An Open Letter from OU PRSSA

To the OU family -

The statue by Tom Otterness sits outside of Gaylord College. ( OU Daily, 2018 )

The statue by Tom Otterness sits outside of Gaylord College. (OU Daily, 2018)

We, members of the Stewart Harrel Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America in Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, wish to register our disapproval of the installation of Tom Otterness’ ‘Covered Wagon’ statue, a donation by William Obering, located on the front lawn of Gaylord College. As young public relations professionals, we are taught that transparency is critical to an organization’s reputation and are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency which preceded the installment of the statue, as well as what we have come to learn about the artist’s past.

As one of the nation’s top journalism and mass communications programs, we are very proud of our public image and the successful recruitment efforts which have contributed to our success. We believe the statue and its placement outside Gaylord Hall will negatively impact the image of our college, our recruiting efforts and potential donor and alumni support. Most of all, we want to express our solidarity with members of the OU community who feel disrespected by the statue’s reference to Oklahoma’s colonialist past, as well as the artist’s mistreatment of animals.

Art is a wonderful way to enhance the beauty of our campus. We also know that beauty often lies in the eye of the beholder. However, we are confident that this statue has not and will not be viewed in a positive light nor will it enhance our campus community.


The Public Relations Student Society of America

Steward Harrel Chapter at the University of Oklahoma


Gaylord Ambassadors

Lindsey + Asp Agency

National Association of Black Journalists, OU Chapter

National Association of Hispanic Journalists, OU Chapter

Society of Professional Journalists, OU Chapter

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 Diversity + Inclusion Committee Hosts Tango PR

This past Tuesday, we had the pleasure of hosting Brenda and Jorge Hernandez from Tango PR as a part of our first Diversity +Inclusion meeting. Tango PR is a public relations firm that caters to the Hispanic community of Oklahoma.

They handle their service bilingually in both Spanish and English. They boast of a clientele that ranges from OG&E to THUNDER. This small firm is truly doing everything it can to help their community and support growth within it as well.

Brenda and Jorge explain their roles at Tango PR and the origin of their company.

Brenda and Jorge explain their roles at Tango PR and the origin of their company.

Tango PR also aids in creating community events for the Hispanic society. Their main goal is to create an environment where everyone from various countries can come together to bond through their culture and traditions. They want people who have left their houses in each of their respective countries to be able find a place that feels like home. Even for the people who don’t have families, these communities allow them to have a family and to find people that they can call their own.

There are two aspects of Tango PR that are incredibly unique to them. The first is that they tend to use numerous colors and images within their graphics. This works very well with the community that they cater to as well.

OU PRSSA’s Diversity + Inclusion committee poses with Brenda and Jorge.

OU PRSSA’s Diversity + Inclusion committee poses with Brenda and Jorge.

The second is their name. When explaining how they settled on Tango PR, George narrated the story himself. He explained that he initially wanted to name the company Mambo PR, but it was already taken.

He was still firm on the idea that if they were going to cater to a Hispanic audience, then the name needed to be something that related to their culture. Then, they came across “tango”. George mentioned that he fell in love with the idea immediately. In his mind, “tango” was something that intimately connected two people passionately and also related to their proud Latin culture.

Thus, Tango PR was born! The main takeaway from Tango PR is their story. They sprouted from a humble beginning, worked immensely hard and had good intentions that grew to success.

One piece of advice that they left us with was a three-step process. It consisted of having great ideas, working hard to develop those ideas and then ensuring that results are gained from those initial ideas. Tango PR is truly a testament to giving back to your community and being proud of your culture and representing it with all your heart.

We are so thankful to Brenda and George for taking the time out of their busy day to come and speak to our OU PRSSA chapter, and we can’t wait for our next guest speakers.

Anglin PR's Lori Johnson Shares her Not-so-Fishy Words of Wisdom

Our guest speaker for our meeting on October 9 was Lori Johnson from Anglin Public Relations. She is a senior account executive and has been working with Anglin for 7 years. Johnson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. She also received her Master’s in Strategic Communications.


Anglin PR is a full-service PR agency that works with people with big ideas. Anglin is located in Oklahoma City where they provide many different services such as PR counseling, social media, media relations, grassroots PR, materials production and market research. One of the big things that Johnson does for Anglin PR is create media pitches.

Johnson’s presentation covered the rights and wrongs of media pitches and gave tips on creating and drafting the perfect pitch. One piece of advice that she gave our members was to add visuals to pitches. This is “essential to catching the eye of reporters” and helps them better understand the newsworthy piece.

Johnson stated that there are four important pieces to a “Perfect Pitch”:

1. It has to be Newsworthy

2. The pitch must be customized

3. The pitch must be concise and straight to the point

4. It has to be visually interesting


We had another guest speaker, John Schmeltzer, accompany Lori Johnson in her presentation. Schmeltzer is our very own Journalism professor, and he gave us the journalist insight on some of the media pitches that Johnson discussed during her presentation.

Schmeltzer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who held numerous positions during his 35-year career at the Chicago Tribune, from political writer to assistant business editor. At the end of Johnson’s presentation, both Johnson and Schmeltzer analyzed media pitches to help our members understand the correct way to draft media pitches.

Hearing from both a PR professional and a professional Journalist was an amazing experience for our chapter! As our chapter learned more about media pitching, we will remember that at the end of the day, it is important to be human when giving a pitch.

OU PRSSA Takes on National Conference

On Thursday, October 4, Jensen Armstrong and I traveled to Austin, TX to represent our Chapter at National Conference. National Conference is a yearly event, which is held in a new city every year; last year National Conference was held in Boston, MA.

(Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

(Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

The weekend is packed with networking, agency tours, resume critiques, career and Chapter development sessions and award ceremonies. Students who attend National Conference are also highly encouraged to attend PRSA’s International Conference, which is happening at the same time in the same city.

On Saturday, October 6, I attended a personal development session called, “Personal Branding, Digital Analytics and Your Future Success.” Jason Mollica, a professor from American University, led the session. Mollica stressed the importance of how developing your own personal brand never stops, even when you are out in the professional world.  

Mollica stated that as PR professionals, we should always be defining and redefining our brand because even after graduation, you should always be a student who is eager and willing to learn new information. Because of this, your brand should constantly be evolving.

(From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

(From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

Sometimes, we forget to think about our own brand because we are constantly thinking about our clients’ brands. It is important to care about your brand and be proud of who you are. Don’t be afraid of being passionate about something; use your passions to brand yourself.  

Mollica also talked about analyzing your brand. I personally think that is a step that most people forget about because as PR professionals, we are constantly monitoring our clients’ brands on social media and seeing the sentiment of mentions, comments, etc. It is important to take the time to audit yourself.

Remember to audit what you are posting and what you are putting out on the Internet. Tools that Mollica mentioned to successfully analyze your brand included Klear (, Talk Walker ( and Meltwater (

My favorite thing about PRSSA national events is connecting with students from all over the nation. Jensen Armstrong and I had the privilege of meeting student leaders and Chapter members from California, Nevada, New York, Florida, Alabama, and the list goes on and on.

(Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

(Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

I highly encourage students from our chapter to attend National Conference next year. PRSSA’s National Conference will be held in sunny San Diego in 2019. 

If you have any questions about National Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

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.


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.


Erika's Summer Internship Experience: Influencer Marketing

Summer has come to an end, which means it’s time to reflect on what I learned during my summer internship. I had the incredible opportunity to be the public relations intern at i.d.e.a. - an integrated creative agency in sunny San Diego! Most of my time was spent conducting influencer marketing research where I learned a few things. Not only was this type of marketing fun for me to dive into, but it’s a growing aspect of public relations that young PR professionals need to keep in mind as they enter the workforce.

Influencer marketing - this form of marketing focuses on the use of influential people rather than directly marketing to whole publics. Whether you’re using an influencer database such as GroupHigh or doing organic research, there’s a few things PR practitioners need to keep in mind when making their recommendations to their client.


1. Before you begin your research. Always keep in mind your client’s overall brand, goals and purpose before diving into the research. Your goal should be to find an influencer who can relate to the brand authentically so they can in turn share content that will resonate with their followers.

2. Budget. Influencer marketing is a growing industry with costs ranging from the hundreds to the thousands. It’s important to know your budget before beginning your research so you know what you’re working with. During this time you can establish how you will measure your return on investment (ROI). Are you really getting the most bang for your buck?

3. Social. In the world of technology, social media following and engagement is crucial. The more followers and positive sentiment an influencer has, the more likely your client will reach a bigger audience. It’s always a good idea to scan through the followers an influencer has too. Avoid being misled with bought followers.

4. Bloggers. It’s also important to check if the influencer has a blog. Depending on the client, product or service, blogs may not be as important. Bloggers really come into play in travel and food industries. You’ll want to research the number of unique visitors per month (UVM) the blog has. Resources such as Cision can help identify this number. Much like social following, UVM is important in determining the potential reach an influencer has.

5. Media landscape. If an influencer is big enough, they may have been featured in regional and local news. Do a quick Google search to check if their reach goes beyond social and blogging.

Influencer marketing is a growing trend within the public relations industry and although these tips are not all encompassing, they can be used as you begin learning more about and researching influencers.

Happy to talk more about my experience with you. Let’s grab coffee and chat. Contact me at

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

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

First Meeting of the Semester: MVP Status


Our first meeting of the semester took place on Tuesday, and it was certainly one for the books! From Dean Ed Kelley telling us we provided the largest cake in OU PRSSA history to Naina Wani speaking about her time working for the OKC Thunder, it was a memorable meeting to say the very least.

Students were lined out the door anticipating the start of the meeting, and some of our Exec members eased their anxiety by handing out slices of the delicious, gargantuan cake. Dean Kelley started the meeting off with a bang by informing new folks about what all our organization entails. 

After each Exec member introduced himself/herself, Naina Wani stepped up to the plate. She talked about her experiences as a basketball communications coordinator for the OKC Thunder, including tips and tricks on how to make it in the world of Sports PR. 


We were incredibly pleased with the turnout, and the students who attended seemed eager to learn and were engaged throughout the entire meeting. Naina Wani may have talked about MVP Russell Westbrook, but we like to think of all the people who attended the meeting as the real MVPs. 

Thanks again to Dean Ed Kelley, Naina Wani and all of the students who attended on Tuesday!

For more information about the OKC Thunder and available jobs/internships with them, you can visit


OU PRSSA takes Dallas – Current Industry Trends and Hiring Tips


Last weekend, a group of PR students from the OU PRSSA chapter had the opportunity to visit agencies and in-house communication teams in one of the nation's fastest-growing industry hubs and the self-proclaimed 'New York City of the South': Dallas. After decades of oil and cotton, the city's hottest commodity today seems to be innovative communication agencies and a pool of talented PR graduates coming from the most esteemed colleges across the countries. Below I listed a couple of the things we learned from talking to CCOs, recruiters and interns.

Influencer Marketing
Everywhere we went, influencer marketing was the word of the hour. From the big players to small-size integrated agencies, nobody wanted to live without the endorsement of celebrities, bloggers or community influencers. Especially micro-influencers, 'normal' people with a social media following of about 4 to 10k, are the new darlings of the PR industry. Or as the communication manager of an international convenience store chain puts it, "Customers want real recommendations from real people." For current PR students and recent grads, acquiring tangible skills like pitching and social media monitoring will definitely come in handy as brand activation and influencer marketing are here to stay.

Company Culture
Listening to recruiters and employees, a deciding factor that seems to have moved into the center of every hiring conversation is company culture. Whereas in the past companies and employers have tried to bait talent with good pay and the prospects of a corner office, today it is all about flat hierarchies and quirky office perks. But don't be quick to assume that all millennials care about is free snacks and bean bags.  Employees tend to value the more practical perks, like the access to gyms, nursing rooms, and napping stations, more than fancy break rooms with ball pits and ping pong tables. In the end, it's all about enabling people to do their best work and make sure they don't mind putting in extra hours. Not sure how to inquire about an agency's culture? Ask people what makes them excited about coming to work every day. Usually, you'll get the most honest answers when not asking directly.

Agency vs. In-House
Ah, the eternal struggle. What's the right choice for me? Talking to people in both fields, it's not an either/or question, instead recruiters today expect graduates to have experience in both fields. Right out of college, it is okay to start out in a place or industry that's comfortable to you, but by the time that first big job rolls around, you want to make sure you have both agency and in-house under your belt. Some recruiters even go so far to require candidates to have basic journalistic experience. But don't stress. Whether you see yourself in an agency working on multiple projects at once or need that full in-house emersion into one brand or company, it is okay to decide against one or the other at some point in your career. Listen to your gut.

Internships and Resumes
Some of the most asked questions during the trip circled around the 'perfect' intern or resume. While our hosts had differing views on resumes, almost all shared the same vision for their interns. "We look for people that are proactive and don't shy away from asking questions," says one agency recruiter. "I want to be able to hand you a project and not have to think about it again until the deadline. But if you have questions, don't sit at your desk and quietly drown. The people on your team usually don't mind helping you out." 

Most places we visited are open to welcoming unconventional majors, like economics and English literature, so it is becoming more and more important for traditional PR and communication majors to set themselves apart. Just don't jump to the conclusion that a flashy, over-the-top resume is the way to go. The majority of recruiters we talked to preferred simpler versions with easy-to-read fonts and less color. However, that preference might vary if you're applying for more creative jobs, like graphic design. The key takeaway is to be confident in your design choice and make it work for you. "If you want to do it all hot pink because Elle Woods is your role model, then, by all means, go for it," says one recruiter. "Just don't be wishy-washy, you'll get lost in the middle."