Advertising/public relations senior earns national recognition from PRWeek

March 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —As a freshman, Elise Bingaman thought she knew Penn State and was in no hurry to start her college education in the town where she grew up.

Four years later, Bingaman plans to savor every moment that remains of her college career.

Elise Bingaman

Senior Elise Bingaman, one of five national finalists for the Outstanding Student Award from PRWeek, dove into the contest as a "passion project" during a bittersweet senior year.

IMAGE: Steve Manuel

She’s certainly made her mark, including being honored this year as one of five national finalists for the Outstanding Student Award from PRWeek.

“I’m really sad it’s ending. I know it’s time to move on, but I’m not one of those people who wants it to be over already,” she said. “I’m going through all my ‘lasts’ and they’re coming quickly.”

Bingaman, who grew up in State College, got involved on campus from the start — attending football games with friends, joining PLL Dance Co., and later volunteering at the Penn State Dance Marathon. She quickly made campus her home.

She had a working knowledge of the University because her parents, Maura Shea and Rod Bingaman, are senior lecturers of film in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, but that familiarity was limited to, mostly, the location of a couple of specific buildings.

Bingaman selected advertising/public relations as her major, completed the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida, in 2017, and served as the PR chair for her dance company.

An internship with Atlantic Records in New York City in 2018 helped her focus her career aspirations. She hopes to work in an entertainment-related or music public relations position.

Additionally, her work in a contest sponsored by PRWeek provided a testament to her creativity, determination and talent. The contest, which faculty member Tara Wyckoff assigned all of her students to enter, tasked competitors to create a nationwide campaign to reinstate the fashion trend of wide-legged jeans.

Students conducted primary and secondary research, developed a programming strategy, and presented a 12-month campaign. Five finalists were chosen to pitch PRWeek executives their final campaign idea.

“I was excited because it was challenging and interesting. It became a passion project of sorts, something that you wanted to make better and better. Making a pitch like that at the end was something I’d never done before, either, so it was fun,” Bingaman said. “It’s crazy that from a class assignment I ended up being a national finalist. It was a great experience.”

In recent weeks she’s choreographed the senior dance for her company, conducted her job search, and continued her bittersweet countdown to graduation.

Four years later, she’s glad she stayed close to home and took advantage of all the opportunities Penn State provided.

“I wanted to have that standard student experience, not something different because I was from here or my parents worked at Penn State,” Bingaman said. “It was better than I could’ve expected. Campus was big enough for me to be me and small enough to know people and have a family. Plus, my parents were here for lunch from time to time, or just to see them. I can’t think of a single con.”

Last Updated March 25, 2019