PRSSA Paves Inspiring Conference at “The Path to the Peak”

Emily Egan (left) and Francesca Palmeri (right) hosted the first official Path to the Peak conference on April 15th. (Photo credit via ESU Flickr)

Riley Sardinha



Conferences have always been great ways for students and alumni to network and share their success stories regarding their career paths. The university’s club for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was able to host one of its own this past Saturday on April 15; the Path to the Peak.

The Path to the Peak inside the Beers Lecture Hall was an all-day event on campus from the welcome reception at 9:30 a.m. to the end of the dinner banquet at 7:30 p.m. in Lower Dansbury. Throughout the day, a number of ESU alumni hosted presentations explaining how their experiences here have benefited them in their current job positions.

PRSSA President Francesca Palmeri and Vice President Emily Egan introduced the event with the history of the club and the grander aspects of the association they represent. Dr. Cem Zeytinoglu and Dr. Margaret Mullan were given accreditations for supporting the club throughout its history, including the complications they experienced during the pandemic. 

There were some special appearances at Path to the Peak throughout the day by ESU President Kenneth Long, the Channel 13 news station and Pennsylvania state representative Tarah Probst.

The speakers were grouped based on their specialties in the fields of: agency public relations and corporate communications, marketing, human resources and relationship building on digital media.

Between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. featured a spotlight presentation from Jamal Cooley, the Social Media Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooley is responsible for providing graphic design and exciting content for fans on the team’s social media platforms.

There was also Austin Weitman from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Weitman graduated from ESU in 2022 and went on to become an Account Executive for Madison Square Garden, specializing in sports management for the venue and its sister businesses. 

Each of the thirteen speakers had so much to offer in terms of how they utilized their experiences at ESU to excel in their own careers. Palmeri and Egan took the initiative to diversify their speaker pool as much as they could so undergraduate students, other alumni and attending professors could learn from them. 

In the midst of the everchanging age of social media growth, people in the fields had to adjust to new incorporations of artificial intelligence and influencers; two subjects that were brought up repeatedly throughout the conference. In spite of this, speakers wanted attendees to know that the fields will change for better or worse and that confronting incoming problems at work is inevitable. Speaker Dana Coppola was inspired by a saying from Dr. Mullan that workers should “get comfortable with the uncomfortable”, which means a lot for the complicated professional world students often find themselves in.

A few of the day’s speakers even mentioned that they initially lacked long-term ambitions when first joining the university but were able to zero in on their passions to go forward in finding positions in the professional world. Much like finding real work-life balance, people should know when they feel appreciated for their efforts and presence at whatever job they currently work at.

Speakers advised students to know their worth when it comes to communication accessibility, salary, and time management. To quote speaker Laurie Monteforte of Strong Mountain Media: “When taking a Path to the Peak, it’s okay if the mountain changes.” 

For advice in starting as soon as possible, students already did well just by attending the conference, which itself was a great way to network with like-minded people and look into getting their foot in the door through LinkedIn and other means of reaching out to businesses. 

The event was overall a major success for PRSSA and everyone who attended that day. These now annual conferences are sure to have some profound effects on incoming students of all majors. Palmeri and Egan hope this conference represents a fresh start for the club’s legacy.


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