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School of Communication Convenes PR Professionals for Speed Networking Event

On March 30, Dr. Beth Thomas’s COM 447 Promotional Production class hosted a speed networking event for Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Held at Progressive Insurance, communication students from the CSU’s Levin College of Public Affairs and Education, University of Mount Union, and Baldwin Wallace University attended the event where professionals from numerous companies and agencies shared their experiences and answered students’ questions.

The two-hour event included an hour of speed networking: twelve 5-minute segments where students could choose which professional guests they wanted to talk with. Students were encouraged to ask for advice, network, and learn more about professional experiences. “Five minutes doesn’t sound long enough, but it doesn’t take long to network as long as you know what you want to ask,” Allison McCann, a COM 447 student, and President of Levin College’s PRSA. “After having multiple internships, I feel like I have a lot to add to the conversation and I am able connect with professionals on a real level. It was the perfect way for me to gauge my growth as a young professional.”

The Promotional Production Class is the capstone course for many students who declare a Journalism and Promotional Communications major. Dr. Thomas describes it as the culmination of all the courses JPC majors take and the things they learn within those classes. “It's a win-win for the capstone students,” said Dr. Thomas. “They learn how the process works from start to finish, from securing a venue to promoting the event to networking with Northeast Ohio communication professionals.”

Prior to the event, COM 447’s students created promotional content to recruit students from other colleges and professionals in the field. They also developed a social media campaign for the event.

The speed networking session was followed by a networking dinner catered by Progressive’s campus cafeteria. The dinner allowed students to continue speaking with the guests without time restrictions. The Promotional Production class also created QR codes which linked to the LinkedIn accounts of the professionals and a survey that allowed them to receive feedback on the event.

Amanda Cook, another student in the COM 447 course added, “I actually used a lot of my time getting to know the fellow students at the event. It was cool learning about everyone’s career aspirations and what they’ve been doing in class.” Cook went on to mention how she wishes she had gone to such events sooner.

This is not the first time a major PRSA event has been put on by JPC students. The COM 447 course sets up events each semester. Students taking the class in the fall work to execute PRSA Student Day, while spring students work on the speed networking event. These types of experiences offered through the capstone are designed to equip students with a robust portfolio of their skills and experiences by the time they graduate.