PRSSA’s Career Crawl

Friday, January 25 the SJFC PRSSA Tom Proietti Chapter set out on a career crawl of five companies to learn about the marketing, public relations, and advertising opportunities in the Rochester area. Participating companies included Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, Text 100, Partners & Napier, Helen & Gertrude, and The Cause Collaborative.

Students toured the offices followed by information sessions about the company, communications field and career options from professionals. Chapter President, Alyssa Whitley explained, “Our Career Crawl is an incredible opportunity to network with and learn from local talent, and get a peek of their office spaces.” She continued, “The majority of our chapter are seniors and will soon be graduating. This crawl can provide a lot of clarity for students thinking about their next move after college.”

In addition to educating students about their companies and positions, many crawl hosts shared important advice for success. Our Chapter’s top five takeaways:

  1. Network with as many people as you can because you never know how a connection can benefit you in the future
  2. Try as many different things as you possibly can and keep an open mind
  3. Identify a mentor that can help you grow in your skills
  4. Know that your first job out of college likely won’t be your forever job
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail because your failures will teach you more than your successes will

Many students ended the crawl feeling more confident about life in the communications field after Fisher. Media and Communications senior, Chris Murray shared, “I’m so excited I was able to participate in the Career Crawl because I feel a lot better about what to look for in companies!”



PRSSA Intern PRep Series: Part 1

PRSSA hosts an Internship Prep Series every year in order to help it’s members learn about, prepare for, and find internship opportunities. During the series there are mock interviews, resume critiques, paneling sessions with professionals and more. To kick off this year’s series, Alyssa Whitley, President of PRSSA, hosted and facilitated a panel discussion with professionals who either turned their internship opportunities into full time jobs or deal directly with hiring or supervising interns in their organizations.

There were nine members at the PRSSA meeting on October 23 along with the chapter’s advisor and the five panelists listed below.

  • Olivia Rotondo – Research and PR Account Coordinator for Tipping Point Communications
  • Christine Leavenworth – Communication Coordinator for MedAmerica
  • Courtney O’Gorman – Public Relations Assistant at Dixon Schwabl
  • Melissa Greco Lopes – Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at SJFC
  • Kate Torok – Director of Marketing and Communications at SJFC


Throughout the meeting, the professionals discussed how they got to where they are today in their careers, how to ask about and find the culture fit for you, and how to go about leaving an impression on your internship. Then, the professionals were asked to give tips on how to network and reach out to professionals, create a unique and powerful resume and portfolio, and use social media professionally.

Author – Kaitlin Hawkins-Rusch, Chapter Director of Recruitment and Retention



Meet the 2018-2019 PRSSA E-Board

This past year was a big year for St. John Fisher College’s PRSSA with many successful events and a trip to the PRSSA National Conference in Boston. Next year will bring even more opportunities for events and networking and will include a trip to Austin, TX for the 2018 PRSSA National Conference. All of this will be made possible by the brand new E-Board, with a mix of old and new faces. Meet the 2018-2019 PRSSA Executive Board:

Alyssa Whitley, President


Alyssa is a rising senior at St. John Fisher College studying Media Management. She became an active member of both PRSSA and The PRIMA Group last year and next year she will also be serving a the Director of Public Relations for The PRIMA Group. This past  year, she served as the Public Relations Manager for Gilda’s Cup and for the Bateman Competition. This summer, she will work as a Public Relations and Marketing Intern at Helen and Gertrude.


Aleccia Mack, Vice President

Aleccia is a rising junior at St. John Fisher College studying Media Management andPsychology. She has been an RA at Fisher for the past year and is very involved in Residential Life.


Colleen Senglaub, Treasurer

Colleen is a rising junior at St. John Fisher College studying Media Management with a minor in Spanish. This will be her second year serving as the treasurer for PRSSA. Last year, she served as an Account Executive for Gilda’s Cup, the Strategic Communications Manager for the Bateman Competition, and a Development Captain for the Teddi Dance for Love. She also worked as a Corporate Communications Intern at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

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Lindsey is a rising junior at St. John Fisher College studying Media Management with a minor in Political Science. Last year, she served as the recruitment coordinator for PRSSA. She was also an Account Executive for Gilda’s Cup and the Research Manager for the Bateman Competition. This summer, she is working as a Communications Associate Intern at Relentless Awareness in Albany, NY.   

The entire E-Board is looking forward to a wonderful year!

Author – Colleen Senglaub, Chapter Treasurer

Meet the Media 2017 – The Future of Media

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.25.43 PM.pngFisher Students “Meet the Media” during the 3rd annual Meet the Media panel series.

On Thursday, November 16th, The PRIMA Group and PRSSA of St. John Fisher College hosted the annual Meet the Media event. This event was created in 2015 by Professor Arien Rozelle. The panel’s goal is to showcase the important relationship between media professionals and public relations professionals. This year, there were 5 panels all together throughout the week. Two panels were held in Professor Rozelle’s Intro to Public Relations classes, and two were held in Professor Rozelle’s Media Relations classes. The fifth panel was held on Thursday night, which was a panel and networking event, open to all St. John Fisher students. New this year, one of the panels was not media professionals, but it was full of public relations professionals in order for students to fully understand both viewpoints of the media’s relationship with public relations professionals.

Thursday night’s panel had some amazing media professionals. These guests included:

  • Olivia Lopez, a Fisher alumni from the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Will Cleveland from the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Mark Gruba from WROC Channel 8
  • Scott Spezzano from 98.9 The Buzz
  • Lisa Famiglietti from WXXI

The panel was full of lively discussions about the state of the media in the past few decades, and where it is headed – especially in terms of social media. Having panelists from print media, radio, and television, led to an array of viewpoints which was beneficial to all in attendance. Attendees learned about the importance of news being accurate, how social media influences news, and how to form relationships with media professionals as students.

At the end, we were all given the opportunity to network with these media professionals, and ask any specific questions we might have had after hearing their experiences. Many of us walked away with business cards in our pockets, and beneficial connections in the community!


Author: Lindsey Garrant – PRSSA Recruitment + Retention Coordinator

Jane Dvorak Leaves Her Mark on Fisher

PRSSA and The PRIMA Group were fortunate enough to have an unforgettable guest visit on November 9th. Jane Dvorak was the chair of the 2017 PRSA International Conference and we were unbelievably lucky to hear from her. Her visit was short, but during that hour we learned and we laughed more than we could have imagined.

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Jane brought an unbelievable amount of energy to Basil 208. A Colorado resident, she told us all about her incredible career in public relations. She considers herself a “consultalancer,” a word she created, combining the work of a consultant and a freelancer (two things she says are basically just the same). Jane owns her own company, JKD & Company Inc., and does a huge portion of her “consultalancing” for a plumbing business. She taught us that chances are, whatever you end up doing is not going to be overly glamorous, you just have to make sure you love what you’re doing.


Jane’s love for the work that she does was beyond clear. She inspired us saying, “If you continue to invest in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do.” She shared with us what it takes to be a good intern and what you have to do to thrive in the PR industry.


Jane’s sense of humor and incredible laugh were unforgettable. We were lucky enough to be the last stop on her #Chaironthego journey. Jane visited as many places in the country as she could during her year as chair of the international conference. Jane shared with us how amazing it was to visit so many places. However, no matter how many amazing places she visits, her favorite place will always be home.


Author – Colleen Senglaub, Chapter Treasurer


#PRSSANC 2017 – A Revolution Recap


The PRSSA National Conference this year was one for the ages. Not only was our small chapter able to take nine students, our largest group yet, but we had the opportunity to travel to Boston, Massachusetts, a beautiful destination in the fall. We were able to attend the conference for three days – from Friday the 6th through Sunday the 8th, and I’d say we definitely got the very most out of our visit!

From the minute we arrived, we split up and were able to attend nearly every session held during our three day National Conference extravaganza. In general, I’d say one of our collective favorite moments from the conference was Roll Call on Saturday morning. Each school attending the conference was put into one grand ballroom, and each chapter had to come up with a creative way to let the rest of the crowd know, “we have arrived!” Thanks to one of our members, Jake Allen, I’d say we had a crowd favorite.


As the President of our chapter, I was able to attend the President’s session which was a presentation by Ben Butler of Top Hat IMC. With such an engaging and entertaining public speaker, this session was one of my favorites. Ben gave us tips on how to be great leaders in our chapters and our careers, and I definitely came away feeling like I could take on the world! Here were some of his tips:

1. Care about your people. Forgiveness is necessary!
2. Have a roadmap, or goal for your year.
3. Always have an event calendar.
4. You can’t say yes to everything.
5. Do what you say you will do.
6. Resourcefulness is an expectation.
7. Have a solution in your back pocket.
8. Have mentors!

Another favorite session from a few in our group includes Creative Jobs in PR with Michael DiSalvo of Ogilvy, who was a hilarious and dynamic speaker, who talked about how all you have to do is find your passion. Whatever that passion is – there’s a PR job for it! He related his message to his own life, and how he started out not knowing when his next job would come, or what he even wanted to do. He was able to relate to us, which was refreshing and appreciated by his audience – a whole bunch of eager PR students.


Photo from @HofstraPRSSA

Although there were countless incredible speakers, sessions, and lessons learned throughout the course of the conference, I’d say one message that every one of us came away with is that maintaining connections and having mentors is incredibly important. One of our members, Meghan Cleary, put it perfectly.

One of the most memorable lessons learned from the conference is that connections are invaluable. Always nurture and grow your network to build a strong team of professional partners that can support you later in your career.” 

With that, I’d like to thank those who sponsored us and made it possible for us to attend then National Conference this year. Thank you to the PRSA Rochester Board of Directors for their generous sponsorship, and constant support. The Media and Communications Department at St. John Fisher also made a tremendous contribution which made it possible for us to take such a large, dedicated group of students this year. Finally, one of our Chapter Presidents from last year, Olivia Rotondo, who was kind enough to give us a very generous donation as well. Without these contributions, we would not have been able to attend this incredible conference, learn countless lessons, or grow as a chapter.

This PRSSA National Conference was certainly one to remember, and I know our chapter will be counting down the days until #PRSSANC 2018, in Austin, Texas!



Author: Allie Rudy – Chapter President



4th Annual Gilda’s Cup

The 4th Annual Gilda’s Cup event was held at St. John Fisher on April 1st, and many members of our PRSSA chapter helped to put it on. Gilda’s Cup is a charity event for Gilda’s Club of Rochester that The PRIMA Group, Fisher’s student run firm has put on for the 4th year in a row now.


Every year we host several collegiate comedy improv teams, having them compete, being judged by professionals from the Rochester area. Our teams this year included SUNY Geneseo, Syracuse University, Buffalo State, LeMoyne, and SUNY Oswego. Our panel of judges included Virginia Butler from the D&C, Elvio Fernandes from the band Daughtry, Brother Wease from Radio 95.1, and Scott Pukos, from Rochester City Newspaper. All of the teams did a great job, but in the end, SUNY Oswego came out on top, and won the Gilda’s Cup!

This year in particular was a special event. Because Gilda’s Club of Rochester charity is in memory of Gilda Radner, and her husband Gene Wilder recently passed away, this year’s cup was dedicated to him. Therefore, the theme for the event was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and overall it was a huge success! Along with themed decorations, snapchat filters, and food (like the very popular chocolate fountain), we raffled off baskets for people to win. All proceeds from ticket sales at the event, and from the basket raffles went to Gilda’s Club of Rochester.

There was a great turn out for the event this year, which is always nice to see considering The PRIMA Group, including members of our PRSSA chapter, have been working on putting together this event since September. We were honored to help out with this wonderful event, and cannot wait to do the same next year!

Special thanks to The PRIMA Group for putting on this event for the 4th year in a row, to Gianna Sarkis who was in charge of the event plus the rest of the Gilda’s Cup team, and Johanna Lester – the director of events from Gilda’s Club Rochester.


Author: Allie Rudy | Treasurer of PRSSA Tom Proietti Chapter