Why did you decide to become a member of the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America?
It was for the same reason I decided to study public relations. It sounded like a good idea at the time, and it was something I could put on my resume. However, now that I have been a member of ISU PRSSA for three semesters, I’ve had the chance to delve into the organization and everything it offers, which is a lot.
What does your job as development manager entail?
I oversee all the socials and fundraisers. I have both a social and fundraiser chair who make sure everything runs smoothly. I set deadlines and keep an eye on how everything is going with each social and event. After the event is over, I analyze each fundraiser to see how we can better improve for next time. The fundraisers we put together help pay for Chapter events such as guest speakers at Chapter meetings and socials throughout the year.
Tell us about your internship this past summer.
I interned this past summer at WTMJ-4, which is the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee. I assisted in the production of a TV talk show called the “Morning Blend” where I wrote the scripts that were used. It was cool to be on set and hear the television hosts say things that I wrote! I also uploaded new videos online of segments of the show and updated the online descriptions for videos we posted. It reassured me that I want to do something in entertainment because it was very high energy and fast-paced, which are factors I look for in my future career.
Where would you like to work after college?
I am open to anything at this point. Joe Bennaroch, Facebook corporate communications, just spoke in one of my classes. I thought to myself that maybe I would want to work for a company as innovative and dynamic as Facebook. I am also interested in fashion, so I could see myself going into fashion public relations and possibly work for an agency.
What advice would you give to underclassmen who are considering a career in public relations?
I would say get involved, like right now. Seriously, start now! Whether you join ISU PRSSA, obtain an internship or just go online and research things that interest you, try to create some sort of direction for yourself. Start in some way whether it is having a blog, making videos or just showing your creativity while also creating something that you can show your future employer. Also, speak with your teachers. In my experience, they are extremely helpful and more than willing to give you direction, especially since many of them worked as public relations professionals prior to teaching.
Questions composed by Becca Williams
What are your main responsibilities as the director of development?
One of my main responsibilities is to oversee the organization’s social and fundraising chairs. The executive board gives me certain tasks, and then I decide how to distribute them to the chairs. I support the chairs and help them with the preparation and execution of socials. We try to get as many committee members involved as possible.
What was your favorite event executed by the development committee this year?
The first apartment social we had this year was my favorite. It was called a “Chill and Thrill Kind of Night.” It was our first one so we were both nervous and excited! The development committee put a lot of effort into it so it was really rewarding to see everyone having a good time. We got a lot of great feedback!
Why did you decide to join PRSSA?
I am a transfer student, so in my first semester at Illinois State someone came and talked about PRSSA in one of my classes. They mentioned that PRSSA does a lot of event planning, which is something I was and still am really interested in. I was looking to get involved in an organization, and PRSSA seemed like a good fit. After the first meeting, I was hooked! It provides a lot of opportunities to learn about the field of public relations.
When you’re not involved with PRSSA, what do you do in your free time?
I like to hang out with friends, especially with my roommates. We love to try out new restaurants in Normal, and we are trying to hit them all before graduating. I also love to watch movies and bake, especially cake pops!
What advice would you give to next year’s director of development?
Start early! Begin thinking about fundraising ideas right at your start of the position. Start planning socials and brainstorming new things you can bring to the committee. Also, think of unique ways to get committee members involved because that sometimes can be a challenge.
What is your favorite part of being a PRSSA member?
Since I was a transfer student I never had the dorm experience or the chance to meet other people outside of class. PRSSA was a great way to get involved at Illinois State University and meet other students. It has also given me a lot of professional experience.
What are your plans for the summer?
My plans for the summer are to start my job search! I hope to find a job in hotel event planning or nonprofit event planning. I also want to enjoy the summer since we had such a horrible winter. At the end of May I am planning to go to Ireland.
What is your dream job?
My dream job would be doing special events for Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Chicago. I really love the organization and the mission that they strive to fulfill.
Where would you like to travel that you have never been before?
Italy. I would love to try all the amazing food and sightsee since there are so many beautiful places to explore.
Why did you become a communication major?
I decided to pursue this major because I wanted to do event planning, and with a communication major you have a lot of opportunities for different jobs. The skills you learn can apply to a lot of different jobs, especially event planning.
Questions composed by Becca Williams
Tell us about yourself.
I transferred to Illinois State University this year as a junior public relations major with a minor in civic engagement and responsibility. I am from Des Plaines, Ill., which is near O’Hare Airport. I come from a very Italian family. In fact, my grandma, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other extended family members live in Italy, so I am very close with my immediate family here. During spring break, I became an aunt to my niece, Olivia.
Why did you choose ISU?
I chose ISU because I heard it had an outstanding public relations program, so I was really excited when I was accepted. Additionally, a lot of my friends from high school are students here, so it is nice to have a little bit of home here with me.
What made you decide to apply for the position of socials chair?
I decided to apply for socials chair because as a transfer student I wanted to get involved right away. In high school I was the event coordinator for my dance team, so I felt like it was a nice transition for me to be the social chair for PRSSA. I also knew applying for a chair position would be a great way to meet people, which has definitely benefited me.
What has been your favorite social theme this year?
My favorite theme I have hosted this year was the Halloween apartment social, “A Chill and Thrill Kind of Night.” I was never a Halloween fan, but after hosting the social at my apartment, I had so much fun decorating and meeting new people. It was really special for me because as a new transfer, I wanted to get involved and this was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know members in the Chapter. It turned out to be a success and a lot of fun!
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
It depends. I am usually an early bird, but lately I have been a night owl thanks to my fun, night owl roommates!
If you could make a living doing anything, what would it be?
My dream job is to work in public relations at a television network. To be able to work at any entertainment network such as E!, MTV, or NBCUniversal would be a dream come true! The reason why I know what I want to do is because I interned for a PBS show and I loved it. Otherwise, I would love to be in Beyoncé’s position!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to travel back to Italy! My grandma’s house is in Sicily, so I love staying there and visiting all of my family.
What are three of your top played songs on iTunes?
I have way too many favorites, but you can definitely catch me listening to Beyoncé, Eminem and Coldplay. I have been lucky enough to see all three live!
Questions composed by Ali Seys
Illinois State University PRSSA volunteered to work the concession stands at Redbird Arena for the basketball game against Indiana State University on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Members took shifts throughout the night from 5:00-7:00 and 7:00-9:00 p.m. For all of the money earned throughout the shifts that PRSSA members worked, our chapter got a percentage of the earnings. The development committee thought this fundraiser would be enjoyable for everyone working it with the excitement of the basketball game. The fundraiser went very well! Our Chapter raised a total of $119. The members had a fun time working together and making treats for the hungry basketball fans. Our Chapter plans on using a majority of the money raised from the concessions fundraiser for semi-formal on March 28 at Firehouse Pizza and Pub in Uptown Normal.
By Lauren Ward
Tell us about yourself.
I am a senior public relations major with a minor in business administration. I am the fundraisers chair for Illinois State University’s PRSSA Chapter. Originally, I am from Oak Forest, Ill. where I attended Oak Forest High School. It is about two hours north of ISU. I have one older sister and a younger brother who is a freshman here at ISU.
Have you always known you wanted to major in public relations?
No, actually, I didn’t. I did not know what I wanted to do for a long time. In high school, my aunt told me she had a friend who planned a lot of events at Northern Illinois University. I thought that career sounded like fun, so I decided to look into it. I researched more about the public relations major and decided that it was what I wanted to do, and I came to ISU my freshman year as a public relations major.
As the fundraisers chair for PRSSA, have you always been interested in this position?
Yes, I have always been interested in event planning. I joined PRSSA my freshman year and have been on the development committee ever since. I joined PRSSA because I knew it would look good on my resume and I wanted to become more involved. I decided to run for the fundraisers chair position to build my leadership skills.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to watch movies, but I also work out often. I love listening to music, specifically country music and enjoy going to concerts. I also enjoy hanging out with friends.
What is your dream job?
I really like Red Frog Events. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to work for an event planning company or work in the corporate side of public relations.
Who is your role model?
My mom- we are basically the same person. She never puts herself first, always her kids. She never spends much money on herself either. She is a giver. Everything she does is for us. That’s just her character.
If you won $20 million, what would you do?
First, I would finish paying for college. I would then donate some of it to charity. I would probably give some of the money to my family as well. I would definitely go on vacation because I have always wanted to travel to Italy.
Do you have any plans for after graduation?
No, not any specific plans. I am just focused on school as of right now, but I hope to find a job after graduation.
Have you had any internship experience?
Yes, I was an intern at the Illinois State University Office of the Provost, located in Hovey Hall. I worked for Dr. Bailey on internationalizing ISU. I planned events for guest speakers to come to the University. Part of my job when planning events was to order food and drinks for the events. I also posted updates on the website and emailed teachers about events and guest speakers. I also had an internship in Chicago with the American Diabetes Association. I worked on an event called Tour de Cure. It was a bike race fundraiser, and I helped with the flyers. I also was involved with the newsletter and just helped any other little tasks they needed.
Questions composed by Ashley Funderburk
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.