Indianapolis Children’s Museum

By: Dezaray Barr

On April 1st, 2016 IWU PRSSA had the opportunity to visit the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, meet their PR team, and tour the museum. Arriving at the museum, thirteen members of our chapter were introduced to Jennifer Holland, the Director of Digital Communications, and Kimberly Harms, the Director of Public and Media Relations.

Both women described what their position entailed and allowed for the PRSSA members to ask questions. Holland left students with a business card and Harms gave students a list of typical questions she is usually asked with the corresponding answers. On the list was also some facts about the PR field that Harms chose to share with the group; things such as:

  • Get to the point- don’t waste people’s time.
  • Be flexible.
  • Relationship building is the single most important thing you can do.
  • Artwork, photos and video sell stories.
  • It is okay to use the phrase, “I don’t know the answer, but I can find out for you.”untitled

After meeting with these incredible women, members split up into small groups and toured the four floors of the museum. Once visiting each exhibit, the members debriefed over lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Although eleven of the students returned to IWU at about 3:30, two members who had visited the museum and a third who had not had the opportunity to stay in Indianapolis and represent Indiana Wesleyan University at the PRSSA Countdown to National Conference Mixer.

Seniors Dylan Radford and Mia Anderson, and freshman Dezaray Barr arrived at IUPUI and had the opportunity to meet the National Conference Committee.

The PRSSA 2016 National Conference will be held in Indianapolis from October 21-25. For more information about this conference, or to register for the conference please visit

Thank you to The Indianapolis Children’s Museum for hosting our students and allowing them to learn more about your public relations team.


Résumé Workshop

By: Mia Anderson

The student organization, Public Relations Student Society of America, hosted a résumé workshop Wednesday night giving students a chance to meet with hiring professionals.

Four professionals from the Indianapolis area gathered at Indiana Wesleyan University to review students’ résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and portfolio websites. Tiffany Snyder, a career development professional at IWU was also available to help students who did not have a résumé, create one.

Professional development activities such as creating and revising a résumé, networking with professionals, and maintaining a LinkedIn profile do not come naturally to students.

The president of PRSSA, Kelly Reed, said, “Our resume workshop has always been our most attended meeting, and I think it’s because this is a true need of the students on campus. We always look forward to (this meeting) because we bring in people outside of the communication division.”

resume nightThe résumé workshop is an annual PRSSA meeting because this student organization aids students in preparation for the professional setting after college. The PRSSA national mission statement said the organization, “seeks to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals.” The résumé workshop serves the purpose of PRSSA by giving students the opportunity to work with those already in the field.

Reed chose to broaden PRSSA’s mission statement by inviting both communication students and business students to this event. She said, “Part of our vision for our chapter of PRSSA is to branch out and positively effect the professional development of all IWU students.”

IWU students believe that the résumé workshop is helpful as they search for jobs and internships and learn how to best relate to hiring professionals. Dylan Radford, who attended the workshop, said, “I think it’s beneficial to have professionals take a look (at my résumé) and give feedback, especially because competition is so stiff for summer internships.”

Professional critiques can help students grow and improve, which ultimately benefits them in job searches and interviews. Radford said, “I really enjoyed getting vital feedback, both positive and negative, to know how I could improve.”

Competition For A Client

Grant County and Indiana Wesleyan University are investing into the local entrepreneurial community with Competition for a Client.

Indiana Wesleyan University Public Relations Student Society of America hosts an annual event meant to connect IWU students with local businesses. The students compete to solve a marketing or business problem presented by the client.

PRSSA public relations director Ryan Flaherty said, “(Competition for a Client) gives our members the chance to pitch their ideas to a client using real world situations and problems that these businesses are facing. It’s important because while classes can teach you theoretical things, using real clients in real situations help students answer challenges that they might not experience before graduation.”

In this year’s event, students worked with The Refinery Business Center in Marion, Ind.

The Refinery is a co-working space that is new within the past six months. The goal of The Refinery is to allow a space for local entrepreneurs to work and network.

“We chose the refinery because we knew that they were a new business. We knew they were trying to reach out and engage members of the community so we saw an opportunity where we could help,” Flaherty said.

Refinery employee Alexis Dierker explained to Indiana Wesleyan students, “The Refinery is a designated workspace for entrepreneurs and business owners to call their own with professional supplies.”IMG_9588

Dierker asked the students to brainstorm solutions for business difficulties including: increasing membership, increasing foot traffic, and getting their brand out into the local community.

PRSSA students suggested ideas such as better curb appeal, hosting a community fair, creating Refinery apparel, and partnering with The Abbey Coffee Company in order to increase foot traffic and obtain a younger demographic.IMG_9589

Flaherty said, “This event helps a local business be able to come in and receive some ideas about their PR strategies going forward, and these clients may not be able to afford or have time for outside help. It gives us an opportunity to bring these two groups together and both benefit from it and have a great time together.”

2016/2017 Leadership Elections

By: Mia Anderson

2016/2017 PRSSA Leadership Team

The annual elections for Indiana Wesleyan University’s chapter of PRSSA leadership team were held during the Wednesday February 17 meeting.

With only one member of the six-member team running for next school year’s leadership team, the elections were generally made up of new members and underclassmen. The diversity of members that showed interest in leadership positions was encouraging, showing that IWU PRSSA has a wide range of members.Seven candidates ran for the positions of President, Vice President, PR Director, Secretary, Treasurer, and Historian. Members were elected to positions of leadership on the basis that they are dues paying members of our chapter, commit to fulfill their duties, and that they received a majority of the votes from other members who attended the meeting.   

The process of electing members to leadership is determined by PRSSA national rules. A member may run for any position they choose (with President and Vice President requiring at least one year of membership), if he or she does not win the position applied for, they may run for one other position before being ineligible for a leadership position.

Two candidates, Miranda Hardesty and Patrick Murphy, ran for President. Each gave a short speech, and the members cast their vote – only to result in a tie. The candidates returned to the front of the room to give a rebuttal to their former speech, to sway votes to their side. After a re-casting of votes, Miranda Hardesty won the position of President.

IMG_9288 (1)
Current and Past PRSSA Presidents

Hardesty said, “I see this as a big year for our chapter. The previous years’ leaderships accomplished a lot of the hard work by laying the foundation. So I’m excited to see how much we can build on to what they have done.” She plans on working more closely with Hoosier PRSA and PRSA national to network, receive more grants, and open up more opportunities for IWU PRSSA members. Hardesty would also like to open up a student-run firm through IWU PRSSA and the Communication Department.  

Patrick Murphy opted to run for Vice President against Maddie Short after not gaining the position of President. Murphy won the Vice President title, leaving Short to run for Secretary.  

Short and Savannah Buckley both ran for Secretary. Buckley received a majority of the votes, leaving Short ineligible to run for any other positions of leadership for next year’s team.

The remaining positions were filled by Katey Doreff (PR Director), Dezaray Barr (Historian), and Sarah McBeath (Treasurer, for the second year in a row).

2015/2016 Leadership Team Striking a Pose

The 2015-16 leadership team feels that the 2016-’17 team will grow the chapter to not only sustain the practices put in place by this years’ leadership, but will also try new things and ideas that will expand the reach of PRSSA on campus and in Indiana.  IMG_9285

Thank you to the 2015-16 leadership, and good luck to 2016-17 leadership!

2016-17 Leadership Team

President – Miranda Hardesty (Se)

Vice President – Patrick Murphy (So)

PR Director – Katey Doreff (So)

Secretary – Savannah Buckley (So)

Historian – Dezaray Barr (Fr)

Treasurer – Sarah McBeath (Jr)


2016/2017 Leadership



First Spring Meeting!

Our first meeting of the Spring semester was an absolute success!

Rev. Rick Carder discussing social capital

Reverend Rick Carder of the Indiana Wesleyan University Alumni Association dropped by to share a few pointers on standing out in the world of digital marketing and public relations. He discussed the various statistics and demographics of technology and social media users in modern society and shared how best to reach them.

The benefits of using social media as a marketing tool to reach these demographics are:

  1. Enhance branding and awareness
  2. Protect brand reputation
  3. Enhance public relations
  4. Build community
  5. Enhance customer service
  6. Facilitate research and development
  7. Drive leads and sales (relationships)

Our very own Kelly Reed and Mia Anderson (President and Vice President respectively) joined Rick Carder to discuss the importance of goals and blogging to reach people in the digital age of public relations. Kelly Reed completed her senior project through the Alumni Association and Mia Anderson currently serves as the Alumni Association student blog writer.

Vice President Mia Anderson speaking on the importance of blogging

This meeting was extremely helpful as public relations and marketing become more and more digital. The advice of Rick, Kelly, and Mia are extremely beneficial to our IWU PRSSA Chapter.

Stay tuned for out Spring 2016 Schedule!!!!



Half Day With A Pro



Half Day With A Pro is one of the most important events of our PRSSA year! PRSSA chapters from all over Indiana join with the Hoosier PRSA to assign University students to working public relations professionals.

Our IWU PRSSA members had the chance to spend a half day observing professionals at organizations such as: Bohlsen Group, Downtown Indy, Borshoff, Eli Lily, and NCAA.

Alyssa Benson shadowed Jennifer Hanson at Downtown Indy. She got the chance to sit with several different professionals and observe what they specifically do within the tourism organization. They were more than happy to share their contributions – whether social media, event planning, or sponsorship organizing- to Downtown Indy. It was incredible to get a first-hand look at the tourism industry on a regular basis as well as a great networking opportunity.

After spending the morning working with PR pros, our chapter met up with other area chapters and professionals for a luncheon hosted by Hoosier PRSA. Amy O’Connor of Eli Lily spoke about being a millennial in the public relations world. Embracing diversity, growing, work-life integration, networking and more. IMG_8529

The IWU Crew left feeling like they had gained professional and personal experience in the workplace, using this time to network and learn about various public relations industries.


2015-2016 PRSSA Induction


Wednesday, November 4th marked the annual induction ceremony of the Indiana Wesleyan University chapter of PRSSA. Dues-paying members were officially inducted into our chapter by reciting the PRSA Code of Ethics Pledge and shaking Kelly Reed, our President’s, hand. Members will now receive all benefits associated with being a PRSSA member such as access to jobs and internships as well as paid trips and networking.

The following individuals are members of the IWU PRSSA Chapter for the 2015-2016 school year: 

  • Mia Anderson
  • Dezaray Barr
  • Alyssa Benson
  • Jourdyn Berry
  • Savannah Buckley
  • Kathryn Doreff
  • Ryan Flaherty
  • Merri Goetz
  • Kate Gudeman
  • Miranda Hardesty
  • Karen Hernandez
  • Rebekah Johnson
  • Christina Lay
  • Mandie Lenar
  • Jordan Loy
  • Rachel Manfred
  • Sarah McBeath
  • Haley Meek
  • Peter Mercer
  • Chad Moorer
  • Morgan Kinkead
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Dylan Radford
  • Kelly Reed
  • Brittany Ross
  • Madison Short
  • Hayley Walpus
  • Corrie Weerheim
  • Carly Wilson

Kelly Reed also took time to discuss her summer internship with the members and expressed ways in which they can apply, and be accepted to, their dream internship programs. Kelly’s internship at the Billy Graham Evangelical Institute in North Carolina turned into a full-time job offer after a PR professional for the non-profit resigned. Kelly expresses that this job is her “dream job” out of college and expressed ways in which the members can do the same. 

Congratualations to the 2015-2016 IWU PRSSA Members

All photography done by: Madeline Fox

Bohlsen Group Tour!

On Thursday, October 15th, IWU PRSSA members had the chance to visit an up and coming public relations firm in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bohlsen Group is “a full-service PR and advertising agency specializing in the strategic integration of marketing and media relations with social media. We provide creative strategy and implementation for nonprofit, entertainment & event, corporate, and publishing clients all over the world.”

PRSSA Members enjoy some coffee before meeting with Bohlsen Group!

Our time there included meeting up with Jake Doll, IWU alum and Bohlsen Group publicist. Jake greeted us at their office and showed us to the modern conference room where Lauren Cascio told us a little more about who Bohslen Group is as a company and the services that they provide. Bohlsen works a lot with authors in the publicity and marketing of their books. During a panel with Bohlsen employees, we were able to hear more about the various tasks and goals that go into being in author publicity.

                                                                               Meeting with Bohlsen Group Professionals!

The day also included an incredible tour of the facilities at Bohlsen Group. Their office spaces were full of bright colors, sound proof booths for meeting with authors, a treadmill desk, and various hang out spaces in various work pods.

After thanking Bohlsen Group for their hospitality and professional suggestions, PRSSA members headed to various Indianapolis eateries to enjoy lunch before heading back to Indiana Wesleyan. This was such an amazing opportunity to see what life is like working in a PR agency – some of our members were even able to snag the business card of Bohlsen’s internship coordinator!

Looking Back…Looking Forward

One of the greatest photos ever taken

The last meeting of the year is always a bittersweet time. It reminds us of the great times that we have had over the course of the school year along with the blood, sweat, and tears poured into every meeting and project. This meeting, however, is also a time to pass the torch. This year, we welcome three new people onto the leadership team to help bring a new set of ideas to the table, but we also say goodbye to three wonderful members who have dedicated so much time to our organization (family).

We say goodbye to Vice President Amanda Howard (sr.) and Treasurer Corinne Metzger (jr.). President Julie Kamp (sr.) is also leaving, and she looks back on what she was able to do and learn:

“The best thing about PRSSA for me has always been the relationships and learning. Being on leadership has been an amazing way to get to know students, faculty andstaff better. There are so many amazing people on this campus and PRSSA has been the perfect means of getting to know them. I also love to learn about any and everything, and PRSSA has taught me a lot. I am a kid at heart, so I love field trips and activities PRSSA plans.  Itis definitely one of the things I will miss most about college.”

Next year’s President, Kelly Reed (jr.) sees Julie as one of the main things that led to her becoming president:

“I have been so blessed to walk in Julie’s footsteps and learn from her as this year’s president. I have focused much of my energy toward PRSSA throughout college and it has made a big impact on me.”

Next year, we are able to loNew Leadershipok to new people and new experiences. We are able to learn through what we have accomplished, and where we have failed. We have new members on leadership that can help us with that goal: Secretary Corrie Weerheim (jr.), TreasurerSarah McBeath (so.), and Historian Alyssa Benson (fr.). With these new members of leadership we are able receive and implement new ideas. Corrie shared her experience running for this position, and her plans for next year:

As a Marketing major with Human Communication minor, PRSSA was something I heard about but didn’t ever have close ties with until this semester.

One of the members of the currently IWU PRSSA leadership approached and encouraged me to apply. After I had received answers to my questions, I was determined. Within 48 hours, I became a dues-paying member and applied for leadership!

The leadership election was a blur, but I do remember it ending with cookies, and me being elected as the Secretary for PRSSA next year. Yay!

I am looking forward to being a part of PRSSA next year, to say the least. I hope to bring a unique perspective to the group as someone outside of the Communication Division. I also plan on recruiting my fellow business majors and other friends to take advantage of all the benefits PRSSA has to offer.

I am thrilled to be on PRSSA next year. I know I have a lot to learn, but I am willing to do so. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the other PRSSA Leadership and members at a deeper level during the remaining events planned for this year.

Even though she no longer holds the title of President, Julie would be remiss if she didn’t give a final goodbye:

 “I am excited for next year’s students, and I can’t wait to see where IWU PRSSA goes in the future! Best of luck and I will miss you all!”

Kelly hopes that she is able to use the momentum left from Julie and continue to grow IWU PRSSA in the future:

As president next year, I hope to continue everything that Julie and previous leadership has done while growing our organization. I hope to get the members more involved and committed. I also am planning to implement a service project, which I believe will bring our members together on a different level.  I hope I can make the same kind of positive impact on others next year.

The final meetings are tough to say the final goodbyes to people you have learned and worked with side by side. The way to make any farewell easier, however, is through grilling. Luckily, we have a grill master in our presence with Dr. Prinsen. Through his generosity, we were able to have a delicious meal and connect together one last time.

contributions by Ryan Flaherty, Julie Kamp, Kelly Reed, and Corrie Weerheim

PRSSA Takes Indy

Being a member of PRSSA allows for many opportunities to go beyond the classroom and get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a PR professional in the “real world”. IWU students had the opportunity to do just that Monday, March 30. It was a beautiful day in Indianapolis to learn all about life in PR world from a digital media director to a travel communications manager.

Our first stop was Eli Lilly where we got to spend time with Sonja Popp- Stahly, Director of Digital Media Communications at Eli Lilly. She has been a member of PRSA for 22 years and served as the Hoosier chapter president in 2008. She currently serves on the National Board ofIMG_1700 Directors. She gave us a glimpse into what her day-to-day life is like at such a large company. After hearing her background in corporate and agency PR, we were able to tour part of the communication offices, which were a little bit different than other large companies. They create community by placing many desks in one big room, kind of like a library. They change desks everyday, sometimes every couple of hours. She then talked to us about her role as director of digital media communications. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and measuring digital media communications strategy for Global Business Communications. She was a welcoming host as she gave us tips on what to expect at interviews, how to land an internship, and gave us a peek at the Eli Lilly campus.

After some Giorgio’s Pizza and a coffee run like any good PR professional, we headed to Visit Indy where we met up with Morgan Greenlee, Communications Manager for Visit Indy. Morgan was living the ups and downs as a PR person as she was dealing with exciting projects as well as crisis communication. One of the more exciting projects in Morgan’s life is hosting the Final Four that is happening this weekend. The other part of her day includes dealing with the backlash that has come from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Part of her job is maintaining a good reputation for Indy and making sure that people want to come her for events. Her team is responding to the negative comments and making sure that Indy keeps the image of being a welcoming city. Morgan gave us a look at the good, bad, and ugly of the PR world.

This was a great opportunity for students to experience professional development outside of the classroom. We saw everything from social media to crisis PR. Sonja and Morgan both gave us advice and tips for future jobs and internships. I think it’s safe to say that everyone took something away from this trip.

written by Whitney Catron