Not many people know what they want to do heading into college, but Kim Hocker sure did. She knew she wanted to study communications and low and behold public relations caught her eye. This sophomore public relations major is sure to succeed in the field of communication as she also loves to write and get involved as much as she can.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a sophomore from Tinley Park, IL and a public relations major with a minor in psychology. I knew I wanted to study communications when I came to Illinois State University, but as I explored classes, I realized that public relations would be the best fit for me because I really enjoy writing. I like to work hard and sometimes take on more than I can handle, but I am always up for the challenge.
Why did you choose to join the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America?
As a student studying public relations, I thought that ISU PRSSA would be a great fit for me because I get to explore and learn more about the public relations industry, hear from speakers who have real world experience, and meet people who share the same interests as me.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to someday work for the Make a Wish Foundation. I have a close tie with this organization and I would love to work for it one day. I think what they do is something truly amazing and I would love the opportunity to work with a great nonprofit like it one day.
Why did you decide to come to ISU?
I went to a small private high school and I knew that I wanted to attend a large university. I wanted to stay somewhat close to home, but still far enough away. After visiting a few other schools, I knew Bloomington-Normal was the perfect choice for me.
Who inspires you?
In general, all my professors inspire me. Learning how they were once in my shoes, sitting in classes but they spent long nights at the library, and they got internships that led to very successful jobs. More specifically my brother really inspires me. He got his dream job right out of college. He has such a hard work ethic and it pays off.
What is something most people do not know about you?
I just downloaded a new application where I keep track of all the countries and states that I have traveled to, and I learned that I have been to four percent of the world and 42 percent of the United States.
What is your favorite memory of ISU so far?
This past Friday at the Basketball game, I was picked to roll in the huge hamster ball at half time. I always wanted to do that so I thought that was pretty cool!
Questions composed by Ellen Devereux
Have no fear; it is just a red pen. As public relations students at Illinois State University, it is engrained into us that we must be excellent writers to be successful in the industry. The problem is, however, you cannot become a better writer without taking action and actually writing.
There seems to be a common theme amongst underclassman, no one wants to write. In a way, I can relate. When I was a sophomore in the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, I was a member of the relations committee. I was so afraid every week when we met, that I would be called on to write something for the blog. It was that little voice in my head telling me that my writing was awful, and anything I had to say meant nothing. There was a fear that someone was going to take that dreaded red pen to something I had put a lot of work into, so I sat in the back and kept my writing to myself. That is one of my biggest regrets as an underclassman.
Now, as the president of ISU PRSSA, I have a new perspective. I see that little voice get the best of my fellow classmates and members of our Chapter. The beauty of being a part of our organization is that it allows members to be challenged in all aspects of public relations. No matter what “committee” you choose to go to each week, does not mean you are limited to just that. I encourage everyone to take a step out of their comfort zone and try writing more than just papers for class, and truly make your mark. There is so much talent flourishing within the ISU PRSSA Chapter, that it would be a waste to not put it to good use with the blog.
Writing has, and always will be the most important skills to have in public relations. When you land that first internship or job, you will be expected to know how to write, and do it well. Now is the time to put your work out there and grow as a writer, because the worst thing that can happen is… you will be successful.
Written by Krista Bilow
The Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America welcomes Kelly Larson to the executive board as the 2016 vice president. Larson is a senior with a passion for all things marketing and public relations. She is a go-getter with big plans for her future in the public relations industry. Continue reading to learn more about ISU PRSSA’s new VP, and discover why she is so passionate for the field of public relations.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a senior public relations major graduating in May 2016. I grew up in Lombard, Ill., transferred to ISU junior year and got involved with ISU PRSSA right away. I have a passion for working with media and enjoy expressing myself through creative writing. I approach new challenges head on and am determined to succeed in whatever adventure my future holds for me.
What made you choose to be a public relations major?
I originally wanted to be a marketing major, but after doing research on public relations I found a lot of similarities between the two. I felt like public relations would provide me with more of an opportunity to express myself in a creative way. After researching the ISU School of Communication and public relations program, I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. I am still passionate about marketing and received the certification for consumer marketing from the College of DuPage.
Who is the one person in your life that you look up to the most?
I look up to my parents and older brother the most. My parents have always been incredibly supportive of everything I do, and my brother was the first person in my family to graduate college.
What is one of your biggest accomplishments in your time at Illinois State University?
Being appointed vice president for ISU PRSSA this semester has been a huge accomplishment. After attending PRSSA 2015 National Conference in Atlanta this past November, I fell even more in love with being active in such a phenomenal Chapter. If you were to tell me when I first joined ISU PRSSA that I would become vice president, I would have laughed in your face. I am honored that the Chapter and my fellow executive board members believed in me enough to take on this position.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Paris has always been a dream for me. I took French in middle school and high school and fell in love with the culture. My high school French teacher was incredibly inspirational and really immersed her students into the French beyond anything you could imagine.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
I am definitely a night owl. I find that night is when I do my best work and am more focused on getting things done.
Do you have a personal motto?
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Most people are shocked that I have found a place in a communication driven major. I tend to be more of an introvert, but love to push myself out of that comfort zone because I genuinely love public relations. Once you start pushing yourself to different levels, amazing opportunities and experiences can take place.
What is one of your pet peeves?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are dishonest with me. It takes a lot for someone to gain my trust and honesty goes a long way with that.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I would like to enter a public relations or marketing agency either in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs. I like to multitask and have diversity within the work that I am doing every day.
What are you most excited about doing in your new role as vice president?
I am most excited to work on the Rowan University NODAC campaign competition. This is a National PRSSA competition that our Chapter earned third place in last spring. The winners were announced at PRSSA 2015 National Conference and it made me really appreciate the hard work that ISU PRSSA puts in to make our Chapter so successful. I am determined to continue that success and give members at PRSSA 2016 National Conference that same sense of pride that I had when I heard our name called out this year.
If you could give younger public relations students a word of advice, what would it be?
Be as involved as you can be and start finding internships now! Something I wish I would have done different since entering the public relations program was not getting on the internship train faster. The internship experience I had this past summer with Cupcakes and Cocktails in Chicago helped me gain confidence in my abilities to be a successful public relations and marketing professional.
Questions composed by Kimi Sanden
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.