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PRSSA Offers Graduate Students Chance to Expand PR Knowledge While Networking  

Students within the College of Communication and the ArtsM.A. in Public Relations program learn much about the theories and practice of PR through PRSSA 1their courses. But as any professional can attest, there is a limit to what can be learned in a classroom. Fortunately, the College offers an organization that enables students to get an idea of what the actual public relations world is like — and it is always looking for new members.

Seton Hall’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) invites participants to learn from guest speakers thriving in the PR field while networking with peers and professional contacts. It also provides members access to a database of internships and jobs in addition to offering students exclusive scholarship opportunities. PRSSA participants are also extended the chance to attend national conferences and other special events.

Through it all, Seton Hall PRSSA members are shown what it means to be a public relations practitioner. And as a result, according to Chapter President Gabrielle Apuzzo, students can start thinking about how they wish to contribute to the industry. 

“PRSSA has prepared me to work in the PR world by connecting me with several professionals who have given me insight and helped me carve my own path and goals,” Apuzzo said. “I feel confident going into the field and making active contributions because of the educational experiences I’ve had and the opportunity to learn about many different aspects such as agency life versus in-house work, government relations, crisis communication, branding and so on.” 

This past year saw a wide range of public relations professionals address the PRSSA chapter, with each guest discussing a topic pivotal to practicing PR in the 21st century. For instance, Kathy Carliner of Rosica Communications discussed personal branding while AnnMarie McDonald of Wells Fargo talked about crisis communication. But regardless of what was shared, Apuzzo believes there is always value in listening to those with much professional experience. That is why guest speakers are such a major component of PRSSA meetings.

“It’s important to hear from experts in the field as it helps students gain insight into the various aspects of PR and learn more about what interests them and where they want to work,” Apuzzo said. “Continuing to learn from people with more life experience is a really important part of one’s career path because you can gain insight into things you never thought you needed to know. It’s also a way to learn about yourself and learn more about skills you have and need for success.”

PRSSA Networking x320Chapter Vice President Emily High has also learned a lot from her membership in the PRSSA. Upon joining the organization as a freshman, High was not sure what public relations is, let alone what sort of career she could have in the industry. But after attending numerous meetings, she now fully comprehends the profession and what it takes to succeed. Specifically, she understands PR practitioners must be able to effectively communicate, be reliable and collaborate.

Of course, the PRSSA is more than just a learning experience. High shared that one of the reasons she loves the organization so much is that it allows her to form friendships with peers she would not have met otherwise. As a result, she finds that the PRSSA meetings to be occasions where members can share stories, offer advice and simply enjoy each other’s company. Plus, they are also a chance to do something crucial for professional development — network. 

“We learn in PR classes that it is all about the networking,” High said. “Many PRSSA students have PR-related internships, jobs or extracurriculars they are involved in. Therefore, we can all benefit from one another with the different yet similar networks we have created.”

Lindsay McGowan is living proof that getting involved with the PRSSA can lead to a successful career. McGowan, who served as the chapter’s president during the 2017-18 academic year, now works as a social media coordinator for Coyne PR — and she credits the PRSSA as a significant reason for earning the position. Particularly, she explained that she networked through the organization and received job advice and a recommendation, which resulted in her getting hired by Coyne. And even though she is employed now, McGowan pointed out that she can still use the connections she developed in her professional life.

“The friends I made through PRSSA are the kinds of people I know I could contact if I am working on a client project and need a recommendation for a journalist or news station,” McGowan said. “You never know who you might have to call for help one day.”

McGowan especially urges graduate students to get involved with the PRSSA as a way of enhancing their PR knowledge and networks while also helping less experienced undergraduate members by sharing their expertise. Kristen Koehler, Ed.D., who acts as the organization’s faculty adviser, agrees that the PRSSA is highly worthwhile for undergraduate and graduate students alike for all the benefits it provides. 

“It is important that Seton Hall have a recognized PRSSA chapter, both for the networking opportunities it provides for our students and to comply with the rigorous standards to ensure our graduates remain on the forefront of following trends, ethical leadership and creative and strategic planning,” Koehler added.

To learn more about Seton Hall’s PRSSA chapter, email Gabrielle Apuzzo at or Kristen Koehler, Ed.D., at PRSSA meetings generally take place on biweekly Tuesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Fahy Hall Room 131. Dues must be paid in order to receive member benefits, though all are welcome to attend meetings. Students in all academic programs are welcome. 

The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.

For more information about Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, please contact Ryan Hudes, Ph.D.

Categories: Arts and Culture , Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Ryan Hudes, Ph.D.
  • 973-275-4832
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