Please join us on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 6-8PM in the Gannett Auditorium for an interactive workshop between UF PRSSA, AD Society, JCA and AMA!

Come be a part of this fascinatingly unique experience:

We refer to these workshops as CoLabs and utilize a process that was invented and trademarked by grants manager, Bess de Farber- a certified professional facilitator. CoLAB workshops are two hour sessions where participants wear profile signs outlining their interests, strongest skills, groups they belong to etc. and engage in a three minuteone-on-one "speed meetings". In these high focused conversations participants quickly reveal passions, skills and resources that may otherwise take months to uncover. Each participant's photo, profile sign and contact information is then loaded into a password protected website for online follow-up after the workshop.

Students Utilize Social Media for a Study at UF

    More students at UF are motivated to work out and using social media to share this after after a recent study at UF went in-depth behind the science of exercise. 
    A study at the UF College of Medicine’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine found that irisin, a hormone that the body releases during exercise, can help fight obesity and diabetes. 
    According to the study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism, the hormone actually prevents fat from forming and works by boosting the activity of genes and protein that are used when burning fat. 
    Students are now changing their perspective on exercise, said Brady Sweet, an active 20-year-old junior majoring in criminology at UF. 
    “A lot of people work out to fix a problem, and after that you’re done,” Sweet said. “The fact that there is evidence that you can prevent these diseases should convince a lot of people you need to stick with it.” 
    Students involved in fitness-related organizations are working to spread the word about this new study. 
    Steven Svoboda, president of the Gator Youth Fitness Movement and senior nutritional science major at UF, said knowing the science behind exercise would allow students to be more inclined to work out.
     Svoboda, 21, said their organization is working to inform students about the benefits of exercise and help them become more active. 
    “I think social media is a huge platform that needs to be utilized to reach students,” Svoboda said. “I’m looking to increase our membership and promote fitness for all levels and for me personally.” 
    The research team worked on the study for about three years, said Yousong Ding, assistant professor at the college and co-author of the study. Researchers studied how the hormone irisin functions in order to understand its benefits and how to apply it in future drug development. 
    “With this research, I think people should engage in more physical activity to stay in shape and be healthy and active, especially for people in Florida.” Ding said.    

Written by Jamie Honowitz, VP of Digital Strategy


Bill Imada invites UF PRSSA Members to “taste the street”

Bill Imada, founder, chairman and chief connectivity officer of IW Group, spoke to UF PRSSA members on Oct. 5 about what it means to taste the street. 

 “My job is to make you think a little differently,” Imada said. 

Imada explained that in order to think innovatively and achieve success in public relations, individuals must do the following:

Build your brand identity. Brand identity is created by investing in five pillars, Imada said. The first pillar is equity, which refers to experiences. Next is essence. To establish the essence of your brand, you must decide the balance between the emotional and the rational in dealing with peers, clients and employers. Third is value, which refers to what you bring to an organization, community or company. Next is personality. Individuals must decide how they want to be perceived – are you playful? Serious? Both? The last pillar is promise. What promise will you make after you leave college to your family, friends and community?

Create your own path. Imada encouraged members to keep dreaming up new ideas and sharing them with the world. 

“If you have a great way to reinvent the wheel, you should do it,” he said. “If you have a great way to navigate an un-level playing field, create a skateboard and get across.”

Listen, then act. Imada stressed the importance of connecting with clients. He advised members to take cues from others and always try to find a way to share their passions.

“Everyone has a story,” Imada said. “Find a connectivity point with everybody you meet.” 

Change the conversation. Don’t be afraid to disagree with something you hear, Imada said. Instead, respectfully share your perspective on the issue. 

“Don’t let people shut you up,” he said. “There should always be room at the table for a new idea, a new way of thinking, a new person.”

Be curious. Always be learning, asking questions and thinking about what’s next, Imada said. Do not be complacent, but challenge yourself. This is the time to do it, and this is what companies are looking for. Increasing involvement in PRSSA is a great way to accomplish this. 

Imada closed by encouraging members to work hard and be the best networkers they can be, but to not stress about getting a job right away.

“Enjoy the journey,” Imada said. “Learn as much as you possibly can from wherever you are and then share it.”

Written by Alexa Romagnolo

PRSSA National President speaks to UF PRSSA Members about “What PRSSA Means”

PRSSA National President Emma Finkbeiner spoke to UF PRSSA Members September 14 on “What PRSSA Means” to her and what it should mean to members.

Emma attended college at Northern Michigan University; a small college in the upper peninsula of Michigan, which had a PRSSA chapter of about 25 students at the time.

She made a point to explain to members that she joined her PRSSA chapter having no idea what she was doing; she just wanted to get involved.

At the end of her first year, she ran and was elected to be Chapter President of NMU’s PRSSA. Even further, she had a drive in her to bid and become elected National Publications Editor for Progressions and Forum.

At the end of her reign at NMU, she couldn’t get enough. While attending DePual University in Chicago for her masters degree in public relations and advertising; Emma is serving as the National President of PRSSA.

“The number one lesson I can give you is to work hard and stay involved,” Finkbeiner said. “I got here because of PRSSA”.

Finkbeiner drove into attendee’s minds the importance of attending National and Regional Conferences. “The connections you make there are going to get you really far,” she said.

National Conference is an excellent way attend career fairs, workshops and to form and nurture organic relationships with professionals in the public relations industry.

“I cannot stress how important networking will be in your future,” she said. Finkbeiner reminisced about the time when the CEO of GolinHarris asked to meet her! That moment knocked her off her feet.

Finkbeiner presented the idea of “servant leadership.”

“The servant-leader is servant first… it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” - Robert K. Greenleaf

Finkbeiner brought this quote to member’s attention to reinforce the fact that to become a leader, you must get involved first. One cannot happen with the other. So, dive in!

For members, whether it’s attending conferences, writing for UF PRSSA’s blog, becoming a member of one of the committees or connecting with the mentor/mentee program, PRSSA is an incredible opportunity for students studying the public relations field.


“The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. We seek to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals. We advocate rigorous academic standards for public relations education, the highest ethical principles and diversity in the profession.” - PRSSA Website.

Written by: Sydney Denninger



University of Florida’s Public Relations Student Society of America held their second annual “Diversity in PR” panel on March 31 in UF’s Reitz Union.



Panelists Included:


Ana Gomez, Edelman

Sharon Jones, Ketchum

Ric Katz, Balsera Communications

Steve Rothaus, Miami Herald


The panel was moderated by Deborah Bowie, president and CEO of United Way North Central Florida and inaugural Diversity in Public Relations panelist.


The purpose of the panel was to bring forth the issue of diversity and inclusion in the communications industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 9.8 percent of blacks and 7.7 percent of latinos and hispanics hold jobs in marketing, advertising and public relations industries. This significant underrepresentation of latinos, blacks and asian islanders screams that communications in the US has a diversity problem.


Moderator Deborah Bowie asked the panelists what each of them thought was driving the diversity problem in the indutry. Gomez, a UF alumna, said that the problem is a reflection of our society. She said minorities are expected to be engineers, scientist and follow other STEM career paths, while the communications industry historically was dominated by white males.


Katz, the owner of a spanish-oriented firm, said it is “incumbent on firms to go out and find (minorities).”


Katz said as he walked through UF’s College of Journalism and Communications that day, he did not see many african heritage people.


“We as a profession have to reach out to each other, find people and train as necessary.”


The next issue the panelists focused on was the difference between diversity and inclusion.


Jones said that most organization’s goals are to grow, and to include will push to accomplish this intention.


“To grow, [companies] need to differentiate from their competitors,” she said. “You have to create a culture where innovation and creativity can take hold and run rapid.”


Jones made a point that resonated with the audience. She said if an organization can think of their population as an ingredient, they can come up with rich and complex products. The better product that comes out of including population ultimately includes everything we need to come out with a better product.


Bowie asked the panelists in the final minutes to discuss personal narratives.


“What I love best about what I do is the opportunity to meet people at the beginning of the employee life cycle,” Jones said. ‘What you grow and develop, that is pretty gratifying for me.”


Katz and Rothaus are partners. This is the first time they have ever spoken on a panel together. Starting out early in his career, Rothaus was concerned how being a gay man may affect his career path.


‘The industry back then was not open to LGBT people,” he said.”


Katz, on his experience in the industry, laughed as he said “I’ve been in PR since I was seven years old.”


As a closeted gay young adult , he said he felt the need to be a communicator.


“I wasn’t going to be hiding, i was going to have a message,” he said.


Gomez got into the business because she was “fascinated by the power of influence that communication has.” “It’s something different everyday and there’s a value in that.”


It’s important to add a mixture of excitement into a career, as well as it is essential to add diversity in the workplace. More recently, not only has inclusion been about bringing diversity into the workplace, but putting these people in the positions to make decisions.


“It’s a smart business decision,” Jones said. Inviting diverse perceptions will lead to superior ideas.


Wrapping up the panel, panelists were asked to share the best advice they were given.


Sharon said the best advice she was given was “to be hungry.” Do not say no, do not be afraid of failure.


Rothaus said to trust yourself. Katz said that words matter, and Gomez said “be thankful and gracious to people who have helped us along the way,”


In her closing comments, Bowie reiterated the importance that communications is a field where it can not be done well if communicators don’t get to know different people. She said the more people and stories communicators expose themselves to, the better they will do.


“Diversity is all the ways in which we are the same and which we are different,” Jones said.


The world is changing, and if companies don’t include, they will be excluded from profitability, reputability and the capability of success.


This post was written by Sydney Denninger.

How To Work in High-stake Situations

Scott Farrell speaking to UF PRSSA members about crisis communications online. Photo by UF PRSSA member Sydney Denninger. 

Event: Crisis and Image Management in Social Media, University of Florida

Presenter: Scott Farrell, President, global corporate communications at GOLIN

Last evening, Scott Farrell, president of global corporate communications at GOLIN, described crisis as “any product stopping, people stopping or show stopping event that jeopardizes a company’s relationship with stakeholders or endangers their reputation.”

In a room full of Gators, this Badger (Scott graduated from Wisconsin) invited students into a conversation about crisis communications.

He shared well-developed insights that were backed by the work he does each day as the president of global corporate communications of his firm.

Giving students a holistic view of crisis, Scott began his dialogue by describing brands. On this topic he said consumers “buy” reputations. Image and reputation is a salient issue among all companies, he said.

To help combat the growing challenges of a changing landscape in crisis management, Scott offered five guidelines:


1.     “Slow” kills companies fast
            “Clients who aren’t ready to respond in the heat of the moment will fail,” he said.

2.     Your competitor’s crisis can become yours

3.     Social Media derives traditional media
            Scott suggested that this is that largest change that has occurred in the last 3-5 years.

4.     New venues of communication become global problems

5.     Local issues can become global problems

Many of Scott’s points suggested that speed plays a huge role in crisis communications. He said “it used to be that you would read about something in the New York Times and then tweet about it,” but the roles are now reversed.

With regard to messages, Scott touched on the role successful communicators play when crisis emerges. His “Six R’s of successful crisis communications” include: Rapid response, Responsibility, Regret, Restitutions, Reform and Resolution.

Spending his professional life as a communicator, Scott tied the evening together by saying that has public relations professionals, “we’re note like Scandal, we can’t always fix the problem completely.”


Lauren Maloney is the incoming president of UF’s chapter of PRSSA. She is a third year public relations student and serves as the business manager at The Agency, an integrated public relations and advertising firm at the University of Florida that is “staffed by students, lead by professionals and inspired by faculty.”

Follow Lauren on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Edelman Atlanta GM Engages Consumers with “Earned-Centric, Digital By Design” Principle

The General Manager of the Edelman Atlanta office mesmerized attendees at The University of Alabama PRSSA Southeast Regional Conference with her presentation on the changing food industry in the new millenia on Jan. 29. Alicia Thompson, an extraordinary PR professional with 24 years of experience in the industry, exemplified the conference’s theme "Innovating Tradition" by explaining how the Atlanta Edelman office is implementing a new principle: “earned-centric, digital by design”. This shift to a communication marketing approach means that Edelman wants to authentically engage the customer, and make sure that their campaigns can be picked up by the media and marketed through different channels.

Thompson explained how marketing today is no longer one-directional. She said that professionals must know that communication is two-way, and they must find which channel is most relevant to pinpointing their target audience and making sure their message gets through to the consumer.

“We’re human,” Thompson said. “Our ability to absorb that infinite content is finite.”

Specifically referencing the Edelman approach to the food industry, Thompson said that food is glocal and now takes on different meanings.

“I’m a foodie, you’ll have to excuse me,” Thompson chuckled.

Thompson referenced their current Arby’s case study. Edelman took on Arby’s as a client in 2012 because the company was looking for a way to become relevant again. The firm asked themselves the question “What is the best way to reach our audience in the new millenia?”.

Through research, Edelman found that the core consumers of Arby’s were meat lovers. They needed to amplify this demographic and attract people who no longer thought of Arby’s as their pit-stop for fast food.

Thompson took a counter-intuitive approach to promoting Arby’s brown-sugar bacon. She asked “Who is least likely to support bacon?”.

The answer was vegetarians. To achieve the earned-centric goal, the campaign used vegetarians to help tell a story of meat lovers. It was unusual and funny, which attracted the media on multiple platforms.

The campaign included writing a page-long apology letter to vegetarians that stated that Arby’s was sorry if any vegetarians gave in to eating Arby’s bacon because it is so irresistible.

The news was first broke by Times Magazine. Eventually the story was covered by Good Morning America and featured on Youtube. A meat helpline was also set up. Because the message was accessible on so many channels, the media picked it up and ran with it.

The results were extremely successful, with 19,000 + calls, 15,000 voicemails and 22 million media impressions in a 30 day period.

Thompson reiterated that this campaign could’ve been taken the wrong way by some audiences, and it is always important to have a crisis plan in case things go awry. Thompson’s memorable presentation on the constantly changing food industry and how PR practitioners can go about adapting to it was definitely a favorite at the PRSSA regional conference.

This post was written by UF PRSSA Member Sydney Denninger.

A Day in the Life of a Public Relations Major


  Checking emails, your LinkedIn and Twitter every five minutes is part of your daily routine. If you’re a public relations major, this probably sounds familiar to you. It’s hard balancing the chaos of coffee meets, networking opportunity events and PRSSA meetings all in a week or even a day. On top of that, you have classes, manage social media accounts or write for a blog. It feels like you have 10 jobs sometimes, however, hopefully by now you’ve become quite used to it. Although this sounds stressful and overwhelming, there’s nothing PR majors enjoy more than being constantly busy. Here are some things PR majors can relate to and most likely do on the daily:

Check your emails 

Wake up and smell the...emails. For most people, the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is get up and make coffee. For us, checking emails is almost an automatic response and the first thing we do in the morning. Whether you’re waiting to hear back from an internship that you recently applied for or a new connection you just made, you never go too long without refreshing your mailbox.

You go to a media-related class 

It’s a week day and everyone else is stuck in an English, math or science class. You, on the other hand, are in any kind of journalism-related class. Your textbooks are about media, publicity, etc., and you actually ENJOY reading them. Studying for a quiz or test is no longer stressful when you have to memorize the ethics and responsibilities of a public relations professional.

You are constantly checking social media 

Let’s just say you’re never bored on your phone. Whether its your own account or an account you’re running for an organization, you are on social media 24/7 checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blogs - the list goes on.

You know everyone 

Networking has become second nature for pre-PR professionals. Being a people person, you take this quality and often incorporate it into your social life by constantly meeting new people and making connections. Therefore, when you go out to any public place you pretty much always run into somebody you know. This can be either be really great or inconvenient, such as when you leave the house thinking, “I hope I don’t see anyone I know,” because you definitely will.

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work on everything. Yet there’s no better feeling than getting in bed after a long day and feeling great about everything you’ve accomplished - until you remember that you forgot to do something of course. Being a PR major is both a rewarding and inspiring job. If you can relate to these, you’re definitely killing it in the field. Remember its important to take time for yourself and try not to stay up too late checking twitter because when you wake up, you get to start your routine all over again.

This post was written my Jamie Honowitz, a first-year public relations major at The University of Florida.

Implementing Ethics #withPRSSA

Happy Ethics Month from UF PRSSA! Ethical behavior is a crucial element of reputation building. Since public relations is centered on building mutually beneficial relationships, we use September as a month to celebrate and learn what ethics really means. We are lucky that PRSA offers us a very insightful Code of Ethics to follow. The core values are as follows: • Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information. • Foster informed decision making through open communication. • Protect confidential and private information. • Promote healthy and fair competition among professionals. • Avoid conflicts of interest. • Work to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession.

Volkswagen is currently facing a major scandal due to a breach of ethics. If you haven’t heard, VW created and installed a code called a “defeat device” that could sense when one of its diesel vehicles was being tested for levels of nitrogen oxide emissions. The software would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions while the test ran to ensure that the vehicles met regulation standards. However, when under normal conditions and not being tested for emissions, the vehicles used separate software that increased nitrogen oxide emissions for greater acceleration and fuel economy. Volkswagen is the world’s largest automaker. With that level of power comes a great deal of responsibility, yet Volkswagen failed to behave in an ethical manner and chose instead to engage in illegal acts to make their products appear better than they truly were. Take a moment to look back over PRSA’s core values from its Code of Ethics and think about what would have happened if Volkswagen had followed these general ethical rules. Ethics matter just as much for the independent PR practitioner as they do for the world’s largest automaker. Ethics are a promise to others that you will act in a way that is just and fair. Ethics define your reputation; whether that is a personal brand or a world leader, it’s always essential to act in an ethical manner. Reputations can’t always be repaired, trust can’t always be regained and mistakes can’t always be forgotten. Acting ethically bolsters your reputation, gains trust and creates the type of mutually beneficial relationships that will endure over time.

 This post was written by Vice President of Chapter Development Torri Macarages

Building a Legacy: In Memory of Dr. Leonard Hooper

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is an inherent part of who we are as public relations students. It’s the link between us and the profession.  We owe this connection to a man who helped establish PRSSA more than 47 years ago. Dr. Leonard J. Hooper, the inaugural UF PRSSA faculty adviser, accepted the first PRSSA charter on April 26, 1968 -- just 22 days after the creation of the University of Florida Alpha Chapter of PRSSA. Then only nine Chapters strong, PRSSA has grown to more than 300 Chapters internationally with more than 11,000 student members.


With great sadness, we write about the passing of Dr. Hooper at the age of 91 on Aug. 20, 2015. We honor his legacy every day by working to make our Chapter a resource for every student interested in pursuing public relations.

"Although I never had the honor of meeting professor Hooper in person, I'll be forever affected by his actions,” said Jenny Fenig, 1998-1999 UF PRSSA president. “PRSSA changed my life. I directly credit that organization for giving me the skills, connections and wings to start my public relations career at a global agency in New York City.”

His dedication to teaching and to the profession trailblazed a path for students to find their niche in the burgeoning public relations industry.

"PRSSA is more than an organization. It's a network that gives students the opportunity to see their potential and grow into successful young professionals,” said Adara Ney, 2013-2014 UF PRSSA president. “The UF Chapter shaped me into the person and professional I am today and for that I am forever grateful.”

Dr. Hooper joined the University of Florida in 1964, after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Illinois. He spent 27 years teaching at UF, focusing his efforts in radio, television and ethics in advertising.

“I wish I had known Dr. Hooper. I owe him a debt of gratitude; we all do,” said Kay Tappan, UF PRSSA faculty advisor. “In founding one of the first PRSSA chapters in the nation, he left an amazing legacy that has benefitted countless students at the University of Florida.”

Our thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.


You can read the obituary for Dr. Hooper here

This post was written by Josh Ferrari, 2015-2016 UF PRSSA president

Spreading Diversity #withPRSSA

Happy Diversity Awareness Month from UF PRSSA! Diversity is crucial to the success of any organization, and PRSSA is no different. We take care to ensure that our Chapter is inclusive and representative of students from many different backgrounds, beliefs and viewpoints because we understand that our strengths often lie in our differences. In order to make our Chapter as inclusive as possible, we encourage students from all grade and skill levels to become members. We hold membership rallies in the beginning of both the Fall and Spring semesters to inform students about the benefits that PRSSA can offer them. We reach out to all colleges within the University of Florida to recruit members in order to make sure that our Chapter is comprised of students from many different backgrounds, with many different interests, talents and perspectives. This year we are very excited about reaching out to students at Santa Fe College as well! We will be sending out emails on Santa Fe's college-wide listserve and tabling on their campus to inform them about PRSSA. We also work hard to keep our membership dues as low as possible to make sure that all students can afford to be part of our Chapter.

Internally, our Chapter strives for full inclusion among members. We are taking a bus to National Conference this year to cut back on transportation costs because we believe that every PRSSA member should have the opportunity to attend this event. We host diversity events throughout the year to make sure that all members fully grasp the importance of celebrating our differences. This past spring, our Chapter, in conjunction with Alpha PRoductions, presented a "Diversity in Public Relations" panel-style discussion. The panel featured four leaders and advocates of diversity in the communications field who discussed issues such as inclusion of diverse races, ethnicities, backgrounds, genders and disabilities in the field and in our personal lives. In addition to the panel, we used a hashtag to get members involved in Twitter and actively discussing what diversity meant to them.

To UF PRSSA, diversity is more than just a quota to be filled - it's a way of living that recognizes that we are stronger, smarter and better together; that inclusion, diversity and synergy are more powerful than exclusion, uniformity and individualism; that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This post was written by Torri Macarages, Vice President of Chapter Development

Starting a Career in Global Public Relations

Finding A Career Path Right For You!

There are many career paths for a public relations practitioner to take. Many young professionals will soon launch careers in agencies and businesses across the U.S., but some of the most exciting and rewarding public relations opportunities lie in international opportunities.

As social and economic changes open new markets around the world, businesses and nonprofits will need communicators with the skills to engage audiences across borders and platforms. Public relations practitioners often grow into international roles later in their careers, but young professionals can leverage graduate education to jump on the fast track to the global stage.

A Graduate Degree Program You Can Put to Work

The UF College of Journalism and Communications’ Global Strategic Communication specialization offers an ideal path for public relations practitioners hoping to elevate their skills. Offered 100% online, this Master of Arts in Mass Communication (MAMC) program is specifically designed to prepare communications professionals for the jobs demanded by multinational companies and nonprofit organizations.

During the 18-month online program, you’ll master skills in international advertising and public relations, global branding, crisis communication and more. You’ll graduate with a real-world portfolio, prepared for positions including:


• Global Communications Specialist • Development Communications Officer • Regional Communications Manager • International Affairs Liaison • Corporate Communications Specialist • International Media Consultant

Why Online?

Though many students choose to enter the workforce immediately, a master’s degree is a common choice for students who know they want to go beyond their undergraduate education. UF’s online MAMC programs allow you to begin your career while simultaneously learning to create and manage international communication initiatives.

The Global Strategic Communication specialization is delivered completely online, taught by a world-class faculty of Ph.D.-level instructors and renowned industry professionals. Each course focuses on delivering valuable insights and tools that will prepare you for a rewarding career in international communication.

Interested in building your career on a global stage? Visit to learn more about the Global Strategic Communication program, or explore UF CJC’s other online master’s degree programs: Social Media and Web Design and Online Communication.

Alachua Habitat for Humanity #WithPRSSA

UF PRSSA’s Advocacy/Community Service Committee has kicked off the spring season by working with Alachua Habitat for Humanity’s campaign to celebrate volunteers, families and donors contributing to building Habitat’s 125th house. The campaign also emphasizes the importance of donations in building the 126th house by highlighting specific people Alachua Habitat has helped. The newsletter written by UF PRSSA Advocacy Committee member Lana Nasser has been published by Alachua Habitat and will be sent to 5,600 donors on Habitat’s listserv.

Alachua Habitat also published a flier created by UF PRSSA Advocacy Committee member Rachael Reh. In addition to helping Alachua Habitat for Humanity with its ongoing efforts to assist families in need, the UF PRSSA Advocacy Committee members are able to add these published works to their professional portfolios that will assist them in obtaining internships and jobs in the near future.

Members of this UF PRSSA committee have also been published in the previous semester through Alachua Habitat in a former campaign. These members include Marcus Holton, Rebecca Moonitz and Grace-Ann Kerkvliet. Having built a long-term relationship with a philanthropic organization like Alachua Habitat, our student members are able to maximize their ability to give back to the community and document their achievements throughout their college experience.

This post was written by Lana Nasser, a PRSSA Advocacy Committee Member.

4 PR Tips from NASA’s Lisa Malone


UF PRSSA was honored to have guest speaker Lisa Malone, the director of public affairs at NASA, speak about her experiences and share some of her wisdom. Malone spreads awareness across the country of NASA’s latest projects, launches, live shots and more through both traditional and social media. Malone was a journalism major and wrote for her university’s newspaper, started as an intern for NASA and got hired afterwards.

Here are 4 public relations tips that Malone suggested for college students entering the real world:

  1. Internships. Internships. Internships!

Launch your college career with an internship; it’s all about the real-life experiences you have rather than learning something in a classroom. Recruiters want to see that you can apply what you learned in a professional setting.

  1. Always come prepared.

Anytime you have a meeting during an internship or a job always come prepared! Be ready to deliver the right answers and ask the right questions.

  1. Be professional and don’t lose your cool.

When working with the media, everyone has some deadline whether it’s at noon or midnight. There are times when you will be asked the same question multiple times as well as questions that may be out of line. Having patience is crucial to working in such a fast paced environment like this as well as acting professionally.

  1. Establish a rapport with the media and develop a good list.

Get to know the fellow reporters, bloggers etc. Find out who they are and be sure to keep in touch with them by responding to their emails or phone calls. When they call up to ask to get an interview, interview THEM.

  • Who do they want to talk to?
  • What’s their angle?
  • Do they need any press release information or photos?

It’s always a good thing to establish solid relationships with professionals you’ll be working with in the future.

Be sure to check out NASA’s upcoming unmanned flight test for spacecraft Orion on December 4th 2014.

Speaker Series: Lisa Malone of NASA

Come out this Wednesday, Oct. 22 to hear Lisa Malone speak to UF PRSSA.

The event will be at 6:15 p.m. at Turlington L007. Visit our event page!

lisa maloneLisa Malone

Lisa Malone, APR, CPRC, serves as the director of public affairs at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. With more than 25 years of experience in public affairs, she is responsible for overseeing news media, television, Web, social media, exhibits and internal communications.

Her responsibilities include managing media activities surrounding expendable launch vehicle launches, flight hardware showings and other high profile events, as well as advising KSC management on public affairs issues and policy, and overseeing the center's Freedom of Information function.

Malone also served as a launch commentator for 15 years for space shuttle and expendable launch vehicle launches including the Atlas, Delta and other rockets

Add Social Media to Your Event Networking Strategy

This post was written by UF PRSSA member Ryan Baum and was originally featured on

Ryan-Baum-150x150Social Media and Networking Strategy

PRSSA 2014 National Conference has finally arrived, and many students are brainstorming ways to maximize their weekend in D.C. With an intentional approach to networking, attendees can build valuable relationships that last long beyond the closing ceremony.

Strategic networking can lead to mentorship opportunities, internships, and, in my case, even a guest blog post on Culpwrit.

It is important to practice smart networking during any meetings with potential connections, but, in this day and age, any professional repertoire is incomplete without a social media component.

Social networking can be used to set the scene for in-person meetings and to sustain newly formed relationships once everybody returns home. It’s also a great way for students not at the conference to stay connected and engage with attendees.

The advice in this post can be applied to large gatherings like National Conference or on a smaller scale with professionals that visit your PRSSA chapter. Here are my tips for success:

Brace for Failure  

Before you start reaching out to new contacts, it’s important to prepare yourself for silence.

Most of the time, even when you are doing everything right, you won’t hear anything back from the professionals you reach out to. Try not to take it personally, and keep at it — it will all feel worth it when you finally get a response from a popular speaker or industry leader.

Culpwrit owner Ron Culp, providing perspective from the other side of the aisle, explained that industry-standard long weeks can make it difficult for professionals to interact. “There simply isn’t enough time in the day,” he said, “even for those of us who are inclined to respond to everyone.”

Plan Ahead 

Start by researching the event speakers, and, more importantly, their topics.

Try to find personal connections with your target contacts, like something distinctive you share in common. Bring it up when you talk during the event, and then mention it when you follow up to jog the professional’s memory.

In that vein, narrow down your pool of potential contacts at larger events to focus on a handful of authentic interactions instead of an abundance of shallow small talk.

Attend sessions and workshops prepared with the Twitter handles of the speakers and some background information, which can be gleaned from their Twitter history and a quick Google search. By understanding what each speaker cares about, and why, you can engage in a more meaningful way.

You can also set yourself apart by starting in the days leading up to the event and tweeting to speakers about how excited you are for their presentations. Again, authenticity is key, so utilize your research and include one specific aspect of their topic that you are particularly looking forward to.

Provide Value

Students often have more to gain from professional relationships, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a one-way street. Figure out what you can bring to the table to show that you care about the other person beyond what they can provide you. Use what you learned in your research to determine what needs your new connection has and think about how you can help.

This could be as simple as tweeting an insightful article related to a speaker’s discussion point during her workshop or even recommending a restaurant if a professional travels to an event in your town.

I have personally had success with live-tweeting speakers at the UF PRSSA chapter and creating Storify event recaps afterward. Here is an example I made after Golin CEO Fred Cook spoke to our chapter last month.

This technique works because you are engaging with the speaker (and other attendees), sharing the content with a larger audience and preserving the presentation for posterity — all benefits for the speaker. Also, any engagement will help professionals remember you when you follow up.

Continue the Conversation

Face time at the event is important, but relationships form over time, not through a quick handshake.

As you process National Conference and assess all of your new connections, follow up by requesting to connect on LinkedIn and make sure that you personalize the message. Include something distinctive that you talked about to recall his memories of the conversation. I also like to include one specific idea from the presentation that resonated with me, and how I plan to apply it to my life or professional career. That means a lot more than saying “nice presentation.”

In the case of a multi-day conference, you can also use social media to follow up before you leave the event. My university hosted the first frank gathering last year and one of the speakers was Jenifer Willig, who led the charge on the international (RED) campaign. Adara Ney, 2013–2014 UF PRSSA president, reached out to her on Twitter after her presentation, and they ended up having coffee the next morning before Willig flew home.

In the weeks following the event, continue the conversation by occasionally reaching out and staying on the professionals’ radar. Like and retweet their content that you enjoy and share your own relevant articles and information with them when appropriate. You can also reach out via email for a more personal discussion. Just be careful that you don’t overdo it; it rarely helps to come off as overeager.

No 'Faults' in my Blogging Adventure

By Sarai Cruz Interviewing Nat Wolff, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort at “The Fault In Our Stars” fan event in Miami. Photo: Gustavo Caballero / Stringer

This summer was a summer of hard work but also fun. In June 2013, I joined a friend in creating a blog about the book and movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.” We had a huge passion for the story, along with brewing excitement and nervousness about our favorite book being turned into a movie. Not all book adaption films do justice to the original material. We decided that the best way to deal with the excitement was to follow every single step of the process.

Needless to say, we were successful with more than 1 million views, 100,000 followers on Twitter and 50,000 followers on Tumblr. Filming started August 26, 2013, coincidentally the first day of class. I remember being in class and on Twitter and ready to retweet any tweets or news from set (sorry, professor!).

With this blog I was able to apply skills I learned in my public relations classes. In my head I could hear Ann Christiano, professor of PR strategy and public interest communications, going over engaging with our audience and understanding what they need and want. I also learned a lot of new things that you can only get from actually doing. I learned to use social media as more than a personal tool of socializing, but also as a way to inform and communicate with others who care about the content you put out. I did a lot, and I mean a lot, of writing. I collaborated with a graphic designer in making original graphics for the website. I was interviewed by Yahoo! Movies and the Los Angeles Times to discuss the blog and the passion behind this amazing story.

I attend the red carpet world premiere of "The Fault in Our Stars" in New York City. Photo: Sarai Cruz

This blog was a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, a lot of late nights, but it was a joy. We were fortunate to work with 20th Century Fox and attend events as press. In Miami, I got the chance to talk to John Green, Ansel Elgort, Shailene Woodley and bond with Nat Wolff over the Floridian heat. I was also able to travel to New York for the world red carpet premiere and talk to cast and crew.

It was a once in a lifetime experience, personally and professionally. I look back and I am amazed at what I and the team, who were so passionate about a story, accomplished on our own. I am and will forever be proud of this project. I don’t know what is next for me, but one thing is for sure, I can only go up from here.

First Speaker Series of Fall 2014: Fred Cook


Fred Cook speaks at UF PRSSAJoin UF PRSSA at our first Speaker Series meeting of the year, featuring Fred Cook, at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, in Turlington L005.

Fred Cook is the CEO of Golin, an award-winning public relations agency with 50 offices around the globe.

Before joining the corporate ranks at the age of 36, he talked his way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker, peddled fake Italian leather goods to unsuspecting tourists, ran a rock-and-roll record company, substitute-taught in Los Angeles’s worst schools and winged it as a novice tour guide.

In his book, Improvise -- Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO, Mr. Cook shares the wisdom he’s accumulated through his unconventional life experiences.

Mr. Cook was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in public relations by PRWeek and has worked with top business leaders such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Feel free to invite your friends and join the Facebook event.

All majors are welcome, and food will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

Fall Membership Rally


Fall Membership Rally at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3! 

UF PRSSA Fall Membership RallyUF PRSSA is gearing up to hit the ground running with our first meeting of the semester. Check out our Facebook event page to RSVP and keep up to date with the location of the rally.  We booked Weimer G037 (in the basement) for the meeting but due to changes in room reservations for Drop/Add Week, the location may change.

We'll be providing an assortment of food to enjoy while you learn about upcoming events, ways to get involved, as well as all of the great things PRSSA has planned for the upcoming semester.

We hope to see you there!

If for some reason you cannot attend but would still like more information, email us at