Abbie O’Ryan’s love for adventure and willingness to take every opportunity given to her has been her secret for success while studying at Illinois State University. This second semester senior can graduate knowing she has accomplished that for which all students aim. She’s experienced great internship opportunities, held leadership positions, and made life-long connections, all while maintaining a respectable GPA.
O’Ryan is a public relations major with a minor in business administration who joined the Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter at ISU during the second semester of her freshman year. She began her involvement in ISU PRSSA’s student-run firm, PRogressive Image, where she worked with several clients including Chill Out Yogurt, City Dance, and Christmas Without Cancer. O’Ryan mentioned that working with City Dance was one of the best experiences she has had in college. Outside of ISU PRSSA, O’Ryan is an active member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, where she has gained valuable leadership experience by holding the positions of property coordinator, Greek Week chair, and most recently, chapter president. O’Ryan stays busy by also working with the Vidette, ISU’s student newspaper, as social media manager, and is a member of the Undergraduate Writing Research Program and Alternative Spring Break.
To better prepare for a successful career in the public relations industry, O’Ryan has interned with Figel Public Relations in Chicago, where she worked with clients March 4 Meg, Special Olympics Illinois, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Leo High School, and was given the opportunity to write for Patch.com. O’Ryan studied abroad in Canterbury, England as a junior, where she was able to visit 11 countries in Europe. This semester, she is interning with Palace Events in Bloomington, Ill., and says she is, “Excited to gain experience in yet another area of the public relations industry.”
O’Ryan’s professional advice to those looking to get their feet wet in the public relations industry is that it is never too early or too late to get started or involved. She encourages freshmen and sophomores to reach out to peers and make connections early; if they are willing to work hard, there are plenty of opportunities for them at ISU.
O’Ryan’s post-graduate plan is to join Target as an executive team leader in June. When asked about her time at ISU, O’Ryan said, “The Public Relations program and ISU PRSSA have done more to prepare me for the real world than I ever could have imagined. I am so grateful to have had such amazing teachers and peers with whom to work. As a high school senior, ISU was not my top choice college. Now as a college senior, I realize how lucky I am to have ended up here, and I wouldn't change it for the world.”
Interview 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.