Battle for the bid
Students from the University of Maryland, American University and Howard University are working together to create a bid to host the 2014 Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference in Washington, D.C. The UMD chapter has high expectations because it co-hosted the National Conference in D.C. in 2010. Winning the 2014 bid will give Maryland’s chapter national recognition and credibility. The UMD National Conference bid committee consists of three juniors who meet biweekly to discuss strategies and plans. The committee has been working with AU and HU throughout the summer to generate a detailed theme and schedule for the fourday conference.

UMD’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America
September 2013


National Conference Committee creates bid to host 2014 National Conference
Amber Mayfield, UMD’s lead bid coordinator, said she is excited to be a part of the project. “I hope that more members will have increasing interest in helping out if our bid wins,” Mayfield said. National Coference Bid Coordinator Amber If the judges Mayfield (right) and President Justine Hong accept the final research potential speakers for the bid. bid proposal, Credit: Corinne Buckwalter which coordinators will present during this year’s Conference. Interested students National Conference in October, the may contact Amber Mayfield at team will need additional students for to help execute the 2014 National more information.

What’s inside
What is PRSSA......................2 Building networks..................2 Alumni success story..............3 Meet the new president..........3 About the advisors.................4 How to join..............................4

This October, Drexel University will host the 2013 National Conference in Philadelphia. Photo source:


What is PRSSA?
The Public Relations Student Society of America is a professional organization that connects students to the national Public Relations Society of America network. PRSSA is made up of more than 11,000 students and advisors. Dues-paying members gain access to the PRSA member directory, PR case studies, webinars, news and intelligence. The UMD chapter is among 300 chapters in the United States. Membership to PRSSA can help students broaden networks, develop professional relationships and hold leadership positions. UMD PRSSA currently has 65 members led by two advisors and an eight-person executive board. The executive board includes President Justine Hong, Vice President Laurén Jones, Secretary Caroline Niski, Treasurer Lauren Dorris, Public Relations Director Laura Gonzalez, Historian Allisson Siebenberg, Membership Outreach Coordinator Emily Smith and Professional Outreach Coordinator Alycia Chanin.

PRSSA welcomes three of the new executive board members for fall 2013, Secretary Caroline Niski (left), Historian Allisson Siebenberg (middle) and Membership Outreach Coordinator Emily Smith. Credit: Corinne Buckwalter

PRSSA builds students’ networks
Public relations professionals constantly stress the importance of networking to students who hope to make it in the PR field. They say it’s all about making those initial connections that lead to hundreds more. Students often hear stories from professionals who landed their first jobs at firms, like Edelman or Ketchum, because they knew someone who helped them get that crucial interview. Students understand the importance of networking and feel inspired by the success stories, but they’re often left wondering how to begin creating their professional network on a college campus. The University of Maryland’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America provides endless opportunities for students to build these important relationships. It hosts professional panels, guest speakers and field trips to PR agencies each semester, making networking easy for members. Executive board member Lauren Dorris coordinated a field trip to Porter Novelli, a public relations firm in D.C., last March. Dorris, junior communication major on the PR track, has experienced several membership benefits of PRSSA since she joined in fall 2012. “PRSSA has been a big help in expanding my PR network,” Dorris said. “When I went on the field trip to Porter Novelli, I was able to meet the Human Resources Manager Chet Reisler who actually asked me to send him resumes of students who attended the trip because he was so impressed by how proactive we were being.” Whether a student is a general member or holds a position on the executive board, PRSSA provides the opportunity for active members to build their networks.


PRSSA helps alumni land jobs
Stephanie Deisher shares success story
After graduating last year, UMD Deisher said that she made imPRSSA alumni Stephanie Deish- portant connections with the young er knew exactly where she wanted alumni, whom she later kept in to work: Maroon PR. Through her touch with via LinkedIn, email involvement with PRSSA, Deish- and Twitter. She connected with er made professional connections, panelist Kristen Seabolt, whom she which ultimately led her to a job now works with at Maroon PR. with the agency. After hearing Seabolt speak about Deisher held two different posi- her job at Maroon, Deisher became tions on the PRSSA executive board. interested in the agency. As the social media coordinator her Not long after, Deisher used junior year, she maintained the PRS- the panelists’ interview advice SA Twitter page and correspond- for her own interview with Maed with other chapters through- roon PR. She landed the job and out the country. During her senior is now an account coordinator, year, she served as the secretary. working with nonprofits, small “The thing I really liked about businesses and sports-related clibeing on the executive board was ents. She spends a lot of her time that generally your position didn’t matter,” Deisher said. “We were one cohesive group and all took on different roles and responsibilities outside of our job descriptions.” Deisher said after completing two internships at That year she public relations agencies she knew she wanted to also planned the persue her career at a small agency. annual Young Credit: Maroon PR Alumni Panel, an event that invites recent graduates drafting press releases, pitches and to come and talk with students about PR plans, and also managing events their PR jobs, answer questions and and social media. Deisher often give advice. The event also serves as applies her experience from UMD a great networking tool for members. PRSSA to her job at Maroon PR.

Meet the new president: Justine Hong

As social media coordinator last semester, Hong created UMD PRSSA’s first official website. Credit: Corinne Buckwalter Last semester, PRSSA members unanimously voted Justine Hong, junior communication major on the PR track, to be the chapter’s president for the 2013-2014 school year. After serving on the executive board for one year as historian/social media coordinator, Hong said she felt prepared to take on the responsibilities of president. “I am so excited about my new position as president for this year,” Hong said. “I can already tell this semester is going to be great!” Hong said the executive board has started talking about ideas for various professional panels and field trips to PR firms in D.C.


Get to know the UMD PRSSA advisors
As Fellow Public Relations Society of America members, the chapter’s advisors, Richard Toth and Susan Simon, oversee the PRSSA chapter at UMD. With more than 20 years of public relations experience, the advisors serve as excellent mentors to members. Professor Toth has served as a faculty advisor since he started teaching at UMD in 2005. Toth taught several undergraduate public relations and marketing courses at various colleges and universities around the country. As the professor for the required PR track course, News Writing and Reporting for PR, he strongly encourages his students to become PRSSA members. “PRSSA gives students the opportunity to do things that just aren’t feasible in the classroom, like expanding their networks, going on fields trips and having face-to-face informal conversations with professionals,” Toth said. He also explained how membership to PRSSA not only enhances a student’s resume, but also separates them from the hundreds of others. Toth’s public relations experience includes agency, association, corporate, higher education, military and independent counseling. Professor Simon serves as the chapter’s professional adviser. Simon earned her B.A. and M.P.R. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where she later taught public relations courses. Simon has taught at UMD for the past six years. Her public relations experience includes work for agencies, healthcare companies and Fortune 500 corporations, such as, Ketchum, MSL Group, PacifiCare Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and Hilton Hotels.

How to join
Students interested in public relations and communication should attend the general membership meeting, where they can meet the faculty advisors, executive board and other members. To join the organizaiton, students can download or request a membership application on the UMD PRSSA website. Annual dues are $65 and can be paid in cash or check made out to UMD PRSSA. The dues and the application can be placed in the PRSSA mailbox, which is on the second floor of the Skinner building. Students can email the executive board at Visit the UMD PRSSA website for updated meeting and deadline dates for the semester.

Investment for the future
PRSSA is a dues-paying professional organization. Membership will cost $65. This graph highlights what dues will provide:
“Like” UMD PRSSA on Facebook Follow @UMDPRSSA on Twitter Visit the website at

-65 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10

$15 is reserved for UMD PRSSA events and meetings.

Networking opportunities Connections to professionals Leadership positions Hands-on experience Internship listings

Source: UMD PRSSA Credit: Corinne Buckwalter

Newsletter by Corinne Buckwalter

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