The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Ohio State chapter traveled to New York City on Jan. 29-31 where they visited public relations agencies, networked with Ohio State alumni and learned the ins and outs of living and working in New York City.
Emma Grubaugh, the president of PRSSA, started planning the trip last September after a conversation with Mary Sterenberg, the current PRSSA advisor.
“When I became president, one of my goals was to strengthen alumni connections. I thought that maybe we would throw a small gathering in Columbus with alumni. Then Mary said, ‘what if we do it somewhere else, like New York City?’” Grubaugh explained.
And from that moment on, that small idea became a goal for both Grubaugh and Sterenberg. They teamed up with former PRSSA president, Leanne Robinett and began drafting a proposal to submit to Dan McDonald, School of Communication director, for approval. After the trip was approved, Grubaugh, Robinett and Sterenberg reached out to alumni in New York City and began forming the itinerary for the trip.
One alumni who was a key player in the success of the trip was Jani Arnow Gerard, who spent the last 30+ years doing PR in New York City. Jani and her husband Dan hosted a mixer on Jan. 30 for the students and Ohio State alumni currently working in New York City. This mixer gave the students the opportunity to network beyond the agency tours, gain lifelong connections and honest advice.
“The alumni mixer was a really cool experience because we had an alumna who had a long successful career behind her, recent alumni and then students all in the same room learning and benefitting from one another,” Sterenberg said.
The group consisted of 24 students, mainly juniors and seniors, and two advisers. The group visited a total of seven different public relations agencies over the two-day trip. Agencies ranged from big firms like Edelman, DKC and Ruder Finn to mid-size firms such as Hunter Public Relations and smaller firms including Bliss Communications, Walrus and Campbell Ewald.
“On the first day, we saw three different types of agencies, and I loved seeing all of the students compare the three and hearing their different opinions about which agency they preferred,” Robinett said. “It helped students see what they actually see themselves doing in the PR world.”
Presentations at the various agencies visited ranged from discussing the different sectors of public relations; going through case studies and brainstorms; and talking about how to live and work in New York City. Other agencies also highlighted internship opportunities with their companies and what their company culture had to offer.
“One of my goals was to show students that getting a career in New York City is definitely attainable,” Sterenberg said. “All of the professionals that talked to me were completely wowed by the professionalism of the students, and they conducted themselves in a way that brought so much respect to the School of Communication.”
Article written by student Krista Bliumentalis