Undergraduate communications students gain access to extensive career resources, networking and scholarship opportunities
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), an organization for students interested in the public relations and communications fields, has added the University of Mississippi to its network of chapters worldwide.
Under the guidance of experienced faculty advisers, and in coordination with the local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter in Memphis, students will have opportunities to further their education, gain valuable career advice and experience, and access a variety of scholarships.
PRSSA has added a total of five new chapters in 2021.
“We’re thrilled to be able to expand our PRSSA footprint in New York and Mississippi,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, chief executive officer, PRSA, in a news release. The organization also added a chapter at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. “The communications profession continues to grow in importance, and skilled practitioners are in high demand at organizations and agencies worldwide. Preparing the next generation of leaders is a hallmark of PRSSA, and we look forward to working with these students to ensure they are ready to succeed in their future endeavors.”
Dr. Amanda Bradshaw, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications, will serve as faculty adviser to the University of Mississippi PRSSA chapter. She earned a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama.
Professionally, she worked as the public relations manager of Preferred Medical Group, a multi-disciplinary, multi-location medical practice. Additionally, she served as director of sales and brand growth for Chick-fil-A in Lawton, Oklahoma. Simultaneously, she owned and operated a social media consulting firm before beginning her doctoral studies.
“We are excited to launch a PRSSA chapter at the state flagship institution, becoming part of an esteemed international organization,” Bradshaw said. “We are also thrilled to collaborate with the wonderful, talented public relations professionals at PRSA Memphis and look forward to learning from and working with them in the coming years. With more than 1,000 IMC majors, our student body is large, and we already have 25 enthusiastic student leaders signed up to serve on our executive board and lead our committees. We are ready to hit the ground running to build the University of Mississippi PRSSA to be the best that it can be.”
Bradshaw said UM has wanted to add a PRSSA chapter for a long time. Professors Debbie Hall and Robin Street have worked to launch a chapter, but the IMC curriculum had to evolve.
“We had to first develop a robust curriculum sequence of at least five public relations courses and additional supplemental courses in the field, which we have now done,” she said. “As we now have that curriculum in place, we qualify to have a chapter. So, we mailed off the 250+ page application to the headquarters in New York (an old-fashioned paper application in a FedEx box), and as they say, the rest is history.”
Bradshaw said PRSSA is connecting the school with an international network of chapters that forms the most recognized leading professional organization, serving the communications community.
“Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels have the opportunity to join our campus chapter,” Bradshaw said. “Students can get involved with and gain hands-on experience with social media, recruitment, onboarding, service/philanthropy, fundraising, awards, publicity, public relations content creation, high school outreach, event planning, and more.
“All of these line items look great on a resume for those wanting to enter communication fields. Additionally, students will be eligible to compete for both individual-level and chapter awards in exclusive PRSSA competitions.”
Bradshaw said PRSSA is based on three main pillars: 1) Enhance your education 2) Broaden your network 3) Launch your career.
“Our chapter plans to host monthly activities, bringing in top-notch guest speakers in various sectors of public relations and offering soft skills workshops, such as resume’ reviews and cover letter writing,” she said. “With a strong partnership in place with our sponsor chapter, PRSA Memphis, which is just an hour away, we feel confident that we have the resources and talent to mentor our students to help them map out their career paths and get to the next level in their careers.”
Bradshaw said they are planning a “field trip” to visit an agency in Memphis in the upcoming year and will work with both PRSA Memphis and the University of Memphis PRSSA chapter.
“In addition to strong mentorship locally and nationally, our student members will have the opportunity to travel to conferences, such as ICON– the international PRSA annual conference– to meet professionals in the industry from all over the world,” she said.
Students who want to get involved can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost to join is $85 per year — $55 for national dues + $30 for local dues. They can pay both at this link: https://www.prsa.org/prssa/join-prssa and/or email the general email address for more questions.
Students can also use this QR code to fill out a brief survey of their interests to get involved with one of our committees and to potentially serve in a leadership role.
Interested students and faculty may also join the school’s LinkedIn group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12583345/ The first main chapter meeting, an informational session, will be held on Jan. 25, 2022 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. More information will be provided later.
Bradshaw said PRSSA is not just for IMC students in the public relations specialization. It’s for anyone looking to develop their communication skills. If you’re majoring in any of the following, you may want to get involved: advertising, business administration and management, film and video, graphic design, journalism, marketing, political science, public and nonprofit administration, and more.