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From October 9th through the 14th nine GVSU Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members traveled to Washington D.C. for the annual PRSSA National Conference. This year’s conference had the theme of Intersections: The Meeting Place of Communications and Culture.

The conference was held in the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The large space accommodated the numerous students that traveled from across the country to attend the conference.

There were many sessions scheduled that students could select to attend. The sessions ranged from specific areas of the major; some examples include international PR, entertainment PR, and restaurant PR. Other sessions were more general; these included a resume building workshop, a lecture on how to survive your first job, and a session on video production. Brooke Femat (Ad/PR) commented on how the events were beneficial to her.

“From these sessions and the conference as a whole, I’ve learned to stay curious and never stop learning, the best thing you can do for yourself is to lead with your passion for PR,” said Femat. “Be the first one in the office and last one to leave.”

While the PRSSA National Conference took place, the International Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) conference was also happening in Washington D.C. PRSSA members were invited to attend a few PRSA lectures including a talk about data with Facebook Global Business Communications worker Mike Buckley and a lecture on journalism and “girl power” with ABC Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach. Kelsey Juergens (Ad/PR) learned important lessons from the PRSA sessions.

“Attending the PRSA sessions taught me how to work on everyday professional problems,” said Juergens. “Mike Buckley talked about how public relations professionals can benefit from understanding data analytics. Although math has never been my favorite subject, it’s important to understand data at several different levels. PR is much more than just communication relationships, it’s vastly growing into other areas of expertise.”

Femat also explained how attending the conference would help her future in Public Relations.

“Attending PRSSA national conference gave me a new insight on the future of this profession, I had the opportunity to learn along side of students from all over America who are pursuing a career in PR,” said Femat. “During this conference I was about to experience all of the options PR has to offer, from corporate to non-profit PR I was able to get a feel for where I belong.”

Next year’s conference location has been announced, and it will take place in Portland, Oregon. More information on next year’s conference will be available at http://www.prssa.org/ soon.

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