PRogressive Image, or PRi, is Illinois State University PRSSA’s student run firm and one of our three ad-hoc committees. Get to know the director, senior member Katie O’Rourke!
What is the most rewarding part about being PRi director?
Oh man, there are a lot of rewarding parts of being the PRi director! I am happy to give back to the Chapter that has provided me with hands on experience, great opportunities and a better understanding of the public relations industry. I think one of the most beneficial parts is getting to see our Chapter members grow professionally as they work together towards our clients’ goals. Knowing that I am responsible for researching, pitching and bringing our clients to PRSSA is very rewarding. I enjoy seeing the mutually beneficial relationship come to life!
Why did you apply to be the PRi Director?
First semester of my junior year I was a part of the PRi committee for Rep the Midwest. Being a part of the committee gave me great media relations experience and helped me grow into a professional public relations student. By second semester I knew that I wanted to get even more involved and play an influential role in the Chapter. That is when I decided to apply for a leadership position as PRi Director.
What is your vision for PRi?
My goal for PRi is to provide students with hands-on experience. I want members to see PRi as an opportunity to work with a real client and create relevant material for their portfolio while in a comfortable, yet professional learning environment. My hope is that members will be able to relate their experience in PRi to what they will eventually be doing in a real world setting.
What else are you involved in at Illinois State?
In addition to serving as the director of PRi, I am a member of and the public relations coordinator for my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta; secretary for the National Panhellenic Recognition Society, Rho Lambda; a writer for Illinois State University’s online collegiate magazine, “HerCampus”; an intern for the School of Communication Promotions and Development team; and a stagehand for production services at the Bone Student Center. I guess you could say I stay busy.
What are your favorite hobbies?
When I have free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, spending time at my family cottage, listening to Dave Matthews Band, riding my bike, and laughing. Laughter is my favorite!
If you could, where would you study abroad?
Unfortunately, one of the things I haven’t gotten to experience in college is studying abroad. However, I am a traveler. I love to try new food, see new places, and meet new people. I am a big fan of nature’s beauty and have always wanted to see the Swiss Alps. So I would travel to Switzerland. While abroad I’d also like to travel to Germany. When I was in the eighth grade, my family had a foreign exchange student live with us for a year. Her name is Christine, and she’s from Germany. We still stay in touch, so Germany definitely makes my list!
Tell us something unusual or quirky about yourself.
A lot of people who know me know how precious my bike is to me. I ride a 1980s red Caliente Schwinn, so I guess you could call that quirky! I believe everyone needs a hobby to take their minds off of things. Whenever I need a break, I take my bike out for a little spin around campus. No matter how much I get teased for riding my bike, it’s my favorite form of relaxation.
What’s one thing you want to cross off before graduating from ISU?
I could sit here for days telling you about my life bucket list! There are so many things I hope to accomplish in my lifetime. Recently, my friends and I were discussing our “senior year bucket list.” Climbing the Recreation Center’s rock wall is definitely number one on my list. I will let you know how it goes!
What do you love about being a public relations major?
After taking numerous public relations courses, getting involved in PRSSA, and having different hands-on internship opportunities, I have gained a deep understanding of public relations, and I am confident it is the right major for me. I love to write, I am detail-oriented, I enjoy building positive relationships, and I thrive on working with other people.
What is a piece of advice for other students?
My best advice to someone who is unsure of what she or he wants to do is to just get out there and get involved. Do some soul searching, but also do some researching. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help, and never hesitate to ask questions. I am proud to say (but sad it’s so soon) that I will be graduating this May with a major in public relations from ISU’s CEPR accredited PR program and a minor in business.
Questions composed by Lily Sherer
Katie and some of her friends
The HerCampus team (Katie is top row, third from the right)
Katie and her bike
Katie with other ISU PRSSA members beneath the Gateway Arch