so many numbers to track, calculate and record, Yoder employed the knowledge gained in her classes at Waynesburg University. She also managed her time well due to experience in extra-curricular activities on campus. 

“Having a business computer class is probably what helped me the most,” Yoder said. “I was able to put anything they wanted into a spreadsheet on excel or quickly format a letter to fit on letterhead.  Being the president of Habitat and involvement in other clubs helped me to manage many different tasks and responsibilities.” 

She also took time to remind herself daily of “not only the University she was representing, but also God” and His wishes for her. 

“It was important for me to keep my testimony and try to show my coworkers what a student from a Christian University should act like,” Yoder said. “I can definitely say I know how to handle myself in a work environment now. I have seen myself grow to be a more independent person.”

 

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Hoping to maximize her internship experience, Kaitlin Oliver, a senior nursing major at Waynesburg University, thoughtfully considered where she might develop the most expertise during the summer of 2013. At her interview for a prestigious student nurse intern position at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Oliver was asked to choose two departments in which she wanted to work. 

“At the time, I had no idea which to select, so I asked the supervisor on which floors she thought I would learn the most,” Oliver said. “The majority of students select the intensive care units. However, I was skeptical because those patients are extremely ill; so I did not think I would get the opportunity to do much for the patients as a student.”

Impressed by Oliver’s commitment to absorbing the most out of the experience, the supervisor suggested that she work on the transplant or the neurosurgery, trauma and orthopedic unit, both of which are internationally recognized. Shortly after she jotted those down and left the interview, Oliver was offered the position. 

“The internship gave me the opportunity to work 12-hour shifts, which is what is expected in the real world,” Oliver said. “Working 12 hours allowed me to see everything that a nurse does in a typical day including receiving reports, making initial assessments, administering morning medications, acknowledging orders, providing patient education, providing discharge instructions, completing documentation and much more.”

At the internship, Oliver worked alongside a registered nurse to which she was assigned the first day of orientation. 

“I got the opportunity to do all of the tasks and skills that the registered nurse did, with a one-on-one relationship,” Oliver said. “I felt as though the nurse valued me and made me feel more like a nurse than I ever have before.”  

The nurse trusted Oliver to perform many tasks independently due to the student’s excellent preparation and advanced bedside manner. During the summer, Oliver cared diligently for a small boy who couldn’t breathe on his own. Given the tasks of suctioning, flushing his IV, providing his feedings through his gastrostomy tube, and much more for the child, Oliver said her heart ached for him. Her love for God’s children shone through her care, compassion and expertise.

“The Waynesburg University Nursing Department teaches the importance of providing holistic care, which sets it apart from other nursing schools,” Oliver said. “While caring for my patients, I realized that I wanted to care for my patients beyond their physiological needs; I wanted to care for them emotionally, spiritually and socially. My goal was to serve my patients as if it were one of my loved ones lying in that hospital bed.”

That experience, and many others throughout the summer, reminded her of why she wanted to be a nurse. Many people, including Christina Miser, an instructor of nursing at Waynesburg University and Oliver’s clinical adviser, believe that the profession fits her perfectly. 

“Kaitlin is always enthusiastic and is eager to learn, absorb new information and apply it to future experiences,” Miser said. “Her achievements thus far reflect her hard work; I believe she has placed herself in a position to be successful in whatever avenue of nursing she chooses.” 

Though that avenue is still undetermined, Oliver knows that she has both the skills and the confidence to excel in her chosen profession. 

 “At the internship, I was proud to be representing Waynesburg University. I had a lot of nurses ask me where I go to school because they were impressed with what I knew,” Oliver said. “Being a student nurse intern exposed me to situations that caused me to critically think and problem solve.  It reassured me that I chose the right career path, and I cannot wait to do something that I love for the rest of my days.” 

 

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