Team of public relations students earns strong finish in competition

May 11, 2009

A four-member team of students put together a public relations campaign from start to finish as part of a national competition sponsored by the Public Relations Society of American during the spring and earned an honorable mention for its efforts.

"The Bateman Competition is probably the most challenging national competition for college students because it requires the design and implementation of a complete public relations campaign," said Ann Marie Major, professor and faculty adviser for the Penn State Public Relations Student Society of America. “It takes an enormous time commitment on the part of the four students working as a team.

"They have to have excellent time management skills because they’re basically doing the work of a full-time public relations firm in addition to their regular course load and jobs."

Penn State's team--Emily Franklin, Emily O’Reilly, Jamie Urbanowicz and Jennifer Wallington--was challenged to put together a campaign for middle school students to encourage financial planning for college.

Along with the challenge of the presentation’s content, they also faced a logistical hurdle when the school district they had planned to partner with was forced to alter its schedule at the last minute, leaving the team scrambling for a place to conduct its hands-on work with students.

They found a partner in Franklin’s alma mater, Horseheads Central School District in Horseheads, N.Y. The program reached 350 middle school students who showed an increase in knowledge when it comes to financial planning for college, as measured by a pre-survey and post-survey. 

The Bateman competition is held every year in honor of J. Caroll Bateman, former PRSA president and one of the founders of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Penn State’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America--the Lawrence G. Foster Penn State Chapter of PRSSA--was formed in 1997 to help all students, regardless of major, broaden their background and knowledge of public relations and the communications industry. The chapter's first induction ceremony of 35 members was held on April 15, 1998.

Within four years of receiving its charter, the chapter grew to become the largest student-run organization in the College of Communications.

The chapter is named to honor its professional adviser, Larry Foster, who was named as one of the top five public relations professionals of the 20th century by PRWeek magazine.

Foster served as vice president of public relations at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J., for 33 years and is renowned for his pioneering efforts in handling the 1986 Tylenol crisis. Those efforts have become a textbook example of excellence in crisis management.

A Penn State alumnus, Foster (’48 Journ) has offered invaluable support and advice to chapter members.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 11, 2009