Public Announcements

Kent State public relations students earn national recognition

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) awarded the Kent State Chapter (PRSSA Kent) the highest national honors for a Chapter as well as for a student leader this month.

PRSSA named Kent State University the winner of the 2019 Outstanding Chapter award at its International Conference in San Diego, Calif. Public relations major Vanessa Gresley, PRSSA Kent’s vice president of professional relations, earned the Gold Key Award, the highest PRSSA honor for students.

PRSSA is a national pre-professional organization for students interested in public relations and communications. It presents the Outstanding Chapter award to one of 300 plus chapters each year, recognizing leadership at the national level, strong relationships with PRSSA members, alumni and PRSA, and successful programming and fundraising and other activities.

PRSSA Kent officers submitted an application in June to be considered for the award. The application highlighted the Chapter’s 50th Anniversary celebration, bi-weekly meetings with communication professionals, mentoring program, fundraising success, newsletter, website and social media channels and included an evaluation of the Chapter’s objectives and letters of recommendation.

“As a Chapter, we have put in a lot of work over the past year to be the best we can be, and it paid off,” Sophia Iannelli, PRSSA Kent’s President, said. “I am so lucky to be able to lead such an amazing group, and I speak for the whole Chapter, past and present, when I say I am beyond grateful for this recognition.”

Seven PRSSA Kent members, along with Kent State Associate Professor and PRSSA Faculty Adviser Michele Ewing and Assistant Professor Cheryl Ann Lambert, attended the PRSSA International Conference in late October.

“Since PRSSA Kent celebrated its 50th Anniversary last year, it’s really meaningful for the students and alumni to earn this honor,” Ewing said. “Generations of PRSSA Kent leaders have invested numerous hours in planning programs, peer mentoring, service projects, fundraisers and other outreach activities. These student leaders are committed to raising the bar each year – and their dedicated efforts led to earning national recognition. It’s well deserved.”

Along with a plaque of recognition for the award, PRSSA Kent was awarded $500 to support professional development opportunities for members. During the past 15 years, PRSSA Kent has won nine Teahan awards, including the Outstanding Chapter award at the 2014 National Conference in Washington D.C. Other Teahan honors recognized excellence in University service, website design, relationship with its parent Chapter, the Akron Area Chapter of PRSA, and faculty advising.

The Gold Key award is the highest honor for a PRSSA member and recognizes students who demonstrate excellence in academics and leadership.

“I feel honored to receive this award,” said Gresley, the Gold Key award winner. “PRSSA has made me into the leader I am today through the countless opportunities for growth and involvement. As cliché as it sounds, I've never thought of myself as a leader, but this organization has helped me find my potential and push me beyond that. It feels good to be recognized for all my hard work, and it's all possible because of the support of the outstanding organization I am a part of."

About the Public Relations Student Society of America
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Founded in 1968 by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PRSSA includes more than 11,000 student members and advisers, and is active at more than 370 colleges and universities. For more information about PRSSA, visit

About PRSSA Kent
The Kent State Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA Kent) was established in 1968 as one of the 14 original Alpha Chapters of PRSSA. The student-run organization collaborates with its parent chapter, the PRSA Akron Area Chapter, to coordinate meetings and events that offer professional development and networking opportunities to Kent State students interested in the public relations and communications industry. The PRSSA Kent Chapter and the students who participate consistently win national awards, placing the Chapter in the top tier nationwide. For more information about PRSSA Kent, visit

About Kent State University’s Public Relations Sequence
The public relations sequence at Kent State University is part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, a nationally renowned program that offers degrees in advertising, digital media, journalism and public relations. Kent State boasts the only public relations program in Ohio that is both certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). For more information about Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and its public relations sequence, visit

Chapter Sponsors Three-Day AI Event

The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON) brings together top authors, entrepreneurs, AI researchers and executives to share case studies, strategies and technologies that make AI approachable and actionable for marketers. The event will be held at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland July 16-18, 2019, and features keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive workshops and immersive experiences.

MAICON is designed to help marketing leaders truly understand AI, educate their teams, garner executive support, pilot priority AI uses cases, and develop a near-term strategy for successfully scaling AI. Purchase tickets now.Use the code PRAKRON100 to receive $100 off the current ticket price.

The event is targeting director-level and above marketers and largely caters to non-technical audiences, meaning attendees do not need backgrounds in analytics, data science or programming to understand and apply what they learn. You can learn more at

Akron PRSA Hosts Successful 12th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference

Social media. Content marketing. Authenticity and social purpose. Just when you think you have something mastered, you realize it is now so five minutes ago. 

So what to do? Learn from local experts. The ones in the trenches with you. And with your peers from around Northeast Ohio. 

That’s what more than 80 northeast Ohio communication professionals and students did at the 12th annual YouToo Social Media Conference on April 26, 2019, at Kent State University. The daylong professional development event hosted by the Akron Area Chapter of Public Relations Society of America focused on best practices and the newest trends in this influential media.

Throwing out the "First Pitch" keynote address was Bob DiBiasio, senior vice president, public affairs for the Cleveland Indians. DiBiasio is in his 40th season with the Cleveland Indians and his 41st in Major League Baseball in 2019. He started with the Tribe in 1979 as assistant public relations director, was named public relations director in 1980; and vice president of public relations in 1988. The Lakewood, Ohio, native was promoted to his current position in 2011. 

The luncheon keynote speaker was Amanda Todorovich, senior director, content and creative services for the Cleveland Clinic. Todorovich manages a team of writers, designers, digital engagement strategists and project managers to serve enterprise content needs both on- and off-line. Her team is responsible for the #1 most-visited hospital blog in the country, Health Essentials. Amanda was chosen as a 2015 Direct Marketing News 40 Under 40, named the 2016 Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.

Other topics and speakers during the day included:

  • Minimizing & Managing Fake News Crises: Michele Ewing, Cheryl Ann Lambert, Amber Zent

  • The Power of Your Purpose: Karen Bailey

  • 5 Cs of Content Marketing: Heidi Baumgart

  • When Brands Take Stands: The Dos and Don'ts of Cultural Promotions: Andrew Christopher and Kevin Delsanter

  • Panel Discussion: Content Strategies with a Focus on Authenticity and Social Purpose

Event sponsors included:

Title Sponsor: State & Federal Communications

Host Sponsor: School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University

Contributing Sponsors: Kent State University - University Communications and Marketing; Robert J. Events & Catering

Gold Sponsor: Marcus Thomas

Silver Sponsor: True Digital Communications

Breakfast Sponsor: Akron Community Foundation

Dessert Sponsor: FedEx Custom Critical

Session Sponsors: AAF-Akron; Team NEO; University of Mt. Union


Conference proceeds support Akron Area PRSA and the Kent State University Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter.