At this past year’s PRSSA International Conference in Texas, outstanding PRSSA Chapters and students were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the profession through various awards and scholarships. As Chapter President of Ohio University’s Scripps PRSSA, it was an amazing experience to connect with other outstanding Chapters and individuals, share our love for the profession, and compare how we are provoking change at our schools.
Scripps PRSSA was recognized during the Conference for our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by being awarded the 2021-2022 Dr. F.H. Teahan Award for Chapter Diversity. The qualifications for the Chapter Diversity award include an outstanding commitment to diversity by performing activities to promote, generate awareness of, and encourage diversity within the Chapter. Over the last year, our Chapter has brought diversity, equity, and inclusion to the forefront of people’s minds through conversations via Chapter events and campaigns on our social media pages.
Each spring, our Chapter takes time to draft our applications to several Teahan awards that are relevant to the Chapter’s work over the academic year. We assign three executive board members to each award application based on relevancy and work together to write clear, descriptive, and creative entries that are then reviewed by other Chapter members. This ensures that we have our entries ready to go when it is time to apply for the awards. This system works great for our Chapter and has brought us five consecutive years of Teahan’s and nine consecutive years of recognition as a Star Chapter. A Star Chapter is recognized by PRSSA National for achieving eight out of eleven requirements related to professional development and relationship building. These include holding a community service project, high school outreach, attending the International Conference, and recruiting diverse majors.
I was also blessed to be recognized as an individual at ICON as I was named the recipient of the Robin M. Urbanski Memorial Scholarship in recognition of my commitment to mentorship and to the profession. During the summer of 2022, I decided to shoot for the stars and apply to several PRSA Foundation scholarships. I gathered recommendation letters, wrote essays, and completed applications, and honestly, I was doubtful that I would receive a scholarship as there are so many outstanding and dedicated PRSSA students. Sometimes, imposter syndrome gets the best of us, but I encourage you to push through it and hit that “submit and apply” button.
If there is one lesson that you can take away from Scripps PRSSA and myself, it is that you are award-winning. Every ounce of effort that you pour into PRSSA and the profession does not go unnoticed. So, take the time this spring to do the research, do the work, and apply to awards as a Chapter or to apply individually to a scholarship. I promise, you won’t regret it. Who knows, you might just be recognized at the PRSSA 2023 ICON.
Olivia Strauss is a senior at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She is studying journalism – strategic communication with a marketing minor and a social media certificate. Olivia is currently the Chapter president of Scripps PRSSA, the PRSSA 2021-2022 Chapter Diversity winner. She is also currently interning with Inspire Brands, working on iconic brands such as Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and SONIC. Connect with Olivia on Linkedin.