PRSSA E-Board Interview with Rachel Stuyvenberg upon Graduation

Interview with PRSSA 2010-2011 Executive Board

Name: Rachel Stuyvenberg

Position: Vice President of Chapter Development

Major: Public Relations Honors, University Honors

Class: Senior

Member Since: October 2009

Connect: @Rachel714 / LinkedIn

How did you become a part of PRSSA?

I spoke with my wonderful friend and mentor Holly Myles, who told me I HAVE to join PRSSA if I was planning to study public relations. I didn’t really understand what the organization was but I knew I had to join and find out. Shelly Najor helped me connect with executive board members who helped me join and become an active member. After joining I volunteered to help implement a campaign for Luthern Social Services of Michigan  promoting foster care. I started to understand how valuable PRSSA was for my career.

Why did you run for a leadership position on the executive board?

After becoming close friends with a lot of my fellow members I realized I would love to help lead the chapter. I benefited so much from being a member my first year that I wanted to help others do the same. It was my chance to connect with my classmates and professionals. I knew I could enhance the organization and I wanted to contribute my time and effort for a growing passion.

 What else have you done to prepare for your career?

I had my first internship last summer at The Henry Ford. My internship coordinators, Kate Storey and Carrie Nolan were amazing role models and truly helped me understand what it takes to be successful in PR. It was a dream internship. I was mesmerized by the historical beauty in the museum. I was inspired and motivated everyday I came to work. I had the pleasure of assisting the media during Maker Faire Detroit, the Midwest’s largest Do-It-Yourself festival. I learned so much from my time at The Henry Ford. Last winter I helped with marketing strategies for CT&T electric vehicles at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Currently, as the manager at a small business I am trying to incorporate public relations strategies by volunteering to create a company website and brochure.

How do you plan to use your knowledge and experience gained from the board in the real world?

I have become more organized, responsible and driven after my experience with PRSSA. My communication skills have become more strategic and concise. I have learned how to effectively work as a team member and when to step up as a leader. Most importantly PRSSA has taught me to believe in myself. It has made me a more confident and competent individual. I know that I am prepared for whatever task is thrown at me. I plan on keeping this mindset when I enter my career.

 What advice can you give for students who are looking to be more active in PRSSA?

Do it! The more you put in the more you will get back! There is so much to learn outside of the classroom and PRSSA can help. There is something for everyone: writing opportunities, event planning, fundraising, social events, etc. Your membership is what you make of it! Also, if you are like me and love making new friends, it is a great way to connect to other students. I have met some of my best friends through PRSSA.

 What was your favorite experience with PRSSA?

Meeting new people! I have met so many amazing talented professionals. I am always looking for inspiration and PRSSA has really exposed me to the best of the best. I have also been lucky enough to really connect with our members and board.

 How has PRSSA prepared you for a career in this field?

I have blossomed into a more driven and confident person. I know what to expect when I begin my career and how to approach unexpected situations. Being in PRSSA has taught me to always be optimistic, always give 110% and always celebrate your successes. I am a dedicated and hardworking individual, but PRSSA has really shown me how to demonstrate theses qualities as I enter my career.

 What is your favorite quote?

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain” I think it is important to realize that the journey of life is not perfect but you must have fun and enjoy the ride your on.

 “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote reminds me we are all capable of achieving our dreams, but we must believe in ourselves in order to do so. It is easy to knock ourselves down but aiming for the sky is the only way to bring ourselves up.

 What is your plan after graduation?

I will be pursuing a career in public relations or marketing. I want to still be active in my community and hopefully work in or close to Detroit. I would love to eventually have a career in entertainment/music public relations or nonprofit. It is important for me to love what I do and help others in the process.

 What advice do you have for students interested in public relations?

First, join PRSSA! Second, be active and meet professionals. This will help you understand public relations and help you find where you fit in the industry. Once you find what you are interested in, dedicate your time interning or volunteering. You will learn skills that you will never get in the classroom. Third, have fun! Make the most out of your experiences. If you have fun and love what you are doing, you will influence your community which is the essence of public relations. Never be discouraged! I know you may stress out throughout your college career, but take it from someone who is graduating in two weeks- you will survive!

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