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Public relations students attend Real World Conference

Photo: A Real World Conference photo op with alumnus Stephen Brown (bottom right) and some of the students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Posted March 12, 2015

By Haley Hinze

Forty-seven students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications traveled to Atlanta for the Real World conference on February 19, where they had opportunities to meet and network with peers and professionals from the area. The annual conference is sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America-Georgia Chapter.

Georgia's PRSA President Stephen Brown, (USC, '95) began the conference with a session of  "old school social networking," complete with a live Twitter feed from attendees.  He was "extremely gratified" that so many USC students attended, saying, "we've seen an uptick of USC students getting jobs in Georgia, in Atlanta, and I think that's been a direct correlation to students coming to Real World." 

After a few breakout sessions on topics such as PR in social media, "finding your niche" in the communication world and the rise of integrated marketing communications, students and professionals were invited to a networking luncheon with keynote speaker Kat Cole. 

Cole is nationally known for starting her career as a 17-year-old Hooters hostess and moving on to become the president of Cinnabon, Inc.  Her session inspired and encouraged students like Mary Kate Korpita and Erin Brunelle, who said that listening to Cole speak was one of their "favorite parts of the day." 

Following the luncheon, attendees had a free afternoon to attend a career fair of Atlanta-based agencies or have PR professionals critique their résumés.  USC's PRSSA chapter president Jackson Filyo said that the fair allowed him to meet professionals who have "lived what we're training for as well as other students who are working towards the same goals and dreams as us. . . . It gives us a glimpse into the future."

One table at the career fair belonged to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Master of Mass Communication program, sponsored by interim director Dr. Tom Klipstine.  "It was great to not only have so many PR students attend the conference, but to have the MMC program represented, as well, and get our name out there more," he said.  The MMC representatives gave students interested in graduate school some insight to the experience and skills the program offered.

The 47 students overall felt that attending the conference created many networking opportunities they would not have otherwise had.  Alyssa Shillingford explained that "we are all learning so much in the classroom about our respective fields but it is extremely motivating to meet people who are actually working and doing what we aspire to do in the future."

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