Niagara University’s Public Relations Student Society (PRSSN) hosted its first-ever communications and marketing “Meet the Professionals Night” on April 5. Thirteen professionals attended to speak with students about their careers, give advice, and offer connections to jump-start their future.

“This event is a great opportunity to get students out of their comfort zone by networking with professionals,” said Jennifer Gallo, president of PRSSN. “These connections could really help them in the future.”

Many of the students and PRSSN club members were there to mingle with the professionals and get their name out there, including a freshman student named Michael Pearl, who came prepared with his own résumé and business cards.

“I really learned a lot tonight about careers in PR and marketing, especially PR,” said Pearl. “I got to meet people who I didn’t even know had jobs in the area.”

Pearl met with Dan Aikin, director of communications and special events for Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer. Pearl intends to apply for an internship to work with Aikin, just as many of the other students are planning, now that they have this new opportunity. In one case, one student was wearing a sharp suit and got recruited to be a model for an upcoming campaign by Allison Boynton from the advertising department of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.

But, the professionals had more to offer than just potential internships. They also gave helpful advice.

Brook D’Angelo, the mastermind behind the “Totes McGoats” mascot for Niagara Falls’ Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team (S.W.E.E.T), said professionals in the field should be able to roll with whatever happens, be willing to work for free, not be afraid to badger people for a response, and network, network, network.

Many of the other professionals had similar advice, offering tips such as don’t be shy, do what you have a passion for, work hard, and try to get as much experience as you can. This guidance was surely taken to heart by all who attended.

The event was a huge success with a great turn out. Dr. Joseph Sirianni, communication studies professor and PRSSN advisor, and Michael Freedman, the associate director of public relations for Niagara University and PRSSN advisor, both had a big part in making the event happen by utilizing their resources to ask the professionals to come to the event.

“It looked like it was a very successful night and it looked like everyone was engaged,” Dr. Sirianni said after the event. “Overall it went really well, and I look forward to holding it again next year!”

Article by Jade King, with photos by Emily Kernin. Both are members of Niagara University’s Public Relations Student Society. 

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