Today@Sam Article

Meet The Bearkats Leading The Way In PRSSA

July 30, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

Sam Houston State University’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America works to prepare members for competitive careers in the fields of communication and public relations.

Two current members, Katy Belanger and McQue Wilson, have been given the opportunity to serve in prominent PRSSA roles as a result of their time in the organization this year.

Kathryn-Belanger-600x898Katy Belanger

Hometown: Melissa, Texas

Major: Mass Communication with a concentration in PR & Advertising

Minor: Graphic Design

Graduation Year: 2020

Activities involved in while at Sam: PRSSA, Amazon Prime Student Campus Manager

Hobbies/Interests: Photography, designing, traveling, social media

Belanger is the PRSSA Southwest District Ambassador for the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. Her role is to serve as a liaison between chapter presidents and the national committee. She supports chapters in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Kansas.

T@S: What steps did you take to earn your current position and what advice can you offer students who may have similar goals?

KB: It was a real spur-of-the-moment decision to run for District Ambassador. I met our previous Regional Ambassador at a conference in the spring. She went to TCU. I got her contact information and continued to ask her about her role and she really inspired me to run for it. It was all based on a connection that I went out of my way to create. You never know who you will meet or run into. One connection can change your career.

T@S: Emotions about holding this position?

KB: I am so ecstatic to be in this position. I remember I was helping a friend study for her last final in the LSC when I found out, and we both screamed and jumped for joy. I really strive to push myself and I wanted this opportunity to push myself as a leader. 

T@S: What do you hope to learn from this opportunity?

KB: I think this opportunity is going to teach me a lot. From time management with all the chapters to creating relationships that could last forever. I really want to learn how to lead in a way that also creates friendship. I want to lead, but I also want the chapters to know that they can reach out for anything. 

T@S: How did PRSSA at SHSU prepare you for this opportunity?

KB: PRSSA at SHSU is the best. It has given me so many opportunities. I was fortunate enough to be able to run for E-Board within the chapter at the end of my first semester joining the organization. I am the VP of Public Relations. This position has really taught me how to be a leader, but also a team player within the board. I took that opportunity to lead and it made me want to grow. I did not want to be stagnant. I wanted to represent SHSU on a national level and now I have the opportunity to grow our chapter at SHSU and nationally. PRSSA taught me how to be passionate about something, and when I am passionate about something, there is no stopping me.

IMG_7574 2T@S: Why did you decide to attend SHSU for your undergrad?

KB: I actually had no idea about SHSU until my friend told me they had a good Mass Communication program when she toured SHSU. I kind of pushed it off, but something was telling me to tour. When I did, I fell in love. It is a beautiful campus and the Mass Communication program is wonderful. The faculty is amazing. It is my favorite building to be in. I knew from the tour, I wanted to be here. Also, here is a fun fact: My 6th great grandfather was the Governor of Texas, Edward Clark. He succeeded in the position right after Sam Houston. He also gave Sam Houston a gun that he used in battle. That gun is now in The Alamo. Knowing that history, I knew I needed to be here. It all just felt right. There is no place I would rather be. 

T@S: Future goals?

KB: I really want to take advantage of everything SHSU has to offer before I graduate. After college, I want to work in social media. I would love to be a social media manager, create campaigns, or design content. I love fashion, so if I could get into fashion PR, that would be amazing. However, I really just want to get my foot in the door. I know with my knowledge from SHSU, I will be an ideal employee at any PR job.

T@S: In your opinion, why should students join PRSSA?

KB: PRSSA offers so much more than other organizations on campus. The people you meet become life-long friends. You gain so much experience and knowledge from guest speakers to agency tours to conferences around the states. You have access to databases for internships and jobs. PRSSA will help you advance your career and you have fun doing it. Something I always say and emphasize is that “you spend so much money going to school for a degree, why aren’t you taking advantage of the organizations that make that degree get you places.” 

PRSSA HeadshotMcQue Wilson

Hometown: Cedar Park, TX

Major: Mass Communication with a concentration in PR & Advertising

Minors: Marketing and French

Graduation Year: December 2019

Activities involved in while at Sam: PRSSA, Zeta Tau Alpha

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, going to concerts

Wilson is the National PRSSA Vice President of Member Services. Her term is from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020. Her job duties include helping with recruitment, updating recruitment materials, organizing high school and community college outreach sessions, and raising awareness of the member benefits offered, such as scholarships and awards.

T@S: What steps did you take to earn your current position and what advice can you offer students who may have similar goals?

MW: I was a chapter officer for the SHSU PRSSA chapter for three semesters; serving as the VP of Chapter Development, VP of Recruitment, and finally I was the President during the spring 2019 semester. These various leadership roles really helped to develop my love and passion for PRSSA, and everything that this society does for its members. I decided to run for national committee because I felt that I did a lot at the chapter level and I wanted to take those same initiatives and apply them on the national level. 

I would tell students who may have similar goals to just go for them because it’s never too late, I decided to run for national committee six days before the election. I would also tell students to take opportunities when they present themselves, I served in so many chapter officer positions because there was always a new position that opened up. I love PRSSA and wanted to make my impact on my chapter, which I was able to do in each position. I’m serving on the national committee because the opportunity presented itself and I took it. If you take advantage of the opportunities offered, it will really help to move up and to reach your goals.

T@S: Emotions about holding this position? 

MW: A delegation of over 100 PRSSA members voted me into the position, and I’m honored they chose to vote for me. I’m also a little nervous, this is a lot bigger role than I’ve ever had before and it’s a little nerve-racking to know that what I do effects the society on a national level. It’s a big job, but I’m also excited for this year and all the objectives I’ve set, as well as working with the rest of the committee.

T@S: What do you hope to learn from this opportunity?

MW: I hope I learn how to be a better leader. I believe that you’re never done learning or perfecting anything. So, while I am a strong leader now, I think I can always improve to be a stronger one.

T@S: How did PRSSA at SHSU prepare you for this opportunity?

MW: I was able to develop my leadership skills, as well as my speaking and presentation skills through the chapter leadership roles I held and that really helped to prepare me for the National Committee election process. PRSSA and SHSU also helped prepare me for this opportunity because they gave me a great support system for when I decided to run, my chapter and friends were so supportive and encouraging.

NC2019-2020smallT@S: Why did you decide to attend SHSU for your undergrad?

MW: I’m from the Austin area so I liked that Sam Houston State was in a small town but that it’s not too far from a big city. I really wanted to go to school outside of Houston and Sam’s campus culture was a great fit for me. I love everything SHSU offers its students and how much the professors and faculty care about the students.

T@S: Future goals?

MW: My short-term goals are just to get a job at a PR firm in Houston after graduation in December. I hope to move up in a firm but I also aspire to have my own PR firm further down the road.

T@S: In your opinion, why should students join PRSSA?

MW: This society gives students so many opportunities, whether it’s networking, professional development, resume building, or educational. PRSSA’s motto is “Advancing the profession and the future professional.” PRSSA provides its members with a scholarship database, internship database, mentorship opportunities, supplemental educational resources, and more. It really seems like the benefits and resources offered are limitless. We have opportunities and resources for people in all areas of studies and this is a very beneficial organization to join if you’re wanting to prepare yourself for the career world.

To learn more about PRSSA, visit here.

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