The Harrington School of Communication and Media recognized outstanding students at the second annual Public Relations Excellence Award ceremony at Alumni Center. Five specific categories captured the essence of student achievement: leadership; most innovative; community/campus involvement; and outstanding internship experience.
Recent URI grad and honorary chairperson, Dominic Green, content and branding manager of (add)ventures in Providence, realizes the significance of nurturing students to develop the necessary skills to make a difference in our local and global community. “The university’s public relations program helped lay the foundation for many key skills I use in my career today. As a former student, I’m honored to take part in a ceremony that recognizes these students for their academic achievements.”
Nominated by their peers, the award recipients include:
Heather Hermanowski for Most Innovative
Taylor Gilman for Leadership
A Public Relations Major and Communication Studies Minor, Taylor Gilman recognized that something was missing in her studies, leadership experience. From there, she identified her goal: to tone and further develop her leadership skills. This semester, she took her first leadership courses as part of her Leadership Minor. Throughout her journey, Taylor has attended leadership retreats and discovered many leadership theories that she can apply to her life here at URI and in her future career. Taylor currently holds the role of Special Events Chair for Zeta Tau Alpha, where she is responsible for organizing philanthropic events between her chapter and other chapters on campus. In the Fall of 2014, she organized a donation drive resulting in more than 140 art supplies which were donated to St. Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence. In addition to this donation drive, her leadership resulted in the chapter contributing to the grand total of $17,000 donated by Greek Life to St. Mary’s Home.
Vanessa Brown for Leadership
An internship with 95.5 WBRU has resulted in a life-changing experience for Vanessa Brown. As an intern, Vanessa assumed the role of Promotions Director – a role never assumed by a non-Brown student. Vanessa participated in weekly Sales meetings where she was applauded for her suggestions and recommendations to resolve concerns. As a leader at 95.5, she managed her peers on a daily basis, many of whom were older than she. At times, managing people was intimidating, but Vanessa considered it to be a real learning opportunity and recognized her own professional development as a result of this opportunity. Vanessa enjoyed every minute of her responsibilities as Promotions Director.
Sabrina Brotons for Campus Involvement
Sabrina Brotons has maximized to the fullest her academic career at URI. One of her many accomplishments includes Orientation Team Leader for three consecutive summers resulting in her knowledge of every facet of freshman orientation. Sabrina is referred to as “Sunny” because she is an inspiration and true friend to many students. A PR Intern for Greek Life, she has spent countless hours redesigning the entire URI Greek Life website that is now up and running.
She is an Executive Board member of Zeta Tau Alpha and led her sorority to one of their highest overall GPAs. She consistently encourages every member of Zeta Tau Alpha to get involved in one activity to advance the mission of the sorority. She has also managed the Greek Life Facebook and Twitter accounts and assumed the role of a URI 101 mentor and TA for the mentoring class. Sabrina genuinely enjoys guiding students and takes pride in encouraging them to “do more” while here at URI.
Cody Frankel for Campus Involvement
A decision to immerse himself in campus life at URI has afforded Cody Frankel the opportunity to assume a leadership role in Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity where he helped to recruit the largest class of new members. Cody has taken the lead in organizing many positive events in his fraternity to foster positive spirit and he is an Event Planning Manager at Platinum Entertainment Group where he is THE person to manage as many as 20 employees to facilitate an effective concert experience. Cody is most proud of his role as a Greek 101 Mentor where he shares responsible drinking decision making with his peers.
Sarah Archer for Outstanding Internship Experience
Sarah Archer is one student who has enriched her academic career with invaluable and unique internships. According to Sarah, she was determined to get as much “hands on” experience in public relations and communication studies as possible. In 2012, she paired up with Fronetics, a strategic advising company and Matter Communications, a public relations firm to participate in a unique internship – she spent the morning at Matter Communications helping to rebrand a marketing strategy for Fronetics. In the afternoon, she conducted marketing research and contributed to studying the aftermarket supply chain and logistics for clients of Fronetics.
The summer of 2013 brought her to Dallas where she interned with Conference USA as part of their social media team. In the Fall of 2013, she studied in Hawaii and accepted an internship as the Communications Intern with East-West Center, an organization concentrating on fostering better relations through research between Asia, the Pacific Islands and the United States. Currently, Sarah is in Florence, Italy as part of her study abroad experience and is interning with LdM News where she creates story lines for videos, edits content and has the chance to be oin front of the camera.
Since Sarah cannot be with us today, this award will be presented to her upon her return from Italy.
Kylie Rice for Outstanding Internship Experience – Global Impact
If you ask Kylie Rice about her experience in Ghana, Africa, her face will light up. According to Kylie, she is most proud of her accomplishments and the personal growth she has made as a PR student. “One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was my trip to Ghana as a volunteer at the Blessed Bright Orphanage,” Kylie said. This two-week experience exposed her to a different part of the world and shed light on a different way of life. The experience of living in overt poverty, yet, at the same time, seeing so many happy children who have so little has made her thankful for the life she lives. To support Kylie’s passion, her fellow PR students planned a fundraiser at a local bar; the proceeds were sent to Blessed Bright Orphanage in Ghana. Kylie hopes to return to Ghana one day soon to continue to make a difference at the Blessed Bright Orphanage.
Taylor Gilman, Henry Mills, Kylie Rice and Jamie Wessel for the Impact Award – Goodwill Industries
Four students – one project – one organization. The result: a sense of teamwork emerged among the students and a difference was made at Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of the local Rhode Island community. A snapshot of this project; each student was charged with certain responsibilities to advance Goodwill Industries. According to the team, they used their skills and knowledge of public relations to help expand the organization through social media platforms. Additionally, a relationship between the University and Goodwill Industries was born. The project did not end at the end of the semester as Cody Frankel is currently interning with Goodwill. One team member summed it all up: “Through this experience, I observed admirable qualities in each of my classmates as we functioned as a team.” Congratulations to Taylor, Henry, Kylie and Jamie.
Amy Belhumeur for Impact Award – Developing Relationships
An internship with Sarah E. Daly Events in the Fall is described as an “amazing experience” by Amy Belhumeur, as she was invited to contribute to the success of the business. Amy developed and then later strengthened the company’s very first social media presence allowing the company to gain new followers and likes. By surveying and researching existing clients, Amy was able to identify future clients considered interesting and valuable. She completed competitive market research and analysis, the results of which led to amending some of the event pricing to remain competitive in the marketplace and she was invited to participate in business growth strategy sessions. As Amy reflects upon this internship, she shared the professional pride she experienced as a result of this learning opportunity.