Advertising/Public Relations Alumni Network elects eight board members

Eight new board members from major companies such as The Ad Council, Baltimore Orioles and CBS Radio were elected to serve on the Penn State Advertising/Public Relations Alumni Network Group, affiliated with the College of Communications.

The board members will represent more than 9,000 Penn State graduates with degrees in advertising and public relations and/or professional experience in those fields. The Alumni Program Group (APG) sponsors programs, mentors students and provides networking opportunities for current students and alumni in the college.

The group, under the auspices of the Alumni Society Board of the College of Communications, is led by incumbent presidents Katie Krebs and Meredith Topalanchik. Krebs is a marketing and PR consultant based in State College and Topalanchik is director of client services with CooperKatz & Co in New York City, N.Y.

In 2007, the APG was awarded the "New/Innovative Event or Program Award" by the Penn State Alumni Association. The alumni group marketed the 2006 publication, "The Collegian Chronicles: A History of Penn State from the Pages of The Daily Collegian, 1887-2006."

The eight new board members are:

-- Rachel Bornak (2005 graduate in public relations), a senior account executive for Hill & Knowlton. Previously she was the communications manager at New York University's Child Study Center. She also worked at Edelman public relations firm on the American Heart Association account.

-- William Epstein (1969 graduate in journalism), director of communications for the United Food and Commericial Workers Local 1776, has nearly 40 years of experience in journalism, government relations and public and community relations. His experience includes seven years on Capitol Hill as communications director for members of Congress.

-- Ellyn Fisher (1999 graduate in journalism), vice president of corporate communications for The Advertising Council. She promotes The Ad Council and its more than 50 public service campaigns. She also writes, councils and develops content and several publications and various projects related to The Ad Council.

-- Richard Frank (1994 graduate in English), the advertising and Web site manager for the Baltimore Orioles. Frank built his career by holding various positions in agencies in the Mid-Atlantic region, including copywriter, account executive and creative director. In addition to his work with the Orioles, he is an adjunct professor in mass communications at Towson University.

-- Becky Andrews Peeling (1979 graduate in journalism), vice president for university relations and marketing at Palm Beach Atlantic University, is a 24-year veteran in the public relations and marketing field. She is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America. She is immediate past chairman of the Commission for Public Relations Officers for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

-- BJ Ramos (1994 graduate in mass communications), senior associate for Booz Allen Hamilton, has 17 years of communications experience in strategic communications planning and implementation, stake-holder engagement and media relations. Prior to Booz Allen Hamilton, she worked for the federal government's Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

-- Samuel Rogers (1981 graduate in journalism), senior vice president/marketing manager for CBS Radio, started his career in State College, where he was an account executive for WRSC-AM and WQWK-FM. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1998, he was sales manager at WPGC-FM and became general manager in 1999. Today, he oversees five stations as the senior vice president and marketing manager.

-- John Wagner (1958 graduate in advertising), CEO of The Wagner Group, has 25 years of experience as a creative director at major ad agencies, including Leo Burnett, Interpublic Group and McCann Erickson. In 1983, he formed his own agency, The Wagner Group, which works to solve advertising and marketing problems for a variety of clients, mostly in consumer products and services.

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Last Updated February 16, 2010