University of Mississippi students swept the top awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition, winning 12 out of the 13 awards presented for student work.
Christina Figg, an integrated marketing communications major from Santa Rosa, California, won Student Best of Show for the best entry in the entire competition, as well as the top award in her category.
“The judges were so impressed with the work submitted by this year’s student entrants,” said Jennie Bradford Curlee, public relations director at the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau who serves as PRAM’s vice president for awards. “They were thorough, engaging, and presented a true understanding of the public relations process. The judges specifically cited Christina Figg’s research in naming her entry Best of Show and touted her immense creativity.”
Journalism major Tori Olker from Spring Grove, Illinois, was named Outstanding PR Student, competing with nominees from four other universities in the state.
“The judges commented that Tori really set herself apart from the other candidates and demonstrated that she had great drive,” said Laura Beth Strickland, Visit Vicksburg communications manager who serves as PRAM vice president of student services.
Ten other students and their instructor, Robin Street, also won awards, which were presented at the PRAM state conference in Jackson on April 8. Awards were at three levels, based on the number of points judges award each entry. The top award is the Prism, followed by the Excellence and Merit awards. Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points.
The students, all from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, entered public relations campaigns they produced in Street’s advanced public relations class during 2015. Each campaign required multi-media journalism skills including writing news and feature articles, shooting video and photos, creating online and social media posts and planning creative attention-getting events.
“It was overwhelming that of the 13 student awards presented statewide, 12 of those went to our students,” said Street, senior lecturer in journalism and public relations. “Our students demonstrated that they excel in the diverse set of skills needed in PR such as producing quality journalism, planning strategy and tactics, and conducting research. That is a real tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.”
Prism winners were Figg; Lindsay Andrews, an IMC major from Collinsville, Illinois; Meaghan Snell, a journalism major from Roswell, Georgia; Katherine Stephens, an IMC major from Monroe, Louisiana; and Ivey Swan, an IMC graduate from Hattiesburg.
Excellence winners were Olker; Miller Hollingsworth, an IMC graduate from Brandon; Victoria Lanza, a journalism major from Dallas, Texas; and Caitlin Vaughn, a marketing and corporate relations graduate from Huntsville, Alabama. Street won two excellence awards in the professional division.
Awards of Merit were presented to journalism major Sydney Nutt from Wichita Falls, Texas; journalism graduates Sarah Douglass from Corpus Christi, Texas; and Randall Haley from Clarksdale.