Washington, D.C. agency tour gives students a look into alumni impact and reach

Fifteen members of UGA’s Chapter of PRSSA traveled to Washington, D.C., mid-February to visit top agencies and shadow professionals around the city. Students capped off the week with a networking event at the National Geographic Museum with UGA alumni represented.

The week’s tour featured Ketchum, Edelman, the American Red Cross, Powell Tate, Burson-Marsteller and Widmeyer. At each office, students were given presentations on the agency’s specialties, capabilities and internships programs.

Students also had the opportunity to learn from insightful case studies in which account members presented topics such as product campaigns, branding, social media and crisis resolution.

UGA PRSSA alumna Jade Thomas (ABJ ’13) offered resume critiques in the Edelman office, where she now works as an assistant account executive.

Students also toured the crises center at the American Red Cross and had the opportunity to participate in a mock press conference.

“It was amazing how all of the places we visited were clearly so excited to share their work with us,” senior public relations major Leila Choucair noted. “They put so much time and effort into giving class act presentations to us.”

On Friday, each student shadowed a professional, many who are alumni of Grady College. Students were hosted by agencies and political organizations such as Revolution Messaging, the office of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, and Porter Novelli.

“The experience was eye-opening and exciting,” said Morgan Beavers, a junior PR major who shadowed at Share Our Strength. “It gave me confidence that I will find a career where my talents and my passions intersect.”

This is the 8th year the PRSSA members from UGA toured Washington, D.C. Since the first tour in 2003, 19 students have been hired into Washington firms as a direct result of the trip. Students met with two alumnae, Hadley Dreibelbis (ABJ ’14) of Widmeyer and Tana Bosshard (ABJ ’14), who participated in the 2014 tour and are now still working in the top agencies they visited.

Grady College faculty members Betty Jones and Bryan Reber led the trip.

“While this trip is a tremendous amount of work, it is all worth it to see students realize their dream of working in Washington, D.C.,” Jones noted. “They make our PRSSA Chapter, our ADPR Department, our Grady College and the University of Georgia proud with the way they represent us in such a professional way.”

The trip was truly a comprehensive tour, which gave students a raw look into the everyday life of agencies in Washington, D.C. The students not only gained insight from the top agencies in the nation, but also gained valuable professional contacts in a city with one of the largest alumni pools for the University of Georgia.

“[The trip] was a phenomenal experience,” senior public relations major Ana Echols said. “In less than a week I made lifelong connections and cultivated a better understanding of what there is to explore in my field.”

Date: February 25, 2015
Author:  Michael Bragg, mbragg@uga.edu
Contact:  Michael Bragg, mbragg@uga.edu