Incoming National Committee

This is contributed by Ryan Casey McShane, PRSSA 2007-08 FORUM Editor-in-Chief

As a former National Committee member, who found the PRSSA Blog as a useful resource, I decided to start a blog of my own from the perspective of a young professional in the public relations industry. Members are more than welcome to visit, as well as share their feedback and suggest topics for discussion. Leave comments on my posts to join the conversation, or e-mail me at to reach me privately.

The Public Relations Student Society of America elected its incoming National Committee March 28, at the student Society’s National Assembly in New Orleans.

I had a chance to chat with the newly elected members, who shared the major points of their platforms, including action items for PRSSA members looking for ways to get involved in the organization.

PRSSA National President – Rebecca Timms (Rowan University)
Membership expansion is a huge focus for the upcoming year. By working toward increased outreach to four-year schools, as well as community college, international and high school students, we will diversify and grow our network of pre-professionals. This translates into more contacts for our members and broadens the scope of views presented in our Society. Chapters can help by inviting these same groups to see firsthand what PRSSA has to offer. Organizationally, we will also strive to improve our communication efforts, expand our online offerings and streamline the National Committee’s role in Chapter operations. I would appreciate members’ suggestions about how PRSSA can advance and progress – from big-picture, vision ideas to tips in improving day-to-day work. Everyone’s opinion is valid and welcome.

FORUM Editor-in-Chief – Patrick Hernandez (Brigham Young University)
As the 2009-10 FORUM editor-in-chief, I will work with my editorial team to advance the publication in a number of ways.
• Expand the scope of content by inviting more guest writers from the public relations industry to write articles
• Highlight major issues in the industry and build on popular topics from the PRSSA blog
• Create more awareness for online, professional and networking tools offered to PRSSA’s members
• Reflect the Society’s diversity in FORUM through research and feedback
• Showcase PRSSA news from the local level to feature the innovation and success of Chapters to inspire the same from others

We invite all PRSSA Chapters and members interested in submitting articles to contact us at

Vice President of Member Services – Mary Rose Macaranas (Georgia State University)
As the incoming vice president of member services, I hope to continue Rebecca Timms’ research on colleges and universities that meet the requirements to start a PRSSA Chapter. To accomplish my goal of contacting these before the next National Assembly, I will need the help of a determined subcommittee. Members interested in joining the subcommittee should be familiar with PRSSA’s guidelines for starting a Chapter, as well as have confidence on the phone to represent the student Society. Please contact me at if you are interested and available to work on this initiative.

Another initiative I’ve included in my platform stems from the National Assembly delegates’ interest in diversity. I hope to help each Chapter expand membership, incorporating a diverse range of cultures, student affiliations, majors, talents, beliefs and interests.

Vice President of Professional Development – Nick Lucido (Michigan State University)
During my term, I plan to work with student-run firms and especially Chapters that need help starting them. I think student-run firms add such incredible value to the PRSSA membership, and students have a great opportunity to provide public relations counsel and give back to their community. Additionally, I want to get our members talking about social media and work toward creating an online social media guide.

With all of these things I would like to bring to the position, I know I’ll need a lot of help from members. I also know they have a lot to teach me, too. I can’t wait to work with a subcommittee and agency leaders to advance this Society and the public relations industry as a whole.

Vice President of Public Relations – Jason Sears (University of Texas — Austin)
The upcoming term for PRSSA has an incredibly bright future for many of the public relations initiatives being brought to the table. One of our most beneficial endeavors is our high school outreach program, which will be continued in San Diego this November during the PRSSA 2009 National Conference. Additionally, strengthening our internal and external interactive communication, as well as developing and distributing resources to our Chapters in the area of crisis management, are just a few of the prevalent issues to be addressed.

This position is mutually beneficial with PRSSA members in that it gives them the opportunity to practice writing press releases, which are posted under the PRSSA Chapter News Archive, found here: Also, the Biweekly Update gives Chapters the ability to send in best practices. The greatest benefit members receive from the vice president of public relations is the communication of National Committee news to members. Keeping our Chapters, PRSA and our multitude of other publics informed is the underlying objective that this position strives to implement.

Vice President of Regional Activities – Jenna Huskinson (Wayne State University)
By participating in regional and national events, PRSSA members gain the knowledge needed for their professional careers. By encouraging Chapters to host or attend a Regional Activity, I hope that members build personal networks and create relationships with students and professionals across the country.

Public relations is about building relationships – the incoming National Committee believes that stronger communication among Chapters is needed. I plan to take to steps toward accomplishing this goal by spearheading communication between schools in each of the 10 national regions.

Members can be a part of this initiative and gain practical experience by serving on the Regional Activity subcommittee or by initiating Chapter relationships at their universities. Having the experience of planning a regional event or the skills to build and maintain relationships across the country are assets that will not only set students apart, but also impress employers and prepare these students for their future public relations careers.

Vice President of Chapter Development – Kion Sanders (University of North Carolina — Charlotte)
As vice president of chapter development, I plan to build strong relationships with all of our Chapter presidents. I want them to know that they can contact me whenever they need advice for taking their Chapters to the next level.

In terms of managing the current programs, I have plans to conduct a ton of research. I want to find out how members perceive current programs I will oversee and what I can do to make them better. The majority of this research will be conducted over the summer and early fall semester.

PRSSA is filled with dynamic student leaders. In this position, I really want members to understand that I’m here for them. The best way they can help me is by reaching out with questions and concerns.

Vice President of Advocacy – Janelle Huelsman (Ohio University)
As vice president of advocacy, I plan to help PRSSA members by making diversity, ethics and advocacy an integral part of their routine. I want to make sure members understand why we have ethics and how we need to use them. Also, I want to place importance upon the values of diversity and advocacy. I will do that by focusing on social issues that are facing our industry and how we, as young professionals, can be proactive.

I hope members can help me by using their experiences with relevant social issues. I want members to voice their opinions on the issues they find most important and express what they think we, as students, can do to better the industry.

Vice President of Internships/Job Services – Mike Wilson (Brigham Young University)
As vice president of internships/job services, I plan on continuing the outstanding legacy that has been established over the last several years. JobCenter is a phenomenal resource that our members can utilize to find amazing internship opportunities across the country.

I plan on continuing to build that network and increase opportunities through member subcommittee involvement and redoubled communication with PRSA Chapters nationwide. I would also like to maintain the personal involvement and commitment that has been prevalent during the 2008-09 year.

To be successful tomorrow, we need tomorrow’s experiences today. Internships are the best way to make students marketable. Let’s work hard and find the best opportunities available.

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