Nicole Tobias always knew about Waynesburg.
Her older sister attended when Tobias was just in the fourth grade, but even then she knew that she belonged at the university.
“I told my parents I was coming for the pizza,” Tobias said.
Years later, when it came time for her to officially make her college decision, she felt the same as many high school seniors -- completely overwhelmed by the process and unsure of what she wanted.
Lost in the midst of application season, Tobias attended a college fair, wandering from booth to booth in a swarm of other students, desperate in her search for a university that she could call home. With hands full of pamphlets distributed by large universities, Tobias felt the entire process had been unfriendly and impersonalized.
That is until when she stumbled across a booth with a spice-orange cloth and familiar faces. Waynesburg University admissions counsellors greeted Tobias and provided her special attention that the other larger institutions had not.
“They had complete focus on me and wanted to talk to me about what I wanted to do and how they could help me any way they can,” Tobias said. “They made that moment very personal for me.”
After feeling so genuinely cared for by admissions counsellors, Tobias recognized the reason her sister had selected the same university all of those years before.
“Basically, from that moment I knew I was set and that I belonged here,” Tobias said. “I could see myself at Waynesburg.”
Now a senior public relations major, Tobias is heavily involved in the Department of Communication. She acts as the president of Waynesburg University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, as well as the assistant firm director and an account executive for Red Brick Communications, a student-led public relations firm on campus.
Like many freshmen, Tobias was initially timid to get involved in extracurriculars when she first entered the university. Fate had different plans.
In just her first semester, Tobias accepted the role of public relations director for Red Brick Communications She was unaware at the time, but her early involvement would help spark the success she has been able to achieve during her time at the university.
“The Department submerges you right away,” Tobias said.
Within her involvement with PRSSA, Tobias has been able to attend conferences throughout the United States and connect with peers and professionals from throughout the public relations field.
“I’ve gained so many friends and mentors because of PRSSA,” she said.
The award-winning chapter has been recognized as a star chapter by PRSSA National, which identifies the best of the best college chapters in the society. Waynesburg University’s PRSSA chapter has also been named ‘Chapter of the Year’ by PRSA Pittsburgh for 3 consecutive years, and the Red Brick Communications firm is nationally affiliated, reserved only for the firms completing what PRSSA National identifies as exceptional work.
Through these accomplishments and her involvement within PRSSA, Tobias believes that she has been able to fulfil the society’s mission to enhance her education, build a network and launch a career within the field.
“While I do learn a lot in the classroom, I feel like I’ve learned the most through PRSSA,” she said.
Tobias admits that though it was daunting to take on leadership of such a well-established organization, she felt able to continue to grow the success of the chapter.
“Even though I felt prepared it was a big task to take on,” she said.
During her time at the university, Tobias was able to grow within the tight-knit community within the Department and excel both academically and through her extracurricular involvement.
These accomplishments have allowed her to effectively complete her job doing social media work for the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation. Being able to fulfil her passion of public relations while building up God’s kingdom has resulted in one of the most rewarding jobs Tobias has ever had, she said.
Once a freshman timid to get involved, Tobias has completely transformed during her four years of education.
“It’s crazy to think about when you took your first steps on campus and compare them to where you are now,” Tobias said. “I really wouldn’t have imagined being where I am.”
As a senior preparing to leave the Department in just a few months, Tobias feels prepared to enter the job market after her graduation. Through her involvement, she has learned that exceptional work yields exceptional results.
“Don’t be ordinary and do what’s expected,” she said. “You have to be extraordinary.”