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PRSSA TAKES ON WASHINGTON D.C. BY KATIE MCKEOGH To everyone whose post-graduation goal is to be anywhere, as long as it isn’t Atlanta: take a chance on an out-of-state agency tour. I personally have attended two such trips, the recent PRSSA trip to D.C. and Grady’s domestic study trip to NYC. Both were amazing experiences, and my visit to the District has convinced me that it is the place for me. Sixteen of us were able to attend and had the opportunity to tour three agencies and two non-profit organizations, as well as shadow at an agency or organization of our choice in Washington D.C. Of the agencies, we visited Powell Tate, a public affairs and consumer PR agency, Windmeyer, an education and public affairs PR agency, and Edelman. Both Windmeyer and Edelman had a Grady grad employed, which immediately gave us all a plug into the company. Touring these companies gave us the opportunity to meet senior executives and learn firsthand about the work and culture of the agency. Powell Tate even offered us a panel of every single one of their senior vice presidents, which gave us the chance to ask any questions and get real advice from senior

staff members. The non-profit tours, at the American Red Cross and Seacrest Studios, were a nice juxtaposition to the agency tours. The most energetic and passionate people led these organizations. At the American Red Cross we, once again, met a senior executive member who shared his sincere desire to convey the message of the Red Cross and give us as much valuable advice as possible. We traveled to the local children’s hospital to visit Seacrest Studios, which is a radio and closed circuit broadcast station devoted to and created by the patients. Seeing the passion and emotion of the Grady graduate who led our tour almost brought tears to the eyes of our entire group. The children and parents who visited the station were

also eager to meet us and describe their relationship to the studio. The last day of shadowing offered the most valuable chance to connect with a local professional and learn more deeply about a specific agency or organization. I personally shadowed at MSLGroup/Qorvis in D.C. The director of digital media strategy was my ‘liaison.’ We were able to have a thorough discussion of the industry, what career paths are available, and review my resume. One important thing the liaison told me that day was that just by taking the opportunity to visit the agency, put my face in front of office executives and show my drive, I had already set myself above competitors for an internship position in their office. Take a chance and do not miss this opportunity or any others!



profit Tour led by Grady faculty member and senior lecturer in public UGA’s Public Relations Student Society of Amer- relations, Kristen Smith. On Friday, February ica hosts and sponsors 12th, PRSSA sponsored numerous activities throughout each semester, a tour of nonprofit agencies in Atlanta. While arranging for students there are several sectors to be presented with of PR that students may amazing opportunities find themselves workand experiences. Among ing in after graduation, the opportunities possinonprofit is an area of ble include on-campus growing interest for many. networking events, workshops, guest speakers The nonprofit tour gave students the chance to and more. When active members explore and network with and students in the AdPR PR professionals specifically working in or for a program take advantage of these special experienc- nonprofit organization. Students had the es, valuable insight and professional development chance to learn and gain an understanding of what are part of what makes public relations in a nonparticipation so beneficial. Included in the vari- profit environment may ous opportunities offered entail as a professional. Throughout the day, to students throughout students traveled to the their active semesters are American Cancer Society, several chances to attend Goodwill of North Georagency tours. As agency gia and the High Museum tours are one of the most popular events sponsored of Art to hear specifically by PRSSA, students thor- from the PR professionals who were willing to share oughly enjoy attending their experiences and the PR for Good Non-


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career advice. In addition to gaining insight as to what a role working in a nonprofit environment may be like, students were also given information on summer internships that each of the three agencies offer. The trip is always so rewarding for students who choose to attend. Senior Public Relations student, Madeline Hawkins, was excited to share that “visiting each nonprofit gave me a better perspective on how I can use my public relations degree to promote a cause I really care about and creatively communicate a message that has a meaningful purpose.” Hawkins was eager to learn more about nonprofits in Atlanta and the tour succeeded in assuring her that upon graduation, she hopes to “pursue a career within the nonprofit sector” as the opportunity gave her “so much clarity i nto what type of nonprofit I want to work for and what type of workplace can envision myself in.” Hawkins is “so thankful for Kristen Smith providing this opportunity to learn about the variety of nonprofits in our own

backyard and the chance to engage with professionals.” With students like Hawkins demonstrating the same enthusiasm and passion for nonprofits, Smith enjoys leading AdPR and PRSSA students on this tour. She believes it is “a great chance for students who may not want to do agency work to hear about the challenges and rewards of working in a nonprofit environment.” While visiting each nonprofit agency, students were able to speak with several Grady alums who found themselves working for nonprofits post graduation. Smith explained that is surely “fulfilling to advocate for a cause you love and many of the Grady alums we spoke to inspired us with their passion for their jobs.” Smith believes that part of what makes this specific tour so great is how she is “always amazed by how welcoming and helpful they are with Grady students.”


The beginning of spring semester always brings about the excitement and madness of prepping your resume, printing your business cards, and practicing your interview skills to land that perfect summer internship. Now with applications submitted and the interviews completed, what do you do? This waiting period in-between submitting your internship application and hearing back from a company can be a long one, but don’t worry; the PRecedent and Grady Career Consultant Samantha Meyer, are here to help. Rather than biting your nails and constantly refreshing your inbox, take action! The number one thing to do after sending in your resume and cover letter is to follow up with those companies you’ve applied to. “If you have the contact info available, I would definitely suggest sending a follow up email to an employer reminding them of when you applied and how interested you are,” Meyer said. “You definitely have [some control] in these situations!” she assures, “It may seem our of your hands, but it’s the students that send the follow up emails or thank-you notes that stand out.” Once the waiting period is over, it is decision time. Many different scenarios can occur here; some people get multiple offers and some might not be so lucky. No matter the outcome, there is a solution and a strategy to everything. A positive problem to have is hearing good

news from multiple companies; many times it can be tricky juggling so many offers. “If you’ve heard back from someone and it’s not your first choice, or you’re waiting to hear from other people, definitely thank them and ask if they have a deadline of when you can let them know,” Meyer said. “For exact language on how to handle it, we have a great example in our career guide that you can find on our website or in the career office,” she added, “We even have sample emails of when you’ve chosen your internship but need to decline from other people.” If none of your internship applications end in success, do not worry. “I always encourage students to check DawgLink for local Athens internships, and the weekly Grady Careers newsletter,” Meyer advises. “Sometimes places in Athens are on a different timeline than other businesses and may be seeking interns a little later.” She also had advice for younger PRSSA members who do not have a lot of the PR related coursework under their belt; “Always do a lot of networking and shadowing to be sure that you are spending your time wisely,” she suggests. “The reason we want you guys to have internships is to build your skills and your resume, but also to get the experiential opportunity to be in these spaces and deciding if you like it or not. Sometimes even just shadowing for a few days is progress!” If all else fails, the career center welcomes any and all questions or concerns with open arms.




College students are often overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future and what life will be like outside of the campus that they have called home for the past years. This feeling may be particularly strong for those in fields that offer a broad range of professional opportunities, like public relations. While having opportunities in and access to a plethora of different career paths can be exciting, it can also be quite intimidating. The good news is this, opportunities are out there and young people who came from the same Grady roots are now climbing the professional ladder. While not all are so fortunate to land a fulfilling and successful job immediately following graduation, it is important to look at these situations as a source of encouragement and optimism when struggling with feelings of ambiguity and nervousness regarding the professional future. Brenna Beech, a magazine journalism major who graduated from UGA last spring, speaks about her personal transition from college to the professional world, and shares her excitement about her career. In school, Beech majored in magazine journalism with an emphasis in visual journalism, a minor in African Studies, and a certificate in media leadership. She had always wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic but admits, “that’s like getting into the NFL!” Her senior year she was working at Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE 90.1, where she realized her desire for work that combines her FEB/MAR 2016

interest in journalism, marketing, and public relations. Beginning in October, she now works for KWI in Chick-fil-A corporate communications, writing internal articles about news like company-wide events and new products. She also writes for an internal leadership website that she updates daily, as well as a daily internal recruitment letter. She regularly meets with clients, delivers Google analytics on her work that show how many people read and react to her articles, and pitches ideas for future stories and how to grow projects. She says that she utilizes the writing, visual communication and leadership skills she learned through school. On being introduced to opportunities, she says “it’s all about how you know.” Brenna became connected with Stanley Leary, one of Chick-fil-A’s professional photographers, when he visited her photojournalism class as a guest speaker. Leary had close connection to KWI, CFA’s corporate communications company, and got her connected and beginning the interview process. Brenna says that because of the growth potential within KWI, she wishes to remain in her company for a while. Both the industry and her company are growing, but while KWI has

several super-power business clients, she wishes to stay with Chick-fil-A because “there’s just so much to learn, and I absolutely love the people here.” She says that the most difficult transition from college into the professional world is having much less free time available, stressing the importance of balancing a work and personal life while getting accustomed to long workdays. Her favorite part of her new life is a sense of personal value, and knowing that she is an asset to the company and good at her work. She says, “many people start off in internships where they aren’t really doing much valuable work, and I feel like I’m in a position that a much more experienced professional should be in, which is kind of overwhelming but very humbling all the same. It’s just more incentive to work hard and pull my weight to prove yeah, I might be the youngest one here, but I’m good at what I do, and I can only get better.”


Imagine the ability to share more than just photos and videos with your friends online. Imagine being able to share entire immersive experiences. Virtual reality is creating an entire new platform of social media by allowing us to do just that. Two years ago, Facebook paid about two billion dollars to acquire Oculus VR, a company currently working on virtual reality headsets. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, shared his belief that with virtual reality headsets providing immersive 3-D experiences, movies, televisions, games, lectures, and business meetings will be the next great computation platform. In time, these headsets could have the technology to scan our brains, and then transmit our thoughts to our friends. “Eventually I think we’re going to have technology where we can communicate our full sensory experience and emotions to someone through thought,” says Zuckerberg. Recently, both Oculus and Google Cardboard have made it possible to experience virtual reality using a smartphone. Zuckerberg has said that virtual reality will become a staple of everyday life and open up doors for new media and technology to flourish. “Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person,” Zuckerberg says. “Imagine being able to sit in

front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theater with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want. All these things are going to be possible. And that’s why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality. So we can hope to deliver these types of social experiences.” Oculus is hoping to bring virtual reality to center stage by releasing headsets to consumers. The first virtual headset, called “Oculus Rift,” will start shipping at the end of this month. The device is $599 and will use a PC computer to run it. Palmer Luckey is the creator of The Rift, and he was only 17 years old when he started building the prototype in his parents’ garage. Now, The Rift is sitting on Mark Zuckerberg’s face, arguably the most powerful man in the technology world. Around this time two years ago when Facebook bought Oculus, Mark Zuckerberg shared a post on Facebook stating the following:

“Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the Internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.” This technology could offer public relations professionals a new platform through which to build relationships for clients. Virtual reality has the ability to make products and organizations seem more tangible through a screen than ever before. We all know staying on top of trends is crucial in our field, and this is sure to be one to watch out for!


WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD from The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta kicked off the event with a presentation On Feb. 19, students from union personal branding. Hammett versities stretching from Alabama drove home the idea that we, as to South Carolina gathered at the individuals, are in charge of how Atlanta Marriott Center for Georgia the world sees us. PRSA’s annual Real World conferStudents were then invited to ence. UGA had several students in choose three different breakout sesattendance, all eager to learn from sions in areas that are of current professionals what the particular interest to them. workforce is like today. From media relations to integrated The morning started out with campaigns, and from fashion to a breakfast where students jumped technology, there was something right into networking with both to grab everyone’s attention. visiting professionals and leaders However, the overwhelming of Georgia’s PRSA chapter. During consensus for favorite session her opening remarks, PRSA chapter came from a panel of four HR president, Alison Ilg, made a point managers and their advice on to show attendees how many how to land a job. With many business cards she had collected students in the thick of job or from students before the conferinternship searches, this guidance ence was even officially underway, was eagerly taken! and urged students to make a Lunch gave students another connection with everyone they opportunity to mingle not only would meet during the day. with the professionals in attenStudents spent the next several dance, but also students from hours soaking up as much informa- other schools. I personally had a tion as they could. Elyse Hammett wonderful time meeting students


from all over and hearing about the different programs provided by their universities. Nick Nelson of Liquid Soul, an agency specializing in entertainment, provided the keynote speech as attendees ate their meal and had the audience riveted for his entire presentation. Students were very interested to hear how much creativity and effort it takes develop campaigns surrounding multimillion dollar films. The afternoon concluded with resume critiques from professionals as well as a career fair. The critiques helped students place the final touches needed to perfect resumes during the application season. The career fair also gave students the final opportunity they needed to finalize making connections to help give them an edge in their future. As a graduating senior, this conference gave me valuable information that I will truly use as I begin my career, and more than recommend it for students to attend in the future.



MARCH 25 2016-2017 Exec Board online voting opens

APRIL 6 2016-17 Executive Board Elections, Studio 100


MARCH 24-MARCH 31 Absentee voting for Exec Board opens online

APRIL 13 PRSSA Senior Banquet Peyton Anderson Forum


APRIL 1 Creative Consultants Director application closes

APRIL 13 Professional Headshots See website for details



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Precedent march16