Our Last Meeting

DQX2WehVwAATm0CTop Row- Neil Egan, Brianna Grecco, Christina Borst & Lauren Marhefka Bottom Row- Cameron O’Donnell, Shania Genwright & Vittoria Ciotti.

On Tuesday, December 5th, members met for our final chapter meeting of the fall 2017 semester. Together, the executive board and general body members celebrated the end of the semester with holiday candy and member awards. The latest version of our chapter’s newsletter, The Owl Practitioner was also presented at the final meeting. Members were able to look at a hard copy of the newsletter and celebrate each others’ pieces of writing.

It is a tradition to present members with awards for their outstanding achievement in our chapter and within the community. President Marissa Piffer and committee heads Jeremy Rives, Joei DeCarlo and Lauren Marhefka presented awards to those being recognized. The awards ranged from recognition such as “Social Media Star” and “Networking Navigator” for demonstrating efforts in social media activity and networking with others, to “STAR Member” and “Mentor/Mentee Pair”.

Congrats to the following Temple PRSSA members on their awards!

  • STAR Member (1st Place)– Christina Borst
  • STAR Member (2nd Place)– Vittoria Fani Ciotti
  • STAR Member (3rd Place)– Shania Genwright
  • Outstanding New Member-Vittoria Fani Ciotti
  • Outstanding PR Committee Member– Christina Borst
  • Outstanding Fundraising & Community Service Member– Alee DeRenzo
  • Outstanding Newsletter Committee Member– Brianna Greco
  • Networking Navigator– Max Simons
  • Social Media Star– Valentina Wrisley
  • Most Enthusiastic Learner– Neil Egan
  • Ray of Sunshine– Cameron O’Donnell
  • Best Mentor/Mentee Pair– Lauren Marhefka & Jojo Ure

Thank you to all members for their hard work and participation in our chapter. We hope you have a great break!


Student Hacks

College isn’t a breeze, and it can take a while to get the hang of things. I’ve learned so much through my years in school, so I want to share some tips in hopes of helping any upcoming or current freshmen.

  1. Get your professor’s attention.

It is easy to just keep your head down, do the bare minimum, or online shop in class. However, when you make the extra effort to get involved in class discussions, or show you’re engaged by asking your professors questions, they do take notice. Not only will you get those super important and easy class participation points, but you will also make a connection that you can utilize in the future. I guarantee after you graduate you will need at least one letter of recommendation, if not more. Who better to ask than one of your favorite professors, who loved having you in class?

  1. Stay involved on campus.

We are all busy with schoolwork, many of us have part time jobs to support us, and on top of ALL this there is the added work of internships. Times can get overwhelming, but getting yourself involved with student organizations can be more fun than work. It is an added way to make new friends or hang out with the ones you have now, and it is a great resume and connection builder. You never know when one of your fellow organization members will be able to hook you up with a new internship or when you apply for jobs post graduation, your interviewer was involved in the same organization.

3. Talk to your classmates.

For the first two semesters I was at Temple, I spoke to absolutely no one in my classes. It just seemed weird to try to befriend somebody who probably just wanted to get in and out of class. I made a pact in the beginning of this year to try and change this, and it was a great decision. I feel like I’m making alliances in class by staying in contact with my fellow students; we can study together, help each other out if we miss class or don’t understand something, and it’s also great to have someone to sit with! One of my really good friends now is someone I didn’t meet until I told them to sit next to me the first day of class this semester.

These “student hacks” are things I learned over the course of months, and I hope they were helpful for anyone looking to get ahead in easy ways at school!

Written by Lailumah Faisal, Director of Recruitment.






Rejection is Okay

It’s not fun hearing or reading the words…“We appreciate your interest in our company, but we decided to go with someone else.” Those fifteen words are always the worst to hear when you tried so hard to get your dream internship. Rejection is the worst. It makes you want to curl up in a ball with a gallon of ice cream and cry. But, I’m here to tell you…rejection is okay! Taking your second option is okay! Here are three tips to keep in mind when taking the second option

  1. You Second Option is Still Experience

Even though you didn’t get your dream internship, you still get experience from the internship you did accept. This internship can teach you the basis of what you want to do and give you some experience giving you a leg up on your competition for the next internship you apply for.

  1. Improve Through Feedback

 Ask your current boss for feedback on how you are doing in your current position. Your boss can tell you what you’re doing well and what you need to improve. Constructive criticism helps you become more prepared to start in this business and is another way to help you attain your dream internship.

    3.  Rejection Doesn’t Mean End the Relationship

Even if you didn’t get the internship you wanted, you can still keep in touch with the recruiter. Tell the recruiter what you have been up to, what courses you’re taking at school, and how you plan on applying again for their internship. This shows your perseverance and humility and will help the recruiter to keep you in mind for the next time.

Building a relationship with your current boss at your current internship is another great step. Your boss is in the business and connects with many people in the industry. Your boss could very well know the recruiter at the company you’ve been trying to get an internship at. They could give a positive recommendation about you to the recruiter. This is another advantage which can get you closer to that dream internship.

Rejection is okay. It can sting at first, but when one door closes another one opens. Taking your second option may seem like a setback, but this setback can help you build up your skills and connections. Every little step of the way counts and can help you reach your goal of getting the internship at your dream company.

By: Morgan Kruczek, Treasurer


Navigating Your First Networking Event

Networking events are a fantastic opportunity to not only get out of your comfort zone, but also meet many people that can help you find your path to success. However, the idea of approaching a complete stranger and trying to introduce yourself can be extremely intimidating, and at some times downright terrifying.

I had always heard of the importance of attending networking events knowing the many benefits that would come out of it. At the same time,  I would always find an excuse to not go to these events. In reality, I was worried about feeling like Jack Sparrow in the gif below, and the professionals being the group chasing him.


I finally decided I needed to put on big girl pants and put myself out there. Fortunately, my first networking event went better than I could have imagined. That being said, here are my key takeaways from networking events you should keep in mind before you attending your first event.

  1. Practice small talk


The worst possible thing that could happen to you during a conversation at a networking event is coming across the dreaded awkward silence. This happened to me a few times at the event I attended, and while we were both able to laugh it off and move past it, it certainly made my confidence drop. To avoid this, practice small talk with anyone you can. Create a list of possible questions you can always ask, and if you can in the moment, try to deepen the conversation. Don’t ask anything that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

  1. Know exactly who you want to talk to at the event, and do your research on them.


With most networking events that I have come across, you can access a list of professionals who will be attending that event. If one or a few of those names stick out to you on the list, keep that as your motivation to kill it at the event and research them. Doing your research prior will help you have talking points when initiating a conversation. As mentioned above, the last thing you want to deal with is awkward silence, so if you can prepare yourself in advance for talking to someone, the more confident you’re going to feel.

  1. When in doubt, talk with some of the other students or younger people there.


If you don’t necessarily feel comfortable going up to the Vice President from a huge company, that’s okay! Instead of just standing around sipping on some water, go talk to someone who might be just as nervous as you are. During networking events I’ve attended, I just stood back and looked for someone I felt comfortable starting a conversation with. Little did I know, the person I started talking to would soon be starting an apprenticeship with Villanova athletics and wanted to stay in contact due to my connections with professional sports and hers with collegiate athletics. You never know who you might meet or how they can help you in the future, so try to make the most of the situation!

  1. If you don’t have them already, invest in business cards!


Never in a million years did I think that at 21 years-old I would have my own personal business card. To be honest, I always kind of laughed at the idea because I thought it was too excessive but it will help you stay connected with the professionals you meet. Face the facts, we’re terrible at memorizing information especially when it comes to putting a face with someone’s name, a phone number or an email address. Having a business card and taking them with you to an event like this will be an absolute lifesaver for when it comes to following up with individuals. It also makes you feel so much more professional than you think.



On the inside, you might be trying to figure out a game plan on how to escape the room, call an Uber, head home and get back in your pajamas to watch Netflix. However, do not let this show on the outside. If you want to leave a lasting impression, you have to be confident in yourself and in what you have to bring to the table for someone. Even if that means going in the bathroom and giving yourself a pep talk, do it. I promise it will help.

By: Lauren Marhefka, Director of Fundraising

Membership Spotlights: Annie Himsworth & Alee DeRenzo

October has brought our chapter wonderful opportunities and members who were excited to enjoy all we had to offer. Meet our two latest membership spotlights- Alee DeRenzo & Annie Himsworth!

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Annie Himsworth

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 Alee DeRenzo

Annie Himsworth is a Junior majoring in Communication Studies on the Advertising & Entrepreneurship track. Annie is from Trappe, Pennsylvania and transferred to Temple University from the University of Louisville. 

Alee DeRenzo is Junior/Senior (Transfer) student from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Alee is a Strategic Communication Major with a PR Concentration. 

Here are some questions I asked to get to know Annie & Alee better: 

Why do you love PRSSA?

Annie- I wanted to learn what public relations is all about and I thought it would be an awesome networking opportunity.

Alee- I love PRSSA because it is a great way to connect and network with people who have the same interests as me while also providing me with professional experiences in the surrounding Philadelphia area.

Which committee are you in?

Annie- Community Relations and Fundraising. So far I helped prepare for the bake sale and I worked the table with several other members.

Alee- Community Relations and Fundraising. I do a lot of writing for PRowl and by joining this committee I am able to immerse myself in the Temple community as well as the greater Philadelphia community. The bake sale was a great success and all proceeds went to Philabundance, in support of their food bank which serves the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley regions.

PRSSA events you’ve participated in?

Annie- I go to the fundraising events like Blaze Pizza, I helped with the bake sale and I attend weekly and committee meetings.

Alee- I baked for our Philabundance bake sale and helped work it during Temple’s homecoming week. I walked the AIDs walk, which brings awareness to the Philadelphia AIDs epidemic and I am also in the process of figuring out the logistics behind a supplies drive for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

Other Temple organizations you are in?

Annie- I am also involved with Athletes Helping Athletes, Love Your Melon and I made the club field hockey team.

Alee- I am a Junior Account Executive at PRowl Public Relations.

Dream Job?

Annie- I am not sure what I exactly want to do yet, but I was thinking about working in a marketing or advertising corporations. I want to find out more about non-profit organizations as well.

Alee- To be in charge of the public relations and digital content management for a company within the beauty industry. I have a passion for makeup and PR so in a perfect world, I would be in a position that satisfies both of those passions.

Favorite social media platform?

Annie- I am in the process of making a LinkedIn. To stay in touch with family members and friends,  I have a Facebook and an Instagram.

Alee- Twitter is my favorite way to get the news and keep up with circulating memes, while Pinterest is the place where I plan out all the unrealistic meals and organization tactics I think I will have time to accomplish!

Coolest place you’ve visited?

Annie- I visited my old teammate that is from Madrid for 3 weeks this past summer. We traveled to Barcelona, Paris and all around Madrid with her family. I immediately fell in love with their culture and cannot wait to visit again.

Alee- I went to Turks and Caicos this past summer and loved it! It was probably the most beautiful place I have ever been, but I think my favorite place is San Francisco. I am a city girl through and through and I fell in love with the lifestyle and culture in San Francisco when I visited with my family a few years back.

Congratulations to our latest membership spotlights! Be sure to follow Annie & Alee on social media.


Choosing the Right Electives

Spring 2018 class registration is around the corner for most of us, and it’s hard to decide which classes to take as electives when you’ve fulfilled most of your requirements. I finished my last Gen-Ed a year ago, and this made me consider which electives I deemed important to take in the short time I have left.

The following tips are a few things to keep in mind when choosing classes that can add spice to a resume, and help you in the future.

 Pursue an Interest

Have you been interested in learning about a topic for a while, but haven’t been able to dedicate time to it? Take a class in it! Not only will you learn more about this topic and make it applicable, but you’ll have the chance to meet other people who are interested as well. This can lead to better connections, possible friendships and make you a more diverse candidate for a job or internship. I’m currently taking an introductory course in Sociology, and my understanding of much of our socialization has improved.


Think Outside of the Box


One of the best things about college is the variety of topics that are offered each semester. Student are free to take courses on any subject! Use this to your advantage. Courses range from physical education, professional development and health/wellness just to name a few. Taking a diverse range of courses can enhance your chosen field, reveal a new path or help you develop a skill you didn’t think was possible.


Be Certain It’s Relevant


While it’s important to pursue different interests, keep in mind each department has extra courses dedicated to internships and other skills needed in your profession. These courses also have people in different levels of your field or related fields, which can lead to you finding a mentor or even becoming one. Whichever position you find yourself in, you’re bound to learn about yourself in ways you otherwise wouldn’t have.

College is essentially about building skills, networking, and learning information. Electives, like required courses, give the opportunity and space for you to improve upon skills you already have and to learn new ones. Take each course with the intent of bettering yourself in any way you deem fit, and success will find you before you know it.

This blog post was written by Kayla Boone, Director of Social Media.

You’re Not Too Cool for Etiquette

Etiquette is defined as a set of unwritten rules that apply to social situations, professional workplaces and relationships. Many students may think they’re too young, not experienced enough or it’s outdated to uphold basic etiquette with peers or even in professional settings. Specifically, in public relations, everybody talks, so it is key to stay in good-standing. Although this is not an extensive list, it is a guaranteed great start.

From personal experience and my colleagues’ stories, more and more students lack these vital qualities. I believe it’s necessary to act as transparently and respectfully as possible, no matter who your audience is – other students, professors or employers. By following these helpful tips, you’re sure to impress your friends and interviewers while making an equally memorable impression.

  1. Introduce yourself with your full name. For example, I’m Marissa, but Marissa who? Marissa Tomei? No, Marissa Reale. How will they know how to pronounce my name? How do they know what I go by? How will they connect with me on social or LinkedIn if they don’t know who to search for? Aside from those concerns, stating your first and last name appears more prepared.
  2. Stand and shake hands firmly. Nothing is worse than a dead-fish handshake. It’s awkward and makes it look like you’re afraid to meet the other person half-way with their greeting. Be proud of who you are and represent yourself in a strong manner.
  3. Say thank you. Say ‘thank you’ if you ask someone for help, and especially if they help make a connection for you that could lead to a job. If someone is willing to risk their credibility and recommend you for a position, thank them and update them if it resulted in employment. Don’t forget to send follow-up emails or written notes in a timely manner.
  4. Don’t just talk to someone when you need If you do, they will feel used and frustrated by someone only asking for repeated favors. Email just to say ‘hi’ or plan to meet-up. Also, ask if they need help anything. More often than not, they will take you up on it. Nourish the professional relationship like you would a good friendship.
  5. Be polite and pursue networking relationships. Our fellow students will be our fellow colleagues soon, so it is best to start networking as soon as possible. Seek out upperclassmen for guidance and advice. With professionals, don’t have the “one and done” mindset. Meet professionals numerous times and establish a working relationship. Like their updates on LinkedIn, or ask them to coffee.

These age-old tips will never go out of style. My last tip is to not guess. You never know what connection or conversation may lead to something. Opportunities arise in places you may least expect them to. Create a respectful environment and your personal brand will shine through to lead to long-lasting industry relationships and friendships.


This post was written by Vice President, Marissa Reale.

‘Tis the Season for Spring Internship Hunting


Believe it or not, the fall semester will be over in a blink of an eye. It may sound crazy, but many students have already started looking for spring internships for next semester. While it may seem overreaching, this is actually prime time for students to start looking. As you think about your internship quest, be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind before and after stepping in for an interview.


Clean up your social media


Before applying for any internship, you should ALWAYS take time to look at your social media. Browse through your feed and Google yourself – whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other social media sites accessible to the public. Ask yourself…”Would I feel comfortable having my future employer look at this?” Find time to clean up your profiles, such as photos, professional summaries and your experience list. Before interviewing you, employers will often conduct a quick Google search to get a good sense of who you are and your personal brand.


Target the search


Applying to internships can be difficult when you don’t necessarily know what field you want to gain experience in. Take time to familiarize yourself with different industries and companies that interest you. From agencies to corporate and nonprofit, the choices seem endless. Compile a list of internships you’re interested in, and jot down a few reasons why that specific position interests you.  


Ask for help from fellow peers


Being a member of PRSSA is a wonderful opportunity because your peers may have already had multiple internships in industries you’re interested in. Take time to ask your PRSSA peers about their experiences and what internships they recommend. Ask them to grab coffee or send a quick email with questions you may have. Sometimes speaking with your peers can help you connect the dots, and we want to help!


Email like a pro

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While some internships have online applications, other employers will ask you to email your resume. Sending the first email can be intimidating, but here are a few tips to keep in mind before hitting “send.”

  1. Have a professional introduction. Always open the email with “Dear Ms/Mr. __________.”
  2. Introduce yourself. Three key areas of your introduction are your first and last name, what school you attend and your major.
  3. Name Drop. If someone from the company recommended you, briefly mention them in the email (only if that person gives permission!)
  4. Don’t talk about your experience too much. You aren’t summarizing your entire resume through email, but be sure to mention why that position is a good fit for you.
  5. Close with a call to action. End the email in a way that would initiate a call to action on the employer’s end. (For example, “Thank you and I’m looking forward to discussing this opportunity further!”)
  6. Have a professional closing. Sincerely, Marissa Piffer OR Best, Marissa Piffer. 
  7. Review your resume. Before sending your resume in, have your professors, mentors or the career center take a look at it for any suggestions or feedback.
  8. Send your resume as a PDF. 99 percent of the time, employers will not open any attachments from new senders if it isn’t a PDF.
  9. Have your email peer-edited. Before hitting send, have someone else take a look at your email draft. No matter how many times you read over your own writing, it is easy to miss those spelling/grammar errors. The first email to a potential employer is always a serious first impression, so make it count!


Here is a sample email where I’ve put these tips to use when applying to my current internship:


Sample email


Do your research before the interview


After sending your resume to an employer, the best outcome is being asked to come in for an interview. Before going into the interview, make sure you are knowledgeable about the company. You don’t have to know every single detail, but show that you took the time to familiarize yourself with the company and the people who work there. When the employer asks if you have any questions, make sure to ask specific questions about the company that shows you did a little research.

Interview Tip: My padfolio (pictured below) becomes my best friend during interviews. In my padfolio, I typically write down some talking points I can bring into the interview after doing some research on the company. Having a padfolio is also great to carry around writing samples, extra resumes, business cards and take notes during your interview. 


Overall, it is important to remember that interviews are just conversations! Don’t sweat the small stuff and be yourself.


Follow up

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Whether or not you think the interview went well, following up with an employer is always best practice. A simple “thank you” can go a long way, and will certainly help you stick out from the crowd.  A good time frame to send a “thank you” email or note is typically 1-3 days, so make it timely!
This blog post was written by Chapter President, Marissa Piffer

Junior Year Internship Struggles

Junior year is often the crunch time for getting internships and starting to realize which PR career path to choose for the future. This time is filled with a lot of anxiety and feelings of doubt about what the future has in store. Friends and peers are racking in the internships, while I sit back and watch as they gain valuable experience. Clearly, there is something wrong and I need to jump on the first internship opportunity I see…Wrong!

While I watch my peers and friends getting internships, I remind myself I am only a first semester junior. I have time to apply for an internship to gain more experience. Also, I take a moment to realize the role I have as Secretary of PRSSA. Sometimes it is easy to forget the great skills and experiences I gain from being active in this organization.

The anxiety is present at all times to find the greatest internship. However, after watching and listening to my peers and friends, I’ve learned that great internships don’t just appear. An internship at a big corporate PR firm could be the worst time of my life, while a small lifestyle agency could gain me long-lasting skills and experience.

I know this is a hard time and transition period for any Junior in college, but throwing myself a bone and realizing I have great opportunities without an internship allowed me to shed my anxiety. I will keep working hard and stay in an active leadership position in PRSSA! I know that when I am ready, I will find a good internship. In the meantime, I will relish my time as Secretary of PRSSA.

By: Jeremy Rives, PRSSA Secretary




Stand Up and Stand Out

Standing out in a large student organization chapter can be difficult, especially when it consists of members who have similar majors. I joined Temple’s Chapter of PRSSA in the spring of my freshman year. I was in awe of the e-board and how they seemed to know each member, but I wondered how each individual member knew who one another was and how some people just seemed to “shine” in a room full of people who had a passion for PR and communicating. Later that year I was recognized as an outstanding new chapter member, I received a member spotlight the following semester, and was recognized with my mentor, Clarissa, for outstanding mentor/mentee pair. At the time I wasn’t sure why I was recognized, but looking back, I think I know why.

Here are some tips I’d offer to my freshman self about standing out in a large chapter….

Ask Questions

The biggest mistake I made freshman year was not asking questions out of fear of looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. I later realized everyone has questions- freshman or senior! As an e-board member now, I love when peers (under or upperclassman) ask me questions. Not only can I help them or send them to someone who can help them, but their questions have helped me! I’ve been asked questions about writing that I didn’t know the answer to and we learned together. Experiences like these have helped me to make connections with fellow PRSSA members as well as provided a learning opportunity for both of us.


Show Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm never goes unnoticed. Whether you are nodding your head during a guest speaker presentation or actively participating in a workshop, fellow members and the executive board always notice those who are excited to be a chapter member. Another thing I would have reminded myself is “I’m paying for great resources- I should make the most of them!”. I forgot to check the PRSSA website for writing or scholarship opportunities. Looking into these resources and actively participating make you a better member and you will benefit from all your membership has to offer you!


Be Observant

Most of what I learned as a PRSSA member was by watching others. Being observant helps you to strengthen your skills by directly watching others. You can pick up on subtle things like shaking a guest speaker’s hand or larger things like introducing yourself to a fellow member. Watching others can help to make new things less intimidating, and you will thank yourself for taking the time to observe what others get out of their memberships.


Although it can be intimidating at first, trying to stand out in a large student organization will not only help you to be a better member, but you will get recognized for all of your hard work. Investing your time in a pre-professional organization will help you to further your education outside of the classroom and can help you to make connections to use after you graduate. So remember, stand up and stand out!!

This blog post was written by Director of Public Relations, Joei DeCarlo.