BY SEAN KELLY
SC Staff Writer
As the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter continues to grow at East Stroudsburg, four of its members recently traveled to Penn State University to represent the chapter at the Region 13 conference.
Chapter president Sean Ann Kelly, vice president Karianna Simpkins, web editor Bianca Kulak and Nicole Conte joined representatives from other schools throughout the region to listen to professionals from within the industry, network with other chapters and take part in an internship/career panel. The name of this year’s conference, which is held each spring, was “Gone Global: Professionals Around the World.”
“The most important aspect of the regional conferences, in my opinion, is providing the very first stages of personal development in an unintimidating professional setting,” said ESU PRSSA faculty advisor Dr. Cem Zeytinoglu.
The conference began with dinner in downtown State College. Regional conference director Paige Twillman delivered the opening remarks and welcomed all attendees. After dinner, attendees were invited to participate in a “speed dating” networking activity. During this activity, the ESU chapter had a chance to meet representatives from Penn State University, Marywood University and LaSalle University.
The conference’s second day incorporated several talks with various professionals from throughout the public relations field. Twillman welcomed the conference’s keynote speaker; Adam Kmiec of the Campbell Soup Company. Kmiec talked about how his job as the global director of digital and social media for Campbell’s is constantly changing. He stressed how important the public relations field is and how it is constantly changing because of the internet and the connection through social media.
After Kmiec’s presentation, attendees had a choice of two sessions to attend. Greg St. Claire, Executive Vice President of Corporate Issues Management at Edelman spoke about agency in the HUB-Robeson Auditorium. Abraham Amoros, PA Legislative Director at the Laborers’ International Union gave a presentation on public affairs in Heritage Hall.
An etiquette luncheon followed the morning’s speakers. Penn State graduate Diana Zeisky spoke to the attendees about how to execute proper dining etiquette in a business setting. Important topics in the presentation included how to butter bread correctly, how to pass food around a table and how to order an appropriate meal.
After lunch, students were able to choose between two more breakout sessions. Rob Boulware, Stakeholder Relations Manager at Seneca Resources Corporation presented on crisis management and Keith Hejna, Communications Officer at Little Kids Rock spoke about working for a non- profit organization.
The final event for the conference was a career and internship presentation. Panel speakers included Bob Martin, Assistant Dean of Internships and Career Placement at the Penn State College of Communications, Brittany Thomas, External Affairs Coordinator at Cabot Oil & Gas, Meghan Laverty, Account Executive at Simon Public Relations and Valerie Faustine, Account Executive at Simon Public Relations. After presenting their internship and career stories, each panelist opened up the floor for questions. The conference concluded with a closing “thank you” from the regional conference committee of Penn State University.
“Regional conference was an educational and rewarding experience that got me excited to work in the world of public relations,” Simpkins said.
Zeytinoglu expressed his pride of the ESU chapter in the last three years since its beginning in 2010.
“The chapter not only grew in numbers but its reach and influence as well. It established its own student-run firm, Warrior Relations, with a considerable amount of clients and portfolio, which is still growing. I believe that demand will even increase more as the chapter proves itself with the services it provides,” he said.
When speaking about the organization’s successes, he explained, “Our chapter has become a serious contributor in terms of philanthropy and community service to multiple local charities and non-profit organizations. Since its foundation, ESU PRSSA has worked with American Cancer Society of Monroe County, Brodhead Watershed Association, ECHO thrift stores, the United Way of Monroe County, The Women Resources of Monroe County and more.”
Zeytinoglu has high aspirations for the chapter in coming years. He hopes that ESU PRSSA will become a leading chapter in the state as it continues to grow and succeed. A long term goal is to host a regional conference on the ESU campus in the near future.
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