#UDPRIntern: #UDWinter At Home– Not Boring When You’re Exploring

Recently, my social media feeds have been chock-full of study abroad pictures, tweets about UD’s first snowfall of 2015 and the top ten reasons to spend winter session at Delaware. But what about all of those students reading social updates from their living rooms? What about everyone that opted not to pack up their bags, go abroad, or just go back to the land of the Fightin’ Blue Hens?

I never thought I would be one of those people that chose to come home and stay home from mid-December to mid-February. Until I was.

When I made my decision to stay put for the entirety of winter session, I received mixed feedback from my family and friends. Because UD’s break is pretty unique, people who have never heard of winter session can’t understand why it even exists. They don’t see the point of giving college students extra time off when almost every other university is back in session while we still have five weeks to go. Some people assumed that, like most college students with typical-length breaks, I would sit at home and take time to relax…except for two months rather than one.

Little do these people know that winter session is far from a time to gloat about how you are spending two months on the couch instead of in the classroom. Winter session allows people to explore a new country while knocking out some breadth requirements along the way. Winter session enables people get a broader education by offering classes students wouldn’t normally take. To put it simply, the goal of winter session is to allow the UD community to explore what other opportunities are out there.

paxton1This winter, I chose to explore professional development from the comfort of my own home. I have two internships, both within public relations and social media marketing-related fields, to obtain experience doing the work I love. I am compiling a list of PR firms that have internship programs matching my interests, and I have a list of Delaware alumni I want to reach out to before February. In my free time, I have a reading list of books I’m making my way through on effective engagement and professionalism. I even finally launched my own blog!

 

I barely have any time to sit on the couch and binge-watch Friends, and I am totally okay with that.

Like myself, PRSSA members choosing to stay home this winter have the chance to explore and apply themselves towards achieving their post-graduation dreams. From home, PR students can gain valuable experience in the industry through a winter internship. There is also no better time to get ahead on networking and developing a personal branding strategy; both become much harder to make a priority once classes begin. And with a clear personal voice in mind, students can get ahead on summer internship applications, knowing their unique voice sets them apart from other candidates. paxton2

I don’t regret that I’m not posting pictures of me jumping off a cliff in Hawaii, or that I’m typing this up on my desk instead of in the Trabant Lounge. I, along with my fellow aspiring public relations professionals, choose to have clear-cut goals and tactics I can take on at home. I am broadening my horizons, sharpening my skillset, and preparing to tackle whatever opportunities come my way this winter session and beyond.

Now excuse me as I take a selfie of myself writing this and post it using #UDWinter. My social media audience needs to know that I’m at home this winter, and I’m going exploring.

By: Paxton Mittleman

Paxton Mittleman is a sophomore communication interest and English double major who is passionate about public relations and social media marketing.  When she’s not attending PRSSA meetings, Paxton is tweeting from her @BlueHenPaxton Social Media Ambassador account, volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma, or planning events as a Senior Fellow for the UD Honors Program.

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A beginner’s guide to making the most of Night With the Pros

“Whenever and wherever you can, network.” Stephanie Mantegna, a PR professional, gave this advice to a room of excited students at last year’s Night With the Pros. As this year’s #NWTP approaches our Chapter, there are a few networking tips for beginners you should know to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Often the beginning of a conversation is the most difficult, especially when approaching a professional. Have a question in mind to open up a dialogue after shaking their hand and introducing yourself. “Can you tell me more about what you do?” and “Where do you work?” are simple open-ended questions that bring up more conversation points. Remember to actually listen
to what they’re saying; don’t be too concerned with your next line that you stop paying attention.

Networking is not just about giving and getting information, or even about building a superficial contact list. Networking is about truly connecting with other people, learning more about them and about yourself. Don’t panic. These professionals all started out where you are right now and every one of them will be happy to help you.

IMG_4190To ease your mind ahead of time, there are many things you can do before the event that will give you an impressive edge on the rest of the crowd. Research the presenters ahead of time; Google their names and find their LinkedIn profiles, and follow them on Twitter. When you meet them later on, it would really stand out to mention a blog post or article they posted.

Practice your handshake with your friends ahead of time. Last year before #NWTP, I went around my floor in a hyper state of anxious excitement, shaking peoples’ hands and asking if my outfit was appropriate. It made me feel much more relaxed for the real thing. Plan your outfit ahead of time and feel free to ask any questions you have to the PRSSA Executive Board. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to ask if the skirt is appropriate, it isn’t.

Once you’ve conversed with the presenter and feel like you’d like to move on, some exit strategies to use are “May I have your business card?”or “What advice might you have for me?” This shows interest and professionalism and allows for more information for a follow-up if you truly connect. When you’re finished, shaking their hand and saying “It was great talking to you, thank you” is a perfect exit.

If Night With the Pros will be your first networking event of your college career, get excited! You are in for an inspiring night. The public relations speakers are always welcoming and happy to talk to passionate and excited young students. We are the future of the field, after all.  🙂

By: Julie Millisky

Julie Millisky is a UD-lovin’ sophomore with a passion for the environment, human rights, and public relations.  She is pursuing double majors in Interpersonal Communications and Public Policy. In addition to being an engaged member of PRSSA-UD, Julie is very involved in the Blue Hen Leadership Program and is a mentor for incoming freshman students. Connect with her on Twitter, @Julie_Millisky.

Fall Field Trip: PRSSA-UD Visits iHeartMedia

One of the biggest challenges in most people’s lives is choosing a career path. In fact, there are a ton of different jobs out there that most people are unaware of. That’s why when a select few PRSSA members, myself included, had the chance to go behind the scenes on November 3 and visit iHeartMedia’s office in New Castle, Del., the opportunity to meet with a handful of individuals with unique and fulfilling careers was a true blessing.

A personalized “welcome” sign greeted us in the waiting room where we were then whisked IMG_7987away and taken on a tour of the office. Starting the day off by viewing multiple recording studios, we were all pleasantly surprised when Sky Phillips, host of the Sky & Christa show from 94.7 WDSD (Delaware’s Country Radio Station), was in-between work and still had time to show what he does most days. Sky explained the technology behind radio stations and recording, answered all questions, and even allowed PRSSA-UD to pick a song he played live on the spot!

Next, Anastasia Kincaid, the office’s Digital Content and Promotions Director, finished up our tour of the station and led PRSSA-UD into a boardroom. With printed out packets full of coverage maps and “At-A-Glance” notes detailing each main station’s information for everyone, members couldn’t help but feel professional. For a brief moment, it felt like we were a part of their team.

Anastasia and the head of the iHeartRadio’s traffic analysis for the Delaware region graciously answered our questions for a half-hour. It was wonderful to hear about their job descriptions and what a typical day for them in or out of the office could be like. They informed us about the company’s events hosted year round for a variety of different charities, and how they went about keeping things interesting and new with each coming year. However, what was most inspiring of all was getting to hear about how both women loved their jobs. Both described a passion for what they do each day and how genuine joy results from helping people with their philanthropy events and daily work. It was also refreshing to hear that the radio station is actually women-dominated and you can really feel like you are making a difference.

The day concluded with advice to PRSSA-UD members about how to get their “feet-in-the-door.” Most workers at the station started from just an internship! We were advised that any opportunity is a starting point. You can work your way up to anywhere you desire if you try hard enough, you just have to start somewhere and make as many networking connections as you can along the way!

All in all the Fall Field Trip was a success and members couldn’t be more thankful for Katerina Vlitas, PRSSA-UD’s Assistant Program Director, for making the whole experience possible. iHeartMedia was full of kind and insightful workers, and each person we came in contact with taught us many lessons we will be sure to take with us as we go on looking and working for our dream careers.

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By: Brittany O’Connell, freshman communications interest with a hopeful minor in advertising. She is currently a new member of PRSSA and hopes to broaden her horizons, step out of her comfort zone, and help many throughout her first semester at UD.

1989: A New Year in the Swift Household

The girl with perfect blonde curls who was once moping on her bedroom floor about Drew now belts pop anthems riddled with independence and ability. taylor-swift

Taylor Swift recently transformed her image using her newest album: 1989. Previously, Swift has released music showcasing her situation being “better off” without negative others in her life, namely others of the male species, like her song “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” In this song, Swift sings about how, no matter the circumstances, she will stay single and succeed without said person. However, in her single “Shake It Off” from the album 1989, Swift showcases a new side of her autonomy. She details how she is now extremely self-confident in her decisions and how she is unaffected by the media buzz she receives about her dating and social life.

The whole album 1989 is receiving major publicity. Her 1989 tour is said to be higher grossing than her Red tour, which grossed over $150 million over the course of her 86 performances. One of the keys to the immense succession of 1989 was Swift’s purposefully suspenseful social media posts.

In order to promote her new pop album, Taylor Swift utilized her Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, talk show opportunities, and small concert sessions. Leading up to thee 1989 release on Oct. 27, 2014, Swift posted picture “clues” on Instagram to help her 12 million followers guess the title of the album. The cryptic images created a great deal of buzz regarding the album and had people guessing and talking; publicizing the album for Swift.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989Regarding Twitter, the 24-year-old artist used it to countdown to the release with her fans, announcing when it was said amount of hours until the release. In addition, Swift appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, The Ellen Show, and Good Morning America just days before the release of 1989.   On Jimmy Kimmel, she performed a song from the album, not yet released, called “Out of the Woods” for a small crowd on Hollywood Boulevard. This now-pop sensation also performed a concert for 89 fans on top of the Empire State Building, singing “Welcome to New York” on the day of the 1989 release. In regards to her upcoming World Tour, which was announced on Nov. 3, Swift will sing for audiences as small as 14,000 people.

The immense amount of publicity Swift created for this album through her social media and other creative outlets has the album on track to sell over 1.2 million copies in its first week, paving the way for Swift’s sparking new pop career, and leaving the world eager to follow her on this journey.

By: Marissa Roney is a freshman at the University of Delaware. She majors in Communication Interest and is a member of the PRSSA chapter at UD. Marissa also participates in Unified Theater and dance performance.

Resources used:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jesselawrence/2014/11/03/taylor-swift-tickets-for-1989-world-tour-could-gross-over-200-million/

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/10/28/taylor-swift-secret-sessions-concert-empire-state-building-video-watch/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/10/14/taylor-swift-public-relations-genius-releases-out-of-the-woods-early/ 

http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6243995/taylor-swift-promotion-debut-1989-week

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-taylor-swift-1989-sales-million-20141031-story.html

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6296377/taylor-swifts-1989-sales-forecast-grows 

General Meeting Round Up: What You Missed on 10/6

At last week’s general meeting on October 6, we discussed the PRSSA 2014 National Conference in Washington D.C. which was attended by representatives from our Chapter, including executive board and general members. At this conference, our e-board had the opportunity to meet and interact with their counterparts from other universities in different activities and workshops.

Before we were introduced to the speaker, the fall field trip was revealed! One of the perks of being a paying member is being able to go field trips that are related to communications and public relations. This past spring some very lucky PRSSA-UD members travelled to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed is one of today’s hottest and most culturally relevant websites so this trip was truly a once and a lifetime opportunity. This semester, paying members will have the chance to go to iHeartMedia, the parent company of iHeartRadio, located in Wilmington, Delaware. The field trips and other opportunities PRSSA-UD provides leaves the potential for relationships to be formed that can lead to internships and careers after college. prssa1006

Monday’s speaker was Jim Delorenzo. Jim started doing PR work while he was a junior in high school in New Jersey. He would write reviews of his high school’s sport games and give them to his local town papers to run. At Villanova University, Delorenzo became involved with sports information and the athletic department and he began covering sports that he previously had no experience with. By the time graduation rolled along, he found himself with the opportunity of being the Direction of Sports Information at Villanova – where he remained for 11 more years.

In 1999, left Villanova and started his own business. Delorenzo continued to work with sports, but he began to expand his services. To date, Jim has worked the sport industry, entertainment industry, companies, and law firms too. During his presentation, the audience was given important tips and pointers including “you’re only as good as your last good deed”. In addition, Jim advised that when you take on a new client that it is important research your client and make sure that there is a target audience for them. In addition, Jim also pointed out that in order to have good PR, you must take responsibility of your actions.

As a pre-professional society, PRSSA-UD brings in speakers who are involved in different types of PR. Jim Delorenzo was a great guest speaker to have and he provided great insight for those who are interested in sports PR.

Make sure you continue to check out meetings so you don’t miss out on one of our great speakers!

By: Brett Blee

Brett Blee is a sophomore communication interest major and journalism minor. On campus, Brett is a member of PRSSA-UD and is a writer for Spoon University. She is also a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta. Follow her at @bblee13 for all things pop-culture and at @BrettBlee for all COMM/PR related matter.

Photo credit: Katerina Vlitas

Paws and Public Relations

Most communication students say they learned career skills from professors and professionals, but few can boast wisdom learned from a canine source, as I have from my basset/beagle mix, Rosie.

This summer, Rosie and I fulfilled our dream of becoming a certified therapy team with Paws for People, a nonprofit organization that provides pet-assisted visitation services. We visit nursing homes and community events to provide furry, four-legged therapy (from Rosie, not me). Volunteering in this capacity has given me insight into effective communication and management of tricky situations, skills that transfer well into the public relations field. maddiebrooks

  • A good introduction makes a world of difference: At Paws for People, we learned how to properly introduce ourselves on each visit: identify ourselves and our dog, state our affiliation with Paws for People, and ask to approach. This set of guidelines helps establish credibility and trust with those we visit. We should seek to establish these same standards in our public relations careers. How can people understand the organization you represent, let alone trust it, without clearly understanding its identity and purpose? Never assume that your audience has the same background information you do – take the time to make a good introduction.
  • Situation management 101: I always joke on my Paws for People visits that Rosie is the real star of the show, while I merely function as her entourage. In reality, I am responsible for running my visits in a timely and professional manner while navigating busy nursing homes and controlling a curious dog. These visits give me experience in managing multiple tasks while keeping my cool, a crucial skill in public relations.
  • Are you listening to me? Listening is one of the easiest, but most often overlooked, ways to help someone. Most people I visit care more about having a listening ear rather than a dog to pet (though that never hurts). Listening closely allows me to determine people’s needs and build empathy. In doing what we consider good or valuable work, we can easily think of ourselves more often than the audience we serve. In public relations, we should listen closely and often to our audience. There is no better way to determine needs and attitudes, and address them accordingly.

The beauty of the public relations field is that the world is our classroom. When we pursue our personal interests, as I did with Paws for People, we can often learn professional skills in surprising – and deeply meaningful – ways. Observe your extracurricular activities through a public relations lens and see you what you may learn.

Now, if I could only bring my dog to work, I’d be set.

By: Maddie Brooks

Maddie Brooks is a senior Mass Communication major with a minor in Public Health. She is a UD Social Media Ambassador and a member of PRSSA, Lori’s Hands, and Paws for People. Follow her on Twitter, @BlueHenMaddie and @Mbrooksinde.

Four Ways to Get the Most of Your Summer Internship

The weeks left until the start of another semester dwindled down to just three, and if you’re like me, you still have part of that time left at your summer internship. In that amount of time, you can tackle a big project or meet an Executive who offers to look over your work. I know I plan to take on as many assignments as possible until my last day.

With all the professional development opportunities awaiting you, it may seem hard to narrow it down to just a few. Look at these four ways to get the most out of your summer internship and see just how much you can achieve in three weeks!

  1. Ask Questions

The longer you intern for a company, the better you can understand which of your co-workers work in positions you hope to one day. Ask them to lunch, walk with them on the way into work in the morning, or grab a coffee date and ask them any question you have. Once you’re with them, ask as many questions as you can. Most of the time professionals are happy to help an intern learn more about their industry or must have skills. I found a recent graduate at my internship who worked in the department I liked the most. We grabbed lunch one day and I learned more about her day to day work activities than I would have as an intern in another department.

  1. Learn a new skill.

Every internship experience is different, so take the time to learn a new skill during your last few weeks there. If you focus on transferable skills, you can transfer what you learned to your next internship or even job. I developed my leadership skills by taking on the lead of a project. I received the chance to delegate tasks to my peers, problem solve, and effectively manage a team. All of those skills can be transferred to a future position, each with an example I can communicate in an interview. Expanding your skill set will help you continue to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.

  1. Network with your peers.

If you work with other interns, it’s important to network with them; you could run into them again in the future. Take the time to talk to them during your lunch break or on the way out of the office at night. Employers notice you taking the time to build a relationship with your coworkers, showing you’re a team player. I’m lucky enough to work with 8 other interns, and I spend a lot of time getting to know them and their varied skills at work. These connections will be useful slow day with no projects, but will also allow me to meet some of the people I could be working with again when I graduate. It’s important to know the people working in your industry and to look to them for support or advice. You also get a better understanding for your competition when applying for jobs.

  1. Get as many samples for your portfolio as possible.

Your work portfolio showcases your skills to future employers and can be filled with samples from work or independent projects. Samples from projects you worked on at your internship, however, really stand out. Use these next few weeks to draft as many samples for your portfolio as possible. My portfolio is filled with press releases, articles, and event materials, some of which were used by my Supervisor for actual projects. In these upcoming days I’ll be looking for any chance to write a press release, article, or to be included on a project where I can produce tangible work. Taking on a chance to work, no matter how small, shows your initiative to learn as well.

By: Betsey Coulbourn

Betsey is a senior Political Science major with a triple minor in journalism, political communication, and Islamic studies. She currently serves as Historian for PRSSA-UD for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to being on the PRSSA-UD executive board, she is a Field Organizer with the Delaware Democratic Party and a member of Active Minds. Connect with her on Twitter @betC__.