Student Perspective: PRSSA 2015 Washington D.C. Agency Tour

Morgan Beavers, junior PR student
Written by Morgan Beavers '16, Public Relations major

I had the opportunity to attend the PRSSA 2015 Washington D.C. Agency Tour with faculty advisor Dr. Betty Jones at the end of February. We spent the week touring public relations agencies, networking with professionals, making lifelong connections and shadowing some of our favorite companies. The experience was one I know I’ll never forget, and D.C. now has a permanent place in my heart.

The trip that began as a traveler’s nightmare - full of weather delays and flight cancellations - quickly turned into one of the most eye-opening and exciting experiences I’ve had. 

Each day, we visited different public relations firms including Ketchum, Edelman, Powell Tate, Widmeyer and Burson-Marsteller. The opportunity to visit each agency - to walk through the door, sit in the office and talk to the employees face-to-face - brought the world of public relations to life. I’ve learned about it backwards and forwards in class, and I’ve gained experience with it through internships. Seeing the reality of these agencies and meeting with the people who bring the work to life helped me imagine my future in public relations.

One part of the trip that helped me narrow my career goals was the shadow opportunity on our last day. Dr. Jones set each of us up to shadow one-on-one at an organization or agency, and I spent the day at Share Our Strength, the nation’s leading organization in the fight against childhood hunger. I’ve always known I want to work for a cause and find a way to use my education to help make the world better. Whether it’s being a professor or using my public relations skills for a nonprofit, I want to reach people and make their lives happier and more fulfilling. I love the idea of the agency environment but want to focus on nonprofit work, and I wasn’t sure there was a place where those two intersect. Seeing the work that Share Our Strength does helped me realize that it is possible to have both, and it’s an incredible combination.

Another event during the trip that helped us network and prepare for our careers (not to mention have a great time!) was the alumni mixer. As part of Grady’s Centennial Celebration, the college hosts alumni events around the country. The D.C. alumni mixer took place Friday evening, our last day of the trip. The 15 of us on the PRSSA trip got to attend the mixer where Grady and SPIA alumni came together to catch up, network and celebrate Grady. In addition to spending time with outstanding Grady alumni, not to mention Dean Charles Davis, we were able to network with people in our dream careers now.

Aside from the endless networking and amazing tours of agencies, we had fun experiencing the city itself. Throughout the week, we ate at some of D.C.’s yummiest local restaurants, climbed the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial and learned to ride the Metro train like locals. We spent the entire first day playing in the snow after a blizzard shut down the city, government buildings and all. All-in-all, the trip was one I’ll never forget. I’m so thankful to Grady and PRSSA for the opportunity.
PRSSA students in front of the White House

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