With the first week of classes in full swing, the executive board is excited for this year’s Chapter meetings and events to begin. Besides preparing for the school year, each board member also completed an internship this summer. Meet the 2014-2015 executive board and learn about their summer internships!
Cassidy Obis, president
Cassidy is a senior public relations major and psychology minor. She spent her summer as the public affairs and media relations intern at COUNTRY Financial corporate headquarters. Her major project for the summer was assisting in the planning and execution of COUNTRY Youth Classic, which attracts hundreds of youth golfers. Her responsibilities included coordinating volunteers, planning the COUNTRY Skills Challenge and working on-site at the tournament. Cassidy also created permanent web content and promotional materials that support community events and programs. As president, Cassidy is excited to see the changes and growth within the Chapter this year. She will strive to make PRSSA a positive experience for all involved and that our members are proud to wear those five letters. When she’s not in Fell Hall, Cassidy can be found jogging or trying out new recipes.
Ali Seys, vice president
Ali is a senior public relations major and agriculture minor. This summer, she was a marketing intern at Wyffels Hybrids, an independent seed corn company in Geneseo, Ill. She worked with internal communications on the company’s weekly newsletter and helped write and proof advertising materials for the marketing department. She also presented to nearly all 120 employees at the National Sales and Marketing Meeting and traveled to Indianapolis to network at the Ag Media Summit. Ali had the opportunity to dip her hands in multiple areas of public relations this summer and expand her skills. She is excited to apply her knowledge to help grow the Chapter this year and beyond. Ali is most excited about traveling to Washington for National Conference this fall! When she’s not in Fell Hall, Ali is most likely watching “Grey’s Anatomy” or playing soccer.
Bridget Anders, secretary
Bridget is a senior public relations major. She split her summer by studying abroad and holding an internship. She studied in Paris at the Novancia Business School focusing on international marketing for the first half of summer. When she returned, she interned at Heartland Community College (HCC) as the alumni relations intern. At HCC, she managed the social media, created permanent web content, interviewed alumni and worked special events. She is grateful for how much she learned over the summer but is excited that the school year has started. When she’s not in Fell Hall, Bridget is watching “Scandal” or eating.
Lily Sherer, director of digital media
Lily is a senior public relations major. She spent her summer as the marketing and public information intern at HCC. Her responsibilities included promoting the professional image of Heartland’s brand, researching, writing and editing public relations materials, assisting in event planning, helping create marketing materials, supporting the college mascot program, and conducting social media. She loved to write and edit publications and work alongside such great role models. Lily also appreciated getting to know the marketing side of things and feels this internship made her a more well-rounded professional. This year, Lily is most excited about meeting new PRSSA members, being a mentor and experiencing National Conference for the first time! When she’s not in Fell Hall, Lily can be found watching “Seinfeld,” “The Office” or de-stressing in yoga class.
Lauren Vahldick, treasurer
Lauren is a senior public relations major. This summer, Lauren had two internships: one at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. and another at Hashbrowns Café in Chicago. The two experiences were vastly different, which allowed her to experience a variety of tasks all under the umbrella of public relations. Every day was different at her Arboretum internship and provided her access to up-to-date programs and media lists. At Hashbrowns, she spent her time connecting with the media, local companies and Chicago food bloggers and hosted them to a free meal at the restaurant to tell them more about Hashbrowns. Between the two of these internships, Lauren feels as though she has gained valuable skills in the field she loves that will greatly benefit her in the future. When she is not in Fell Hall, Lauren is most likely watching “Scandal” and snacking on pizza.
Frank Hopper, national liaison
Frank is a senior public relations and political science double major. Frank took advantage of a great opportunity and lived, took classes and interned in Washington this summer. He interned at a public relations firm where he got hands-on experience working with strategic messaging, pitching, media relations and grass roots development. Frank also took classes through George Mason University and met some awesome political communication professionals in Washington. When he’s not in Fell Hall, Frank can be found in line at Dunkin Donuts, on a run or on the phone staying in touch with one of his best friends.
Nick Hebert, director of PRogressive Image
Nick is a senior public relations major. He spent his summer as a technology intern for District 87 schools in Bloomington, Ill. Nick’s main responsibility was coordinating a district-held conference to teach students and teachers new ways to use technology in the classroom. For Nick, working with students was very rewarding yet challenging, especially with the junior high school age group. Besides public relations, Nick is passionate about technology and was grateful for an outlet to share that passion with. When Nick’s not in Fell Hall, he can be found at the rec center or hanging out with friends around campus.
The executive board is beyond excited for what our Chapter is going to do this year. We invite students from all majors, current members or interested members to join us for our first meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 26 in Schroeder 138!
Any questions? Contact ISU PRSSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ali Seys, 2014-2015 vice president
The video gaming industry took the world by force ever since its proliferation in the 1970s. Most people don’t realize that the average gamer is 39 years old, 40 percent of all gamers are female, or that the industry as a whole received $10.5 billion in revenue in 2009. To some, these numbers might come as a shock, but to a gamer, it’s a lifestyle. The world of “video game public relations” is equally as huge and lucrative.
Video games rely heavily on advertisement and pre-release sales. Game developers depend on the income that gamers provide by purchasing games before they are released in stores. With that revenue, the developers pay for anything from advertising to orchestral recordings for soundtracks. The success of a video game is entirely dependent on what occurs the months before release.
The ongoing competition between Sony and Microsoft is a perfect example of video game public relations at play. After Xbox had a public relations disaster during the 2013 release concerning policy changes on the console, Sony retaliated and used the new policies against them. This mistake was handled in an extremely hostile way toward both customers and Sony, leading to millions of dollars in lost profits for Microsoft in 2014.
Promotional events, pre-release parties, or social media interaction- you name it, and video game public relations teams have done it. Often ahead of other industries, video game public relations teams need to stay connected with their “techy” audiences and try new things to keep them on their toes. Dealing with things like release pushbacks, game crashes and an almost entirely online community of gamers adds to the to-do list of public relations professionals in this field.
By Nick Hebert
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.