PRSSA Alumni Feature: Bryce McElhaney

One of our Diversity+Inclusion initiatives includes highlighting Gaylord College alumni, the diverse career paths they took after graduation, the different skills they acquire during and after college and their personal backgrounds on our social channels and blog. We continue our alumni series today! 

Meet Bryce McElhaney. He first came to the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2015 with two simple goals: to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism and to begin a career in his field directly after. “It was a bit overwhelming since I was a transfer student, but I felt pretty comfortable in Gaylord” McElhaney said. As he followed the two-year path that would lead him to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in online journalism, he began to seek other possible career paths in media such as social media marketing and video.

During his time at OU, Bryce worked for the OU Daily, beginning as a reporter, then serving as a videographer during his last two semesters. He also landed internships with The Journal Record Legislative Report and The Enid News & Eagle. Some of the experiences he valued most during his time at Gaylord were taking more hands-on classes with Julie Jones, Ken Fischer and Kyle Bergersen, as well as meeting professional journalists from outlets like Al Jazeera, Los Angeles Times and The Oklahoman.

Bryce is currently a web editor at The Oklahoman/NewsOK where he manages NewsOK.com and their social media accounts. Beyond this, he is also working as a documentary filmmaker for a nonprofit group, Calle Dos Cinco, in the Historic Capitol Hill district in Oklahoma City. He is filming a project that will later be released on their website and Facebook page as a six-part series, covering events and showcasing a collection of stories from residents, historians and politicians about the district's deep history.

As OU alumni, McElhaney has some words of wisdom for those who are just beginning their journey at the university:

“Change is inevitable, adaptability is key to survival.”
— Bryce McElhaney

Although he notes that it sounds a bit heavy, it is certainly a fantastic piece of advice.

Though it may seem that he already has a full plate, McElhaney has found room for yet another creative project. In the midst of a transitional phase of his life, he decided to create Generally Speaking Podcast. “It's a fun project that allows me to meet interesting people, and I'm very proud of that,” he said of the show, which is “a weekly podcast exploring happiness, struggles and passions,” according to its Facebook page

There is certainly a bright future ahead for Bryce McElhaney, one that has only just begun. You can follow him and all his projects on Twitter, @bryce_mac

By: Rylee Haley

On your marks... get set... GO! : Speed Networking Fall 2018

Students and representatives communicate about the PR industry and what to expect after graduation  (OU PRSSA, 2018).

Students and representatives communicate about the PR industry and what to expect after graduation (OU PRSSA, 2018).

On Tuesday, November 6, we held our annual Speed Networking event in the Gaylord Library. There were several representatives from local companies who chatted with various OU PRSSA members and Gaylord students.

We were honored to have representatives from OKC Dodgers, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Brides of Oklahoma, StellaNova and Candor PR, as well as Micayla Payne, a recent graduate from Gaylord College who currently works in the entertainment PR industry.

Students had the opportunity to speak with each representative in a group setting for 15 minutes. They rotated from table to table in order to connect with each representative and share their resumes.

Topics of conversation included information about each company that was present, tips and tricks to make it in the PR industry, what to expect after graduation and other valuable insight from experienced individuals who have worked in the PR industry.

Back row (from L to R): Lauren Snodgrass & Jennifer Mathis (Brides of Oklahoma), Larisha Hunter (Candor PR), Alex Freedman (OKC Dodgers), Micayla Payne (Chesapeake, BOK), Lacy Young (StellaNova), Heather Browne (OBI)  Front row (from L to R): Lisa Johnson (OKC Dodgers), Lauren Gensheimer (Programming Chair), Programming Committee: Caroline Baker, Amanda Huse, Madi Quine, Jarrett Sipes, Naomi Walker

Back row (from L to R): Lauren Snodgrass & Jennifer Mathis (Brides of Oklahoma), Larisha Hunter (Candor PR), Alex Freedman (OKC Dodgers), Micayla Payne (Chesapeake, BOK), Lacy Young (StellaNova), Heather Browne (OBI)

Front row (from L to R): Lisa Johnson (OKC Dodgers), Lauren Gensheimer (Programming Chair), Programming Committee: Caroline Baker, Amanda Huse, Madi Quine, Jarrett Sipes, Naomi Walker

Not only did the students enjoy the experience, but Jennifer Mathis from Brides of Oklahoma said that it was one of the best networking events she has been to, and Larisha Hunter from Candor PR asked us to send her pictures from the event. We were pleased to see all representatives and students engaged for the entire two hours, and our executive members even participated in the fun.

Our fall Programming Chair Lauren Gensheimer was in charge of planning and organizing the event, and her Programming Committee worked tirelessly to help make it the best Speed Networking event we have had up to date.

We know how important networking is in the field of PR, so we hope that every student made meaningful connections with each representative so that potential future opportunities can unfold.

We would like to thank all representatives, students and PRSSA members that attended, Chick-fil-A for catering, and Lauren and her committee for putting their plans into action. We look forward to next year’s Speed Networking event and the many to follow.





Our Meeting with OU Alum Jared Deimund

Our guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting was Jared Deimund, an Account Executive specializing in Public and Political Affairs from Saxum in Oklahoma City. Deimund graduated from our very own Gaylord College in 2016 with a public relations degree, so we were so excited to hear about the work he has done.

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Diemund’s three main clients at Saxum are the Oklahoma Beer Alliance, Oklahoma’s For Criminal Justice Reform and the Oklahoma Lottery. His main focuses at the meeting Tuesday were how to choose between a small and large agency and the transition from college to the business world. He gave us these 5 tips to think about when trying to decide where you want to work:

1. Location- Where do you want to be?

2. What kind of culture do you crave?

3. Who are you going to be working with or for?

4. What kind of work do you want to do? In five years? In ten years?

5. Do I see this agency as a place I want to be for a while or simply as a stepping stone?

Along with this advice, Diemund also spoke about his experience transitioning from college to the business world and gave these 5 tips:

1. Relax. You’re not expected to be the CEO already.

2. First three months are vital

3. Be excited to learn.

4. Work is work.

5. Have fun.

So, whether you are transitioning into the business world, college or somewhere in between, Diemund’s advice is very helpful and, as always, it is good to hear from another successful Gaylord graduate.

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Lee Reynolds: Sticking to Her Roots

At our meeting on Tuesday, we had the opportunity to hear from Lee Reynolds, the Director of Development at our beloved Gaylord College. Many of us were surprised and excited to hear that she graduated from OU with a PR degree! 

Lee gave us a brief history of her time thus far within the PR field. After graduating from OU, she lived in three different states before returning to her roots: Norman, OK.

She recommended five lessons that we should implement in all of our PR endeavors: 

  1. Importance of storytelling
  2. Every interaction is a networking opportunity
  3. You can never over-prepare
  4. Personal touches can be a game changer
  5. Utilize every resource available
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In addition to informing us of these helpful tips, she also gave us interview advice by suggesting we position interviews as conversations. We're trying to learn as much about them as they are about us! 

In honor of Lee's two favorite words, we say "thank you" to everyone who came to the meeting and heard the wise words of Pritch, Dean Ed Kelley and Lee!

And remember: "It's not the grades you make; it's the hands you shake." -Lee Reynolds