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DePaul PRSSA wins national competitions

Chapter to co-host 2023 district conference in Chicago

DePaul PRSSA chapter members pose with award
DePaul PRSSA executive board members traveled to Dallas for the 2022 PRSSA International Conference. Pictured from left to right are Gisselle Bahena, Ryan Gorton, Pavitra Reddy, Christina Milich, faculty adviser Juliet Stantz, Konner Gross, Paria Ghaderi and Sarah Thaman. (Image courtesy of DePaul PRSSA)
DePaul's Public Relations Student Society of America chapter won multiple accolades for excellence at the organization’s international conference, ICON, this fall. On top of programming, ICON serves as the organization’s annual meeting and awards ceremony. DePaul’s academic program also received a nod at the Dallas event, and the chapter is looking ahead to more opportunities with PRSSA in the coming year.

Awards galore
DePaul was among the recipients of the Star Chapter Awards from the National PRSSA Organization, in recognition of achieving the “gold standard” of excellence by providing stellar programming and relationship-building opportunities for students. The chapter also brought home the Dr. F.H. Teahan Chapter Award for 2022’s Best District Conference.

Individuals award winners were also recognized at ICON. Graduate student Konner Gross received two Public Relations Society of America Foundation awards, the John D. Graham Scholarship and Lawrence G. Foster Award. These distinctions recognize outstanding students dedicated to the field of public relations and include monetary prizes.

DePaul’s academic program also received recognition at the event. The College of Communication’s Public Relations and Advertising Program won PRWeek’s Outstanding Educational Program award in 2022, a repeat of its 2018 win. Chapter members tabled to help recruit some of the nation’s top young PR leaders to DePaul’s graduate program.

“Spreading the word about our incredible program is something we were happy to do at ICON,” says Sarah Thaman, a senior PRSSA executive board member. “I think our enthusiasm and winnings spoke for themselves to other students.”

Chapter is ‘eLevating’ PR in Midwest
Attending in-person gave members a chance to build their networks, learn about the field from practitioners and participate in professional development exercises. It was even sweeter for DePaul students who won a bid to host an in-person conference for Midwest universities last winter. They were forced to pivot to a remote format following the surge in COVID-19 cases and subsequent restrictions.

“Winning these awards at ICON is so gratifying, especially considering the pivots and hiccups the planning process endured,” says Pavitra Reddy, outgoing chapter president. “It wasn’t easy, but we persisted and executed a highly successful event.”

DePaul PRSSA will host the Midwest District Conference again in March of 2023 in partnership with Columbia College Chicago. The event’s theme, PR eLevated, will educate attendees on advancing the field while paying homage to Chicago’s vast public relations industry, all connected via a theme of the city’s iconic “L” trains.

Even when held remotely last winter, the award-winning conference exposed students to vast networking and professional development opportunities from some of the industry’s largest agencies and practices.

“Hosting a district conference is a massive undertaking for our students to take on,” says Faculty Adviser Juliet Stantz. “I’m ecstatic to see the students’ efforts recognized at the national level.”

The PRSSA chapter is led by President Gisselle Bahena, Faculty Adviser Juliet Stantz, and an executive board consisting of both undergraduate and graduate students. The organization helps DePaul’s PRAD students achieve their career goals by building supportive professional networks.​

Konner Gross holds a BA in Communication and Media from DePaul and is a graduate student in the Public Relations and Advertising program. He serves as DePaul PRSSA’s vice president of creative.