Starting Off the Spring

By: Jessica Gardner
Spring has always been a season of new beginnings, and my first week of the
spring semester holds true to this statement. It feels ironic to be writing about springtime when there’s a snowstorm happening on the other side of my window, but regardless of the weather, the University of Delaware’s spring semester has begun. This semester is my first semester on campus!

Seeing as I’ve only been on campus a couple days now I am unable to write
comprehensively about campus life, but I can share my experiences so far. I am very impressed with the University’s dedication to safety. On campus students need to complete a daily health check, and there is also mandatory weekly covid testing. One of the nice things about living on north campus, is that I am a five minute walk from one of the covid testing facilities. Not only is safety enforced through testing, but it’s also enforced during in person events such as eating with other students in the dining hall or during building-wide events that the RAs plan for us.

I’ve definitely enjoyed being here for the past week, but I feel that even if I wasn’t on
campus there would still be many opportunities for me thanks to the University’s robust virtual student life. One skill that I really want to improve this semester is my writing and so, along with volunteering to write blog posts for PRSSA UD, I am also applying to write for The Review. This is something that I can do on or off campus. There are so many online opportunities for students, no matter where they are zooming in from. Even if it may feel far away, things are going to get better, so let’s go into this spring with some much needed optimism!

Meeting Recap: Samantha Antapol

By: Sammy Chmara

In our recent meeting held on November 30th 2020, we were joined by Samantha Antapol who does Marketing, Communications, and Events for Veuve Clicquot. Veuve Clicquot specializes in premium wines and is one of the biggest champagne houses in the world.

Samantha began the meeting by giving us some background on her education, college involvement, and internship experience prior to her current job. Samantha graduated from the University of Delaware as an English major who always dreamed of working at a magazine. She was very involved in UDress as she started as a writer and then was promoted to several higher up roles. She was also part of The Review on campus and PRSSA as a general member. Her writing experience began as she worked for Charolette Ronson as an intern and online editor who wanted to work at Teen Vogue. She has always admired University of Delaware and their PRSSA organization as she felt that these students have gone on to do such amazing things.

Upon graduation, she started as a Freelance Marketing Assistant and Freelance E-commerce Copywriter. Her first real career began at Vogue Magazine in the role of Advertising Assistant and then Coordinator. Her roles consisted of developing media plans and marketing programs. She loved focusing on French fashion and beauty advertisers here.

Her current role with Veuve Clicquot has been extremely rewarding and fun for Samantha as she has gets to do so much on a daily basis. She plans and executes marketing programs and events that LVMH carries out. She partners with PR firms to get their expertise in media relations and focuses heavily on celebrity and influencer relations. She does a lot of celebrity gifting, email marketing, and media buying. She said that even though she didn’t go through with a writing geared career, she still has to do it a lot.

Samantha ended the meeting by giving the group some career focused advice. She first stressed the importance of internships both in college and after. She advised us to intern at different places and not be so focused on just one brand. She also told us that you have to love what you do first and like where you work second. This means that you should care more about your daily roles than the name of where your work. She also addressed the stressful topic of not being able to find a job right after college. She says to just stay in contact with people because it might give you an opportunity and you should always take an opportunity even if it isn’t the exact role you wanted. Lastly, she gave some advice pertaining to interviews. She says be yourself and be upfront about things you don’t know. Additionally, always send a follow-up thank you email or letter.

We are so glad that we got to hear from Samantha and we will definitely be taking her advice to heart!


By Julia Sciacca

This week held one of the biggest wins for women in public relations. President-elect Biden named his communications team in which all seven roles are held by females. As a young woman looking ahead to her future in the industry, this is a very promising and motivating sign that women will someday be on the same playing field as men without needing to work twice as hard. Along with being fully female, the President-elect’s incoming communications team is very diverse, which will give the country more well-rounded communications.

As the holiday season kicks into full gear after a year of change, the public relations industry will be facing even more unfamiliar situations and tasks. The holiday season is usually one of the most important seasons for advertising, PR campaigns, and marketing, all of which tend to incorporate family together time, community events, and various celebratory gatherings to promote the warm, holiday feeling. How are these industries going to go about capitalizing on the holiday season when gatherings are now unsafe and families may not be celebrating the holidays together? With no surprise, Amazon was one of the first organizations to put out a successful holiday commercial that incorporated COVID, and still gave viewers holiday cheer through fantastic storytelling. Other possible trends for this coming season are an increase in animated content and capitalizing on the nostalgia most people are feeling for holiday seasons past.

This past Saturday, November 28th, the Vanderbilt football team put Sarah Fuller in as their kicker in their game against the University of Missouri. She is now the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game. Fuller is a senior at Vanderbilt and was the goal keeper for the University’s women’s soccer team before joining Vanderbilt’s football team mere days before she stepped on the field. While Fuller’s new position on Vanderbilt’s team is one for the books, unfortunately many people are looking at is as an elaborate publicity stunt. Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis is one of those people. Travis did a whole segment on his show about why he believes that the decision to bring Sarah Fuller in was a publicity stunt coordinated by the team’s former coach to attempt to save his job. Clay Travis also tweeted multiple times about his thoughts on Fuller’s new position on his Twitter which has 748 thousand followers. Between his radio show and his significant Twitter following, he reaches a wide audience who now, unfortunately, instead of celebrating Fuller’s accomplishment, are questioning the legitimacy behind it.

There will definitely be more newsworthy events coming our way in the weeks to come. It will be very interesting to see how the public relations industry continues to adapt to the new COVID climate through the holiday season. As the public transitions to 2021 however, public relations professionals in D.C. and the political field won’t see much rest as the Presidential transition will be continuing on and the inauguration will be fast approaching. 

My 2020 Summer Internship Experience And What It Taught Me

By: Sammy Chmara

As summer 2020 was quickly approaching, I was hesitant about if I would be able to find an internship or not. Internship searching is hard enough, and the COVID-19 pandemic was posing even more challenges to getting hired. After submitting a ton of applications, I decided to reach out to some local Marketing and Public Relations agencies to see if they were still offering remote internships for the summer. After a few weeks, the president of the Digital Marketing Agency called PurpleGator reached out to me. I was thrilled and relieved that this company got back to me and was really considering hiring me for the summer. After an interview with him and his fellow vice president, they said that they thought a Marketing internship with them would help me learn so much about the industry and be great experience to get my foot in the door. I excitedly accepted the role, even though I was not exactly sure what I would be doing. I knew I would have something to keep me busy for the summer while being able to add relevant experience to my resume.

The first week of my internship was extremely overwhelming, since working for an agency like this was so new to me. Being the only intern at the time, my two supervisors were constantly giving me tasks to do and it was hard to know how much time I would be spending each and every day on them each and every day. Since the whole company was working from home, we used Skype regularly to stay in contact with each other about what needed to be done. We would also have daily team meetings in the morning to go over everyones jobs for the day. Being the newest member of the team who was only an intern, I was definitely nervous about what my team thought about me and if I was living up to the companies standards. I found that my supervisors and other team members were extremely friendly and helpful towards me.I also made sure that I spoke up about any confusion or concerns that I had and made sure that I was extremely receptive to my supervisors and answered them swiftly.

During this internship, I was exposed to so many different elements of the Digital Marketing and Advertising fields. I was able to sit in on team and client meetings to see how these types of meetings operate. I also got to write blog posts on a variety of different topics such as business advice during the pandemic, mobile marketing, and website development. Being able to research and write about these different topics taught me a lot and seeing my pieces actually on the companies website made me really proud of the progress I was making. I also got to help format and insert content for company campaigns as well as research client companies and logos.

The opportunity that I had interning for this company taught me a lot about myself and what am I able to accomplish when I work hard and diligently. One thing that I learned is that if you want to find a job or internship, you really have to put yourself out there. If you look hard enough, you are eventually going to find something. Your first internship does not need to be the most glamorous or the most exciting opportunity, but any experience you can get is definitely worth it. This internship also taught me the importance of asking questions. Internship Supervisors do not expect you to know everything, and it is really important that you speak up when you are confused about tasks. This shows them how committed you are to the company and to learning Lastly, I learned that you are capable of achieving so much more than you think you are able to. I was so nervous about starting this internship because I thought that I did not have enough experience and that I did not know enough about the field. After each day, I realized that I have already been exposed to so much information just through my classes and extracurriculars. It is important to not put so much pressure on yourself and instead just keep an open mind, because you can end up accomplishing so much more than you thought you were able to.

My Role As Diversity Director

By Lia Hyman

When I first interviewed for the position of Diversity Director, all I really knew about it was that I was passionate about it. There was no previous director to reach out to, but based on the description and responsibilities of the role, I knew it was a position that had to be filled with a real sense of commitment. Little did I know that only a month later, the country would erupt in protests nationwide after the death of George Floyd. This only made me more sure that it was more important than ever to have a Diversity Director on our executive board.

Since I accepted the position, I have started reading and watching as many articles, books, and documentaries that I can. Connecting with professionals in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)  field has been a big focus of mine, so I have initiated conversations with executives who can tell me about what they do on a daily basis, giving me inspiration for actions I can take as well. These conversations have helped me brainstorm for the Diversity Panel that PRSSA will be holding in the Spring, an event with a panel of qualified professionals to answer questions about diversity and ethics, followed by a Q&A from the audience. After much contemplation, I concluded that this event would be most beneficial if our panelists answer questions about Ethical Company Procedures vs Individual Expression in the workplace. In the coming months, I hope to solidify our professional lineup and questions for the event.

One of my main goals as Diversity Director is to give members opportunities to hear from a wide range of people that hold different perspectives on issues. In a world that has become so divided, I hope to invite people outside of their comfort zones and listen. This includes promoting events that discuss heritages, religions, disability awareness, and more on our social media accounts. By making members aware of these opportunities for growth, I hope to inspire a more inclusive atmosphere within our own chapter of PRSSA. This leads me to another one of my goals, which is to reach out to other student organizations on campus and collaborate with them so their members can also take advantage of our PRSSA meetings. By making these connections, I hope our chapter can not only grow in size, but grow in diversity.

As a committee member of the PRoud Council, I also have been lucky enough to learn a lot about DE&I from my fellow committee members. The PRoud Council seeks to “actively facilitate diversity and inclusion initiatives on a local and international level on behalf of PRSSA by acting as a resource for Chapters and individual members”. Our committee members come from all different backgrounds and languages, and it has been an honor to engage with such hardworking students, committed to making Public Relations a more inclusive field. Some of my responsibilities for the Council include developing 3 DE&I activities for PRSSA Chapters to engage in, assisting in creating three changes in terms of accessibility, and assisting in implementing a workshop for DE&I leaders and Chapter general body members. 

I look forward to our upcoming viewing of “The Social Dilemma” where we will discuss the ethics of addictive and manipulative social media; controversial topics like these help engage our brain and prepare us for a career in PR! Open discussion around ethical problems in PR is another goal of mine. As Diversity Director, I know it is important to be genuine and well-researched on crucial issues, but the truth is that I will make mistakes! This is why I am very open to feedback and hearing from our members, as well as other UD students, on how I can do better. I am excited to continue my work in making our chapter welcoming to all!

What Jon Meacham Taught Me

By Stella Galli

ICON 2020 was kicked off with loads of inspiration, hope, and motivation. Jon Meacham, a writer for George H.W. Bush and presidential biographer, was the first keynote speaker. As someone who aspires to work on political campaigns and speech writing for politicians one day, his non-partisan perspective is something I believe everyone should hear and grasp on to. After all, his 45 minute speech truly changed my perspective to a more positive light on the current state of our country. 

It’s 2020, and let’s face it, most of us have not seen such a hectic year. We have undergone a pandemic, televised police brutality, and many people are losing hope in the state of the union.. Jon Meacham, however, exclaimed that hope has never been stronger in this country. He urged the audience to think deeply about how, while the nation may feel more divided than ever – that we the people are the ones who can unite the nation. This made me ponder the question, how can we all talk in a non-divisive way? Because how we act and what we think has a discernible public effect, whether we like it or not. Time and time again, I feel that everyone is in a constant state of blaming the other side of the political spectrum for issues, rather than using core facts to argue the roots of the issues. We see this everywhere on social media – just take a look at your Instagram stories and Twitter feed. We are not getting the full picture, rather we are engaging our own selective exposure (which I am sure we all remember from Professor Mortenson’s class). What we are viewing and what we are seeing all affect what we say, and how we act. I took Jon Meacham’s words, to be hopeful and unite the nation, as something we can all work harder on. To educate ourselves on what others think, to challenge ourselves to stop blaming the other side, and maybe just maybe, we can be more united. 

Jon Meacham further inspired the audience by emphasizing how public relations can truly change the world. As aspiring PR professionals, we have the power to influence millions of people and draw attention to things that we care about. As students, while sometimes one may feel powerless, Jon allowed me to remind myself that I can use the power of my own perspectives to make the world a better place. He stated, “When the voices of the powerless capture the attention of the powerful, things will get done.” That is why people such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jon Lewis are so important to our nation and our history: they used their voice to influence millions. They started revolutions for the people. They understood that we are all in this together, and when we all stand together to make our voices heard, improvements will be made. 

Jon Meacham spoke at ICON 2020 for 45 minutes, and within that time, we received incredibly important life lessons. We learned to be hopeful in times of crisis because we are the solution, and that when we use our voices to speak up, we can bring people together to start something larger than ourselves. I am grateful that joining PRSSA has given me the opportunity to hear from Jon as well as other amazing keynote speakers – they are inspiring us to be the PR professionals that we are well on our way to becoming.

The Social Dilemma

By Jonna Anello

The documentary The Social Dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski, opens our eyes to the daunting effects of digital technology and social networking. Many of us pick up our phones and spend hours of screen time scrolling through our social media feeds without even thinking about what is involved in the invisible algorithms our feeds are designed with.

Every click, every like, every share, and every move we make is being collected, analyzed, and used to determine what will show up on our individualized platforms. A quote that put things into a perspective that I never even thought of before was when Justin Rosenstein stated “We live in a world in which a tree is worth more, financially, dead than alive, and a world in which a whale is worth more dead than alive. For as long as our economy works in that way, and corporations go unregulated, they’re going to continue to destroy trees, to kill whales, to mine the earth, and to continue to pull oil out of the ground even though we know that it is destroying the planet and we know that it is going to leave a worse world for future generations. This is short term thinking based on this religion of profit at all costs. What is so frightening is to realize that we are the trees and the whales”

He made such a powerful point in the fact that we are these “resources” and “products” being manipulated by focusing our attention on things they want us to look at rather than things that are consistent with our interests. Our physical lives don’t matter to these big corporations because all they really care about is who is getting our attention, and if they aren’t, how to get it. The documentary really shed light on the fact that, as students going into the PR industry, there is a lot of work to be done to integrate more regulations to be put into place and ethical issues to be solved in the digital world.

PRSSA Fall 2020 Field Trip

By: Jessica Gardner

I was fortunate to be able to go to the PRSSA’s fall 2020 virtual field trip. I am a freshman this year and it’s not an easy year to be a freshman at any college. Honestly, it’s just not an easy year for anybody. But one of the highlights of my freshman experience has been joining the PRSSA as they do a really good job consistently holding engaging virtual meetings so that all students can be an active part of their organization. This field trip was no exception.

The field trip was with an organization called W2O, a San Francisco based healthcare marketing and communications firm. In a way, the timing was perfect, I appreciated the opportunity to learn about a health-focused organization while our country faces a public health crisis. One thing that makes the W2O group stand out is their specialized approach rooted in analytics and insights in their various healthcare promotions. Meaning that they don’t just research the end results of how a product they are promoting did, they also conduct research during the process. This research-based approach really gives the W2O firm and any of their clients an advantage, especially in a scientific field like healthcare.

As a communication major, I also really enjoyed getting to know how I could apply my communications knowledge to a career in healthcare, or healthcare promotion. Another unique thing about the W2O company was their goal of having integrated aspects of communication such as social media, public relations, and advertising (to name a few) collaborate in order to create integrated marketing intelligence and solutions. It’s really special that so many different aspects of research and communication go into the W2O client’s healthcare promotions.

As stated earlier, I’m a freshman so I really don’t have a background in public relations and the business aspect of communications yet. With that being said, I still managed to take away a lot of interesting points about the world of Public Relations that I did not previously know. One thing I learned about was earned media stories, which are news stories that depend on finding the right reporters to pitch their stories at the right time through the right media channel in order to attract an audience. What makes earned media relations stand out is that it is authentic, credible, not controlled, not purchased, and not guaranteed. Basically, it focuses on the quality of the story not a financial relationship between client and reporter. I also learned about the three different types of earned media stories: hard news, soft news, and created news. In the healthcare promotion field, some examples of hard news would be a first-of-its-kind FDA approval or major company announcement whereas soft news would cover things like product launches or awareness days, created news is all about special events and partnerships. The W2O workers told us about their experiences with all three types of news and how each could be used to promote their client’s product.

Overall, I was so impressed with the W2O firm and learned a lot from the field trip yesterday. One thing that really stood out to me was how all of the people at W2O were passionate about their cause: integrated and research-based communication for a better future in healthcare. Every product launch or campaign launch that W2O does is to help people, whether through spreading awareness for AFib related strokes through (go check out that website to learn more) or through promoting a new FDA approved medication for sickle cell disease that would allow patients to receive treatment from home, which is especially important with the coronavirus. I respect both W2O’s values and their causes and I’m grateful that I got to have an in-depth meeting with professionals through my involvement with the PRSSA.

My Summer During a Pandemic

By Matt Caplan

It was not easy to obtain a Summer internship this year due to the pandemic. Therefore, I had to work extra hard to do my research and obtain an internship that would be beneficial to my career-oriented goals as well as provide me with a valuable learning experience. This past Summer, I was very lucky to virtually serve as a Public Relations intern at SCG Advertising and Public Relations (Success Communications Group) and I had an exceptional experience with a number of valuable skills learned in the PR industry.

Michael Cherenson, the Executive Vice President of SCG, was a past Chairman & CEO of the Public Relations Society of America and has a substantial amount of connections in the industry. I was lucky enough to sit-in on internal meetings with him and get to know him on a professional level. Him along with his other colleagues made me and the other interns feel very welcome and comfortable to ask them any type of questions that we had.

In addition to working with Mike Cherenson, I worked directly with Alexa Cangialosi, a PR Account Executive and the director of interns. She gave me and the other interns a number of daily tasks, including writing news releases, creating social media content, research related to client projects, and creating media lists. This helped me widely expand my knowledge and skills in the Public Relations industry and will allow me to feel confident to enter the workforce with what I gained this past Summer. In addition to these tasks, I got a first-hand review on my resume and LinkedIn to make sure it is perfect as I enter my last year of college and prepare to have a career.

As well as serving as a Public Relations intern for SCG, I also was a participant of the PR-Council Agency Ready Certificate Program, which gave me incredible insight on what it is like to work for a PR agency as well as a number of great connections. Due to the pandemic, the PR-Council set this up to help young talent gain insight from top PR professionals. The program went in-depth in subjects such as earned media, client service, giving presentations and pitches, good research, press release distribution and storytelling, crisis communication, building your brand, professional growth, and public affairs. These are all great subjects to learn about as a college student and I would recommend being on the lookout for this program next Summer for those who did not complete it.

I feel fortunate that I was able to use my time wisely during a pandemic Summer, and I can confidently say that I am going into my senior year ready to enter the workforce and take this giant next step in my life. As long as you put yourself out there, you can achieve your aspirations and secure that internship that you have desired. Connect with everybody you speak with on LinkedIn and send thank you emails to any presenter that you attend. SCG and the PR-Council made it much easier for me to make connections during a Summer of social distancing and staying six-feet apart.

The 7 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned as Meetings Director

By Becky Kazenoff

Obtaining the role as the meetings director for PRSSA was exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time. I have the responsibility of communicating with potential speakers for our meetings, with all of my work in the spotlight for those to see. This can amount to putting some pressure on myself because I have to make sure I am communicating with these professionals effectively, while assuring I am finding the most enticing and interesting ones. Member satisfaction has also proved itself to be a huge factor in evaluating my success in the position. Though the speakers have yet to be presented to the rest of the organization, the responses from my fellow executive members have been the recognition I needed to prove I can secure gravitating speakers. Along with customer/member satisfaction being very important in PR, so is building meaningful connections. With that being said, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to contacting prominent and high-profile professionals. 

  1. When in doubt, go by the safe title. Ms. and Mr. are always a safe bet when it comes to initially addressing a professional. When they reply, you can then see how they label themselves at the bottom of their email and use that for future reference.
  1. “Please” and “thank you” are always appreciated. For example, instead of “let me know if that works,” saying “please let me know” is a more mannerly alternative that doesn’t go unnoticed.  
  1. Make a subject for your emails. A lot of professionals’ inboxes are flooded with emails and if you don’t have a clear and concise subject line it could go straight to junk mail. 
  1. Communication is key. You’re better off saying “sounds good” then no reply at all. Let that person know you read their last email. 
  1. Proofread! This is so important. If you’re anything like me, it’s been ingrained into your head that attention to detail in the PR world is pertinent. 
  1. Try to only send emails during “work hours.” I recommend sending the initial email at the start of the day, opposed to the late evening. This way your email won’t get lost under the bulk of other people who will be emailing the recipient the following morning. Plus, it’s a small chance whoever you’re reaching out to will reply that night, so you’re better off reaching out when you know you can get a reply before they unplug for the day.

Follow-up if you haven’t received an answer from your recipient in a few working days. I recommend starting your follow-up after the weekend where you can introduce it by saying something like, “I hope you had a great weekend! I am just checking in with you via my last email about xyz…..” This should also be a reply from your last unanswered