What happens when an Illinois State University student’s inspiration stems from “ Gilmore Girls” and “Anderson Cooper 360”? You find Kelsey Farrell, public relations major and political science minor, leading the relation committee members in managing the ISU PRSSA newsletter.
Tell us about yourself.
This is my first semester in the public relations program after I switched from print journalism. When I first enrolled at Illinois State University, I was a print journalism major with plans to become the real-life incarnate of Rory Gilmore, but had to give this dream up when I realized I couldn't live up to her unreasonable perfectionism and impossibly shiny hair. I realized I wanted to stretch my writing skills outside the confines of the inverted pyramid, and public relations seemed like a good fit for me. Before I formally made the switch I joined PRSSA so I knew exactly what I was getting into. I liked the organization so much I applied for the Newsletter Chair so I can share my publishing experience with the entire chapter.
What influenced your decision to apply to the public relations program at ISU?
I wanted to apply my writing skills to something more structurally rigid than journalism, without sacrificing cleverness and creativity. I think there is a significant overlap between journalism and public relations; there is a lot of power in telling people’s stories, and I like the idea of telling people’s stories in a way that will actively help the organization.
What made you want to join ISU PRSSA and become the Newsletter Chair of the Relations Committee leadership team?
At the beginning of the semester, I was looking to change my major to public relations. I decided to join PRSSA to gain more knowledge of the industry. I gravitated towards Relations for the weekly writing opportunities, and stayed because Kimi, Tye and Ali are such effortlessly wonderful leaders.
What other things are you involved with on ISU’s campus?
I’ve been a Front Desk Manager with University Housing for the past three years and this semester I joined WZND’s public relations staff. I also recently accepted an internship with the Registrar’s Office to help spread the word about Summer Session, ISU’s summer program.
What hobbies do you have outside of school?
I am a really big theatre nerd, so I spend a lot of time on breaks seeing plays and musicals. I have a categorized list of every show I have seen since 2009 on my laptop and I update it religiously. I am also a really big TV-watcher, and this season I have been really into “Nathan for You” and “Casual.”
What is your dream job?
When I was little I told my Mom I wanted to be “a ballerina who’s also an astronaut” and, of course, that’s still my number one goal. If the whole space thing does not pan out, I will be happy working as a social media manager for a theatre company or a comedy club.
What helps keep you motivated?
I like to plan trips or buy tickets to shows far in advance so I always have something to look forward to after a rough month or a difficult semester. Plus, I get through a lot of bad days knowing there will always be a new episode of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on the following night.
Who do you look up to the most?
My Mom was a woman who could walk into a room and immediately make everyone feel special and included, and if I could have one-tenth of that ability I would be a much better person. I also look up to my Grandpa, Tom O’Malley, because he is the most selfless, funniest, kindest man I know. He always tells me “Life is like a bowl of cherries, sometimes you get the pits!” but being his granddaughter is anything but.
Questions composed by Alyse Marin
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.