Meet The E-Board Series: Mari Ann Loucks, Vice President of Chapter Development

Hi guys!

My name is Mari Ann (I know, two first names!) I’m a senior in the public relations program at Ferris, and I’m the Vice President of Chapter Development for the Public Relations Student Society of America!

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I’m 21 years old, and I’m from Charlotte, MI, a small town near Lansing. I eat a grapefruit everyday and I’m a dog mother to a Pomeranian named Chanel and a Pug & Boston Terrier mix (also called a Bugg) named Stanley. My parents are some of my best friends and I have one older brother, who lets me cuddle my niece and nephew as much as I want. I love to spend time outdoors and try new things- I went fishing for the first time last month!

My parents, who met at Ferris (so did Emma’s parents), took me to a Ferris hockey game every February to celebrate their anniversary, for as long as I can remember. I always loved our visits to Ferris, finding the people friendly and campus charming.

When I was trying to decide which college to attend, I had narrowed it down to Michigan State University and Ferris State University. Ultimately, I chose Ferris because of the smaller class sizes, the personalized learning approach, and campus I had learned to love as a little girl.

Even though I came to Ferris as a sonography major, I knew it was not the program for me. After looking at the different programs that Ferris had to offer, I found the public relations program. After taking my first public relations class, I knew I had found the program for me. I joined PRSSA last year, and it was the best decision I’ve made in my college career.

I can’t wait to see the changes in our chapter this year, and I’m especially looking forward to the PRSSA 2015 National Conference in Atlanta!

After interning with Make-A-Wish® Michigan, I know without a doubt that my future is going to be in nonprofit public relations. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you realize you have made a difference in someone’s life.

A few of my favorite things…

Guilty pleasure: Cherry slush with Nerds® from Sonic®

Favorite TV show: The Astronaut Wives Club

Favorite food: Breakfast! (I love all breakfast food- I don’t discriminate)

Favorite book: The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

Favorite animal: Elephants- it’s actually an obsession.

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Meet The E-Board Series: Arielle Borkovich, Vice President of Professional Development

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When I was given the ultimatum of moving or staying in the early summer of 2013 I felt as though my world had literally broken into a million pieces and shattered all around me. I was 24 years old and completely lost in finding the direction and purpose in my life. I had lived in Mount Pleasant my whole life. At the time, my boyfriend of five and a half years was literally my savior, continuously pulling me out of my dark cloud of depression caused by an unforeseen death in my family my senior year of high school that I just couldn’t cope with. I didn’t see how anything would ever be okay if I moved. However, my parents were moving. They could no longer shoulder my living and educational expenses with the cost of building a new home, so if I decided to stay then I was officially on my own.

I transferred to Ferris State University in the fall of 2013. I had previously changed my major three times with no luck and had decided to flip to the opposite end of the spectrum by trying out the world of business. I entered my first semester at Ferris in the human resource management program and quickly realized that this was not the correct fit for me. After a long discussion with my advisor about my likes and dislikes, dreams and aspirations I switched to the public relations program in the spring 2014 semester and I can honestly say it was one of my best decisions to date.

Spring semester was full of new opportunities for me. I had started a job in University Advancement and Marketing’s News Services Office and quickly started making friends with my co-workers, who were also in the same program. After about a semester of them poking and prying, I finally decided to join PRSSA. I was apprehensive at first due to my age. I thought that I wouldn’t have anything in common with people in the organization because I would be labeled as the failure and the girl who was still in school at the age of 25.

My first day of PRSSA, all my worries were put to rest. The people in the organization quickly became my friends and offered great support not only during the semester, but outside of the classroom as well. I took an event coordinator position for Senior Sendoff within Internal Relations the first semester of joining. I then applied and was offered the position of Vice President of Alumni Relations my second semester with PRSSA.

Alumni Relations was a new position that consisted of networking with alumni, planning alumni events and building the organizations LinkedIn page and alumni contact list. I spent the semester continuing to plan senior sendoff, planning and hosting our first ever alumni mixer, and connecting with alumni to update them on what was going on and to confirm their contact information.

In the spring of 2015 I was reelected for my position, however we as an eboard decided to add more job duties to the position. Because of the new job description, my title was renamed to Vice President of Professional Development in the summer of 2015. My current position consists of everything that it did before and now includes networking with Western Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA) and hosting events highlighting them or attending events that they host.

I believe that professional development is a great opportunity for all members. Networking with professionals and gaining mentors is invaluable to one’s success not only while in college, but once they are graduated as well. Members have obtained internships and careers from establishing relationships with PR professionals and additionally gained invaluable information from networking events; events that the professional development team will be planning and hosting this year. It is crucial that members do not miss out on these events and workshops.

I am excited to continue building my position up from ground-level and inspiring new and old members during my last year at Ferris State. Ferris helped me find my path, but Ferris PRSSA helped change my life and allowed me to find myself again and for that I am truly thankful

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Meet The E-Board Series: Emma Thibault, President

‘Sup #PRPeeps!

My name is Emma Thibault, and I am the President of Ferris State’s PRSSA Chapter. I’m a junior in the Public Relations program and will be minoring in Integrated Marketing Communications.

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The purpose of this blog post is to help others get to know myself. An easy task, right?

Wrong.

I’ve realized how challenging it is to write about myself, or rather, how to make me seem like an interesting human being. But, we’ll give this a try…

I have a 14-year-old brother named Blair, a shih tzu dog named Oreo, and two loving parents who coincidentally met at Ferris! Family is everything. I’ve played softball all my life and was 99.99% sure that I would play in college until realizing that college athletics wasn’t for me. I have a tendency to commit to too many things; I often ask myself how I keep my sanity. One of my main goals this summer is to incorporate more ‘me time’ into my schedule such as working out, blogging, and reading.

I’m from Downers Grove, Illinois, a fairly large suburb that lies 25 miles southwest of Chicago. My high school had roughly 3,200 students and I graduated with a class of 800 students (mind you—these numbers account for only one of the two high schools within my town). Coming to Big Rapids after growing up in such a populous area was a big change, but it also taught me how to be a driven, insightful, and sociable individual.

I have no idea what area of the Public Relations field I’d like to indulge in. My future is an open book. This is both frightening and empowering. Ask me about my future in May of 2017 and hopefully I’ll have a more solidified answer!

I work best in a tough-love, real, setting. Sarcasm and humor are frequent in any of my relationships. I strive for reaching my goals and watching others obtain personal growth as well. I have high hopes for Ferris State PRSSA and I’m excited to see where this next year takes our Chapter. Warning: One of my goals is to have an open relationship with each and every PRSSA member. Heads up!

And now for a few of my favorites…

Ice Cream: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

TV Show: Keeping up with the Kardashians (insert sigh here)

Color: Red

Food: Anything. Everything.

Sports Team: Green Bay Packers

Type of Music: Country

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird

Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

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Senior Blog Series: Carman Plank

By: Carman Plank

10 days. 10 days is all that is left of my college career. There is only 10 days before I walk gracefully (who am I kidding? I’ll probably trip) across that stage. And as these days have begun to dwindle down, I have realized just how hard it is going to be for me to say goodbye to this school, everything I have been involved in, and of course the plenty of people I have met.

As I go to close this chapter of my life, I must remember that with every goodbye comes lessons that have been learned along the way. Here are a few that I have learned:

College is a place to recreate yourself.

In high school, I had an amazing group of friends. However, outside of that group of friends, I was known as the “smart girl.” That’s all that most of my 2,000 student high school knew about me. They didn’t know my personality. They didn’t know my heart and soul. They only knew that I was good at taking tests and I got good grades. I wanted to change that when I got to college. I wanted to be known for the entire person that I am. Remember, that college is the place where you can recreate yourself. It’s the place where you can truly become a better person and show a new set of people what you are made of. Don’t lose your true self in the process, but you are able to create yourself.

 GET INVOLVED.

Anyone that knows me is aware that the one piece of advice that I always give people when they are freshmen is to GET INVOLVED. There is nothing that will teach you more in college than the experiences outside of the classroom, and inside of your organizations. Find something you are passionate about and run with it. It will help you in the long run.

College brings you lifetime friends.

You are here for four years. It’s inevitable that heartbreak, loss and struggle will ensue at some point. When it does, lean on those friends that you have built that bond with. The ones that will be there, no matter what. College will inevitably bring people into your life that will be around for you when it seems like the whole world is crashing down. Don’t let those people go.

Don’t take classes so seriously.

So before anyone gets any misconceptions about this one, I am not telling you to not try hard in your classes. I am simply saying that college isn’t all about classes. Through my four years, I have leaned just as much, if not more, from my experiences outside of the classroom as I have from the ones inside of it. Your life is not defined by what kind of grades you receive. And yes, if you are struggling in a class and having multiple mental breakdowns for it, it is okay: Cs really do get degrees.

I could go on for days about everything that I have learned these past four years at Ferris, but I don’t want to bore you. When I came here as a timid little freshman four years ago, I couldn’t imagine the sassy, strong person that I have become. I can’t thank my organizations, especially PRSSA, for everything that they have given me. Just know that Ferris will forever remain in your blood, as it will remain in mine. Ferris will always be home to me, because: Once a Bulldog. Always a Bulldog.

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Senior Blog Series: Ashley Bradstreet

By: Ashley Bradstreet

August 27, 2012 was not only my first experience with PRSSA, but also the day I was reassured coming to Ferris was the right decision.

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As I near the end of my third year of college, it’s hard to believe I only have one semester before it’s all over.   Initially, I wrote about some of my (self-proclaimed) profound and unique experiences.  However, my fellow PR seniors are sharing such thoughtful and insightful tips for our younger peers; I realized they say it way better than I can so instead I’m going to write:

The 19 things that go through your mind when trying to write about your college experience

-I’m going to sign up for the latest possible publishing date

-But I said I wasn’t going to procrastinate this semester

-Whatever, I’m busy this week

-I should read everyone else’s blog. It’s research, not cheating

-Gosh, why is everyone so good at writing?

-What happened to that blog I wrote in PREL341? (eww 341)

-Wow, that blog was terribly cliché and had so many passive sentences

– Maybe someone will switch publishing dates with me so I can just write it this weekend

-I should work in a paradigm shift. Wuddup PREL440

-(Google Search) How to write a blog?

-I don’t have a single creative bone in my body

-Initiate incubation

– I’ve been in the IRC for 3 hours and gotten nothing done.

-The Starbucks guy is handing out free samples, but he’s not looking at me.

-I could totally write a blog about how much I’ll miss chillin’ in the IRC

-Graduation is kind of sad

-Wait, why are I acting like I’m graduating?

-I’m not even a senior.

-Can I push my senior blog to December?

Unlike this blog, I took my time at Ferris rather seriously and looking back there are two, somewhat contradictory, pieces of advice I’d give:

  1. Work hard
  2. Don’t spend all weekend in FLITE.

Seek out opportunities and step out of your comfort zone, but keep it in perceptive and enjoy the moments you have. Sometimes, it feels like you have little control over what you have to do.  Thankfully, your work ethic and attitude is completely yours to determine.  Despite the importance of success and excellence, it’s critical to remember never take life or yourself too seriously.

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Senior Blog Series: Kaitlyn Baase

kaitlynLately, I feel like every senior in the entire world has been super nostalgic talking about his or her experiences in college. So far, college has been the best experience of my life, and I want to make sure I remember it as that, not as me being sad because I’m about to leave. If you know me, you know that I like to (try) and be funny. So I tried to compile a list of super funny, yet really random thoughts I have had about college. I’m sure that the majority of #PRpeeps at Ferris have thought the same things 😉

  1. Am I really moving two hours away from home where I don’t know a single soul?!

Yes, Kaitlyn. You really are going to move that far away and know no one. It’s really scary (especially when you get to campus and find out you don’t have a roommate anymore), but you will survive. Just open your door in your dorm room and go to events. Life will be fine.

  1. What even is PR?

Did you know I picked my major out of a book? I had no idea what public relations was when I started college. But from the looks of it, it seems like I get to make blogs and paper airplanes in class, so I’ll stick with it. NOTE: I realize now that PR is way more than making paper airplanes in PREL 101, but that wouldn’t make a funny story, would it?

  1. You wish you had my PR buddy

My PR buddy I had freshman year was the best. She took me under her wing and made sure that I was adjusting comfortably to life at Ferris. I mean, the girl took me to Zumba every Tuesday and Thursday my freshman year and has talked me through EVERY SINGLE important life event, how much better can PR buddies get?! So shout out to Samantha Bankey: Thanks for making me the fearless human being I am today.

  1. I like PRSSA. I should get more involved

Getting involved in PRSSA was the best decision I’ve made throughout college. I love everything about PRSSA, from the meetings every Thursday to hanging out with my #PRpeeps. Thank you all for letting me talk for hours about PRSSA and putting up with my craziness during meetings!

  1. PREL 341: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

That class almost killed me. But I (barely) survived and learned so much about public relations. An hour ago, I just cranked out a press release for work in under 20 minutes. Thanks, PREL 341, for that one!

  1. Living in BR for a summer is the best thing I’ve ever done

I spent my last summer of college staying in Big Rapids and I highly recommend it to everyone. I got to ride my bike all over town, go tubing every weekend, and experience the pure beauty of Big Rapids when it is not overly infested with college students.

  1. Senior Year is kind of scary

It’s pretty horrifying when all of a sudden you are writing your senior blog for PRSSA, have your campaign due for PREL 455 in less than 24 hours, and are in the process of training someone to take over your position as PRSSA President. Where did the time go?! Why can’t I graduate NEXT year?!

  1. Finding a job is really scary

The moment where you realize you have to apply for a REAL job is kind of horrifying. It’s a weird feeling to realize that you will no longer spend your days at school, but working at a job. Trying to figure out where to begin can be extremely overwhelming. At the end of the day, I realized that you just have to breathe, remember that everything happens for a reason and never give up on the job hunt, no matter how stressful it may be.

  1. I’m graduating in three weeks. WHAT?!

This is the best/worst feeling in the entire world. I am so excited to graduate and see where my future is going to take me, but I am dreading the day I have to say goodbye to all of my friends, peers and classmates at Ferris State University. It seems like just yesterday my parents dropped me off at Vandercook Hall, and now I’m preparing to walk across the stage.

On an ending note, I have loved everything about my time at Ferris State University. Thank you to everyone for making these past four years the best time of my life! You are the reason the sun shines in my life.

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Senior Blog Series: Shelby Austin

By: Shelby Austin

I’m sitting at Biggby putting the final touches on my capstone campaign, writing my senior blog, preparing for my final PR presentation, and researching jobs. Where has the time gone?

Three short years ago, I started my college career as a music industry management major. Although I am thankful for the lifelong friends and experiences that MIM provided me with, I am also incredibly happy I discovered public relations through Dr. Bishop’s intro to PR course.

Unfortunately, my time in PRSSA was too short. Three semesters was not nearly enough time to spend with this incredible group of talented individuals.

The past year in PRSSA has been a year I will never forget. I had the opportunity to serve with five incredible girls on the executive board as Vice President of Internal Relations, organize several PRSSA “firsts,” and oversee an extremely hard working internal relations team.

It’s hard to believe that I have my final PR presentation on Wednesday and that I am attending senior send off as a senior next Thursday. It’s even harder to believe that in less than a month, I will walk across the stage to get my diploma with the other PR seniors that have become family in such a short time.

The thought of leaving Big Rapids makes me happier than one could imagine, but the thought of leaving my PRSSA family makes my heart heavy. I am eager to start the next chapter of my life, but I will miss hanging out in IRC 107 every Thursday, especially on ThurZadays.

Current PR students don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. At times, the program will push you to your limits but never underestimate yourself. Also, try not stress yourself out too much. Find the balance between being a Kyle Bergman and a Tarah Bourke.

I look forward to attending the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta with the chapter in November. The future of PRSSA is bright and I am eager to serve as a mentor to members and watch the chapter grow.

With that being said, shout out to Dr. Bishop, my fellow PR seniors, and coffee for helping me reach my full potential in PR!

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