BY SEAN ANN KELLY
SC STAFF WRITER
Karianna Simpkins is always thinking of ways to help improve East Stroudsburg University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Simpkins is a junior from Lester, PA. She is a Communication Studies major and part of the public relations track. Another part of her coursework includes pursuing a concentration in hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
Simpkins has been part of PRSSA for two years and has held leadership positions since her first semester, beginning as the treasurer.
The current vice-president and president-elect recently traveled to Albuquerque, NM, to take part in PRSSA’s national assembly. The annual meeting brings together members from chapters from all around the country.
And while thousands of miles away from East Stroudsburg, all Simpkins could think about was improving upon the chapter’s success this school year, and how to increase recruitment.
“She is constantly planning for next year, it’s actually kind of funny,” vice president-elect Kathryn Bock said. “We’ll be in class and she’ll turn around during a lecture and whisper to me an idea for a new client, or how to get more students to join and contribute.”
Simpkins has learned some valuable lessons and ways to become a better chapter by attending two PRSSA conventions this semester. In February, Simpkins traveled with a few other chapter members to Penn State University for a regional conference.
Her most recent trip was to the national assembly in New Mexico. The East Stroudsburg junior said the conference was well-worth the cross-country flight. She has brought back some fresh ideas for her presidency next school year.
“I learned a lot by just getting the opportunity to talk to leaders from other chapters from throughout the country,” Simpkins said. “They gave me recruitment, fundraising, and community service ideas that I am so excited to bring to our chapter here at ESU.”
The East Stroudsburg PRSSA has seen a steady increase in membership since its inception in 2011. Although challenges await Simpkins in her presidency, Bock is confident she can handle the work.
“Karianna is someone who is a natural leader and takes a lot of responsibility for our organization,” Bock said. “She returned from her trip very eager to tell me her ideas for next year and was very excited to share what she learned while at the assembly.”
While in New Mexico, Simpkins was also a delegate on the national assembly board. Each chapter that was represented and had a delegate at the assembly to vote on the 2013-2014 bylaws and national committee.
Simpkins sat in a board room for 10 strenuous hours listening to the national committee candidates give speeches and answer questions. The delegates would then vote for each position. “The assembly was an exhausting process and everything was done very officially and by the book,” she said. “But it was one of the many great learning experiences I had.”
The increased exposure of attending these conferences has allowed ESU PRSSA members to network with other chapters and shares ideas. Simpkins said being able to attend these types of conferences, makes being a part of PRSSA feel like a great professional support system.
The next national meeting will be in October in Philadelphia. “I feel confident that I could move to almost any city in the world and have a PRSSA member nearby,” she said. “I also got to exchange a lot of ideas and connect with PRSSA chapters nearby with hopes of pairing up to work together in the future.”
Email Sean Ann at: