Real-World Experience Gained Through PRSSA

Posted on: February 4, 2014

Hanna Porterfield-webGetting involved with MSU's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is one of the best decisions Hanna Porterfield has made. The experience she has gained in helping bring the PRSSA 2014 Regional Conference to MSU's campus is helping build her resume, which will distinguish herself as a future standout employee.

Porterfield, an advertising senior, is the director of speaker outreach for the PRSSA Regional Conference, "Electing Excellence: Public Relations in Government and Politics," scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, in MSU's Student Union.

"I've always been very involved. I knew that I wouldn't be getting internships and networking opportunities just by going to class, so PRSSA was a great way to meet people and learn about the industry," said Porterfield, who also is an account associate with Hubbell Connections, MSU's student-run public relations agency.

Only 10 universities were chosen to host regional conferences. Nicole Russell, a communication senior and regional conference coordinator, along with Matt Franks, president of MSU PRSSA, worked on creating a bid and submitted a detailed plan of how MSU would host a conference. This led to Russell having a phone interview with nationals, winning the spot for MSU and the honor to host.

"I look forward to seeing everything come together. I expect the day to move fast and be a blur between coordinating speakers, live tweeting and listening to their presentations as much as I can myself," Porterfield said. "I'm going to focus on staying calm and taking everything in, for memories of accomplishment and experiences to build upon in the future."

In her role as director of speaker outreach, Porterfield had to use her networking skills to search for prominent speakers for the conference, which include Gov. Rick Snyder's press secretary, Sara Wurfel, a College of Communication Arts and Sciences alumna. Porterfield has since been busy confirming and coordinating with the speakers, their assistants or co-presenters, ensuring they have the most up-to-date information for the event.

"Saying that pre-professional organizations in college will prepare you for the 'real-world' is an understatement. This is real," Porterfield said. "The planning and implementation of conference details has given me specific examples to talk about when interviewing for public relations positions. I have quantifiable numbers and work to show, just as you would from internships.

"I hope that in the future I can stay involved with PRSSA and help as a professional, like those who are helping the organization now. PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) will be a lifelong involvement to supplement my career."

Besides Porterfield and Russell, other conference committee members who have been actively preparing for the Feb. 8 conference include Anita Chitwood, Danielle O'Brien, Alyssa Sherman, Chelsea Dowling, Erica Tackett and Megen Rapp.


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