“Developing A Well-Rounded Professional” with PRSSA

Are you interested in a communication career path, specifically in Public Relations? Becoming a member of Marist’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the perfect opportunity for students to learn more about the industry through networking events, conferences, mentor programs, and much more. In February, Marist’s PRSSA Chapter hosted the “Developing a Well-Rounded Professional” regional conference. Approximately 60 attendees discovered the various PR career paths including students from John Fisher University and Hofstra University. Interested in what the conference entailed?

1st NIGHT: With Marist being close to many national historical sites, the conference started at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Home and Library. A networking event, a welcome from the National Committee, and a tour of the FDR home were on the agenda for this night.

Timmian Massie speaking in the Lowell Thomas screening room about scoring a job in PR.

Timmian Massie speaking in the Lowell Thomas screening room about scoring a job in PR.

2nd NIGHT: A majority of the conference took place on this day that consisted of career sessions, a key note address during lunch, and a panel discussion. Here were the featured speakers:

  • Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, spoke about sports Public Relations in the renovated basement of Lowell Thomas.
  • Timmian Massie, Marist professor and Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations at HealthQuest, discussed “Career Planning 101” by outlining steps students should take when gearing up for the work world.
  • Michael O’Brien, director of New York Client Development for the North American region of Ketchum and Marist Alum, conducted an industry review of “Public Relations at the Speed of Light” in the new Student Center. Michael was also on the speaker panel about finding a niche in the PR industry.

    Gita McCutcheon discussing the PR campaign process in the culinary world in the new Student Center.

    Gita McCutcheon discussing the PR campaign process in the culinary world in the new Student Center.

  • Marist Alum, Gita McCutcheon, outlined the recipe for success in Food Public Relations. Gita is the founder of NYC based culinary PR and marketing agency, Gita Group, in 2006.
  • Marist Alum and former NYPD spokes person, Michael O’Looney, used personal experiences to illustrate the fields of crisis communication and media relations during the keynote address in the Cabaret.
  • Justin Meise, founder and president of Buttonwood Communications Group, was a member of the panel discussion. His niche area in PR is investor relations and has worked with renowned companies like Citibank and Merrill Lynch.
  • Marist Alum of 2013, Kelsey Donohue, is currently a press aide in the Office of the First Lady at the White House. She traveled from Washington D.C. to Poughkeepsie to share her experiences in the political niche of Public Relations during the panel discussion.

Overall, the conference was a great success for Marist’s PRSSA chapter! The Regional Committee did an excellent job planning the event. Junior at Marist studying Public Relations, Samantha Nearon, mentions “the experience at the PRSSA conference was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity since I was able to personally network with PR professionals ranging from the niches of finance to food. I loved every bit of it!” 

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