Flying with Scripps PRSSA

Eight rows of colorful, cushioned chairs were set up across the Friends of the Libraries room on the third floor of Alden Library. The week 5 meeting of Scripps PRSSA was set to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 8, 2016.

Scripps PRSSA or Scripps Public Relations Student Society of America, is a student-run organization within the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. The chapter’s main goal is “to offer members beneficial relationships with public relations practitioners that facilitate the learning, acquiring and development of professional skills -supplemented by educational knowledge- to be applied in everyday decisions”.

Jess and Megan have both created strong relationships and friendships through Scripps PRSSA.
Scripps PRSSA President Jess Carnprobst and Executive Vice President Megan Newton after Monday’s meeting.

A little after 6 p.m., Scripps PRSSA President, Jess Carnprobst, took the floor to kick off the night’s meeting. As a senior and member of Scripps PRSSA, I know the meeting’s typical routine. Every Monday night begins with announcements from the executive board regarding opportunities for dues-paying members, networking trips, and committees. After the exec board makes their announcements, members have the chance to make announcements of their own.

Then, it’s time for the “Member Spotlight” and on Monday, Grace Driscoll was the lucky member. The Member Spotlight is a chance for PRSSA members to share his or her accomplishments, passions, and goals with the rest of the organization. Once the Member Spotlight concludes, a professional speaker is introduced. Monday night’s speaker was Brie Strickland, a Social Business Specialist for Southwest Airlines.

Brie Strickland, a 2014 Southern Methodist University grad, stood up out of her chair and made her way to the front of the room. As Scripps students, most of us were used to hearing job titles involving the words “social media”. So, when Brie mentioned her title as a Social Business Specialist, many eyebrows were raised. Brie went onto explain that social business is “so much more than just tweeting”. Social business is a strategy form that looks at how social media impacts every aspect of a company.

“If you want to work in the social business industry, you need to get as much experience as possible. It’s such a new industry so any chance you get have a social media presence, take it,” advised Brie Strickland.

Scripps PRSSA provides great opportunities for networking.
Brie Strickland, Social Business Specialist, distributed her business cards at Monday’s Scripps PRSSA meeting.

Scripps PRSSA members were given an inside look at how Southwest Airlines operates their social media.

With nearly 4.8 million likes on Facebook, 1.9 million followers on Twitter, and 185,000 followers on Instagram, it seems like it would be impossible to keep up with all of the user activity. But Brie shared that Southwest Airlines has a Listening Center of 35 employees that work 24/7 answering questions, comments, complaints, and compliments via social media. Brie is involved with a lot of the goodwill engagement and pointed out that social listening is a major key to Southwest Airlines.

The laughter, chatter, and smiles that were shared throughout the meeting helped show how close-knit the Scripps PRSSA chapter truly is. After every Scripps PRSSA meeting, the organization gathers at The Pigskin to have dinner and socialize with that night’s speaker as well as with one another. This chapter will not only provide you with professional relationships but it will also open the door to many new friendships.

Scripps PRSSA is more than just networking trips and Monday night meetings. “PRSSA has taught me not to underestimate the power of people,” tells Scripps senior and Executive Vice President Megan Newton. “We might not be doctors or lawyers but we still have the opportunity to help people and tell their stories. Everyone in PRSSA has different personalities that we can showcase.”

Scripps PRSSA meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in Alden Library’s Friends of the Libraries room. Visit their website for more information on the chapter. And be sure to follow Scripps PRSSA on Twitter and Instagram, @scrippsprssa, for all things PR.

Taking over your Twitter feed one Monday at a time

Hit music, good friends, a little bit of laughing, a little bit of crying, lots of tweeting and lots of fun.

No, this isn’t a Friday night at one of the many bars on Court Street. This is Scripps PRSSA, the informal name for the Hugh M. Culbertson chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Scripps PRSSA meets every Monday at 6, this semester in the Friends of the Library Room in Alden Library on Ohio University’s campus.

I’m on Executive Board for Scripps PRSSA, serving as the Vice President of External Relations. Every week I curate an email newsletter with internship and job listings for our dues-paying members.

Center, I pose with other Executive Board members at Scripps PRSSA’s holiday dinner

My first PRSSA meeting was the third week of my freshman year. The first meeting of the semester, it felt like the first day of my life. My choice in major was validated, I met people I call my best friends to this day and I heard from a professional that gave me life-changing advice.

PRSSA meetings have been structured relatively the same ever since, beginnings with updates and announcements. Up this week were updates from the Bateman competition team, sign ups for various committees and a networking trip planning meeting.

Every week there is a member spotlight and an ImPRessions spotlight. This week’s member spotlight is Grace Driscoll, a fellow Strategic Communication major in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and friend of mine.

This week’s ImPRessions (the student-run PR firm) spotlight was Athens Conservancy, a local non-profit protecting open-space land in the area. They are selling laptop stickers for $3 this semester that feature their hashtag #Conserve740.

After the option for students to give personal announcements (if they got an internship, etc.), the meeting moved on to introduce this week’s speaker. Brie Strickland, Social Business Specialist at Southwest Airlines, flew all the way from Southwest Headquarters in Dallas, Texas to speak to Scripps PRSSA.

I interned at Southwest Airlines this past summer, and to be able to have a member from my team come speak to PRSSA was extremely rewarding. PRSSA is all about utilizing the connections you have and making new ones as well. This was evident as Brie handed out her business cards to members after her presentation, gave out contact information for the Campus Reach internship team and tried to help members in any way possible.

Brie informed the room of aspiring public relations professionals on Southwest’s history, touting amazing facts, for example the company has never laid anyone off. Southwest has also had a profitable year every year, and it’s harder to get hired there than it is to get into Harvard.

While members were stunned by these facts, they were head over heels once Brie started talking about her work with the Social Business Team.

Brie utilized examples like ‘Hudson’s Big Day,’ a story about a little boy who was waving at planes and then saw a pilot stop the airplane to wave back, to show how her job is much more than tweeting. Her coworker found out about this story through a post on social media, zoomed in to an attached photo, found the plane number and called every pilot that had flown that plane recently. Southwest setup time for them to meet, which was born into this YouTube video (this is where the tears I mentioned earlier come in).

Brie answered questions about her life as a professional, telling Chapter members “any experience you have, it’s all about how you look at it and what you take from it.”

At the end of the meeting, some members accompanied Brie to The Pigskin for their weekly networking dinner. Members see this as a chance to get to know a speaker better. Hayley Baldzicki, a senior Communication Studies major, said “this is a weekly opportunity to network with different PR professionals, in a setting much more relaxed than a meeting and much less intimidating for those who are afraid to stand up and ask questions.”

Members see these meetings as the gateway to their future, Baldzicki stating “it’s great to have this face-to-face interaction rather than another LinkedIn connection.”

Steve Lurie from PR Newswire will speak to Scripps PRSSA next Monday, February 15 at 6 p.m. in the Friends of the Library Room on the third floor of Alden Library.

Learn more about Scripps PRSSA on their website or contact me to learn more.

What makes the OU experience YOUnique?

As you write your college essays and ask your teachers for college recommendations, you picture what your life will be like. You picture your classes, your new friend group and your living arrangements. Once you pick where you want to go to school you have this crazy idea of what it is going to be like. You watch college movies and dream of your first semester, but you really have no idea what is actually ahead of you.

So enter that daily thou mayest grow in knowledge wisdom and love.” At Ohio University, this quote can be found on College Gate as you walk into College Green. This quote explains our college experience in one sentence. We grow with this university every day. Whether it is gaining knowledge through our classes, wisdom through our experiences or love through our relationships, we are growing every day. We are not the same people the first day of our freshman year as we are the last day of our senior year. Ohio University changes us, but is it really Ohio University that changes us or is it just the time period in our lives?

Every year a new group of students joins in to experience the madness, the wonder and the beauty that is Ohio University. However, what these students don’t know is that they are about to be taken on the wildest ride of their life. Just as the seasons change, every semester brings something new. But how does Ohio University change us? Is it just “the college experience” or is it something bigger than that?

Theresa Ianni, a strategic communication major and 2014 graduate of Ohio University, thought she was going to get involved, go to every football game and join a sorority when she went away to college. However, unlike many other OU students, Ianni was not in love with OU before coming here.

“It wasn’t my top choice, but it was the best choice since I got accepted to Scripps,” said Ianni. “I wanted to attend Ohio State University. I went to an all girls high school, so the idea of a Big Ten school (football games, tailgating, etc.) was really appealing. However, I was extremely excited to start college and stayed optimistic because I had tons of alumni and current students telling me how amazing OU actually is.”

As soon as Ianni started school at OU she fell in love with the campus and knew she was in the right place. She didn’t go to every football game and didn’t join a sorority, but she was right in her assumption that she would get involved. Coming to OU alone, she didn’t realize how easy it would be to make friends. Within her first quarter of attending OU, she knew that she was going to have a busy, eventful and exciting four years.

Since her freshman year she has grown immensely, both personally and professionally. “I remember being terrified to public speak freshman year of college, and now I’m presenting at companywide meetings and leading my superiors in different groups,” said Ianni. “Socially, I see myself adapting to situations easier than I used to be able to. I’ve grown fond of putting myself in situations where I don’t know anyone. Freshman year, I never went anywhere without a friend.”

You can now find Ianni working as a media relations specialist at Walker Sands in Chicago. She was hired in September 2014 after completing a post-grad internship with Walker Sands over the summer. The biggest change for her was “going out” during the week. “Weekends are the same. I don’t go out as much as I did on weekdays, but yeah I still have no money and no dignity at the end of the weekend.”

During Ianni’s four years at Ohio University OU did nothing but improve as a university, she said. “The website, marketing strategies, and even a bit of the vision evolved and I think that’s great. OU demonstrated throughout my four years that students were the priority,” said Ianni. “I don’t know if that changed over my four years, but it was very evident. Court Street was perfect all four years, but I definitely feel like it changed. More food establishments moved in and really showed that the college town has room to grow. The bars got both less and more classy but all in all it’s still the amazing street it always was.”

Mark Wilcox, a 1984 graduate of Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication, said his time at OU bridged the years between his childhood and adulthood. “I discovered real academics, learned to interact with people from different backgrounds, made great friends learned how to manage time and during those four years grew into an adult.” Wilcox reminisced about his years at OU and said that he used to go jogging with the men in his fraternity (Delta Tau Delta) and they would end with Jeff Hill. Although he said he could never do this now, he thought it built character and really kept him in shape.

Some things that changed at OU were that Jeff Hall used to be a freshman all-girls dorm and that the drinking age was 18 when he was in school. Wilcox stated that the bars were crazy back then because everyone could be there legally. He has so many great memories, including Halloween, uptown bar parties at The Phase (now Pawpurrs) and CI, homecoming parades, football games, Stroud’s Run and hitting golf balls off the back porch of the Delt house (now the Athletes in Action house next to Alpha Gamma Delta) over Jeff Hall. Wilcox is now a retired Navy commander and currently an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton.

Mark Kuhar graduated from Ohio University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in creative writing. He is the editor of Rock Products and Cement Americas magazine. When asked how his experience at OU shaped where he is now, Kuhar said, “At OU, I was exposed to wide variety of different people from all over the world, which was a far cry from the narrow demographic I grew up around in the rural Hinckley, Ohio, of the 1970s. I made it a point to get a well-rounded education, so every class I took offered me something new, something memorable and some experience I was able to tuck away for future reference. All of this has served me well in a career in business journalism that often requires critical thinking, open-mindedness and personal interaction with people from all walks of life.”

Without Ohio University, Nicole Spears thinks she would be a different person. “OU pushed me to be a more tolerant, more open-minded person while also helping me break out of my shell. I left knowing how to appreciate the little things in life, and learning how important it could be to cherish the daily happenings and ritual you grow accustomed to,” said Spears. “Academically, I learned the importance of a holistic approach and gained the confidence that my unique career path had to offer me.” Spears graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor of science in journalism and a major in strategic communication in 2014. She is currently working at Launch Squad in New York City as an account associate with tech startups and a Brit + Co. freelance editor.

Ianni agreed with Spears and said being a Bobcat makes you humble, yet proud, passionate and determined. She thinks part of this is due to the people she was surrounded by. “These people were unlike any other university. They motivated me to be the best I could be in all aspects. Whether it was PR, being on the executive board of organizations, or even drinking!”

Ianni said that her biggest motivator was her boss at Ohio University Intramural Sports, Nick Brigati. “He always challenged me to think one step ahead of my plans, and helped me step out of my comfort zone with new opportunities,” said Ianni. “For example, he made me attend flag football’s officiating workshop. I’ve never done anything like that before, so it was terrifying. But the workshop taught me a lot about managing others and poise.”

“I feel like sometimes OU is so underrated as far as education goes, and that’s not fair. I know people who have done amazing things, and I know I got a great education. It’s all about what you make of it,” said Ianni. “I want to say that coming back for homecoming this year, it felt like nothing changed. I still felt at home, and I think I was will at OU. That’s the magic of Athens.”

Even though Ohio University may be changing physically and culturally, it is all about what you make it. The magic of Athens is the people and the experiences you have. No other school has the students Ohio University has and that is special. However, this is also what makes other universities unique too. To be honest your college experience at Ohio University won’t be that unique. Where you tell people you went to drink and the places that you went will be unique, but the overall experience of college isn’t. Every university’s purpose is to develop their students professionally and socially and to give them an excellent education. While not every university student may be as passionate about their school as Ohio University students are, we all have the same experiences. By making Ohio University your hOUme, you allow yourself to be opened up to new experiences and to let yourself change. Finding the person that will be your mentor and finding your group of friends is important no matter where you go. Cherish your experiences and remember that OU is unique for its location, its students and its specific memories.


Marisa FioreMarisa Fiore is a junior majoring in strategic communication with a focus in public relations, minoring in business administration and is obtaining a global leadership certificate and a social media certificate at Ohio University. Her passions include travel, competitive Irish dance and writing. Visit or follow her on Twitter @MarisaFiore1 to connect with Marisa.