Four Xavier students got the opportunity to hear from experts such as Congressman John Lewis R-Ga., meteorologist Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, and Scott Cuppari, the global marketing director of Coca-Cola at the annual national conference of the Public Relations Student Society of America in Atlanta, Ga. from Nov. 6 –10. Local public relations firm the Spears Consulting Group sponsored the students’ registration and with support from the Department of Mass Communication the students were able to attend the major industry conference for the first time in the program’s recent history. Xavier’s PRSSA executivmembers Dominique McCaskill, Sydni Raymond, Toni Harrigan and I sat alongside students from across the country at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to learn about new industry trends and how to succeed in our intended career path as public relations professionals.

PRSSAArt1The Mass Communication department prides itself on developing a multimedia, savvy critical thinker that understands the importance of innovation, networking, and professionalism,” said Dr. Tia Smith, the mass communication department head. “PRSSA is a reputable organization that encompasses just that.”

The conference kicked off Friday morning as we attended a career and agency tour thatinvolved prestigious companies and public relations firms such as Coca-Cola, Edelman, Ketchum Inc., and Cohn & Wolfe Global Communications and Public Relations, to name a few.During his speech,Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis told students about the importance of the media during the Civil Rights Movement. We attended leadership workshops that focused on development as future leaders in the public relations field, as well as professional panel discussions and seminars led by executive public relations professionals. These workshops gave us insight into professional development. “As a PRSSA member, I feel as though this opportunity has allowed me to get a better understanding of my profession and has put me a step ahead of my competition,” said Harrigan, treasurer of Xavier’s chapter of PRSSA.

“I’m thrilled our students get an opportunity to see public relations on a national level,”
said Sheryl Kennedy- Haydel, the faculty advisor for Xavier’s PRSSA. “I’m also excited that they can network with other students across the country, as well as professionals

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