Tuesday Feb 04, 2014
Much like many incoming college students, Lisa Christensen, currently a junior at Indiana University Northwest, struggled a bit to find her “academic home”.
Looking for a discipline that both intrigues and challenges her, Christensen explored several career tracks and realized her true passion lies in communication, specifically public relations (PR).
“PR covers such a vast amount of information about so many areas, and is a constantly evolving field,” she said. “It continuously keeps my brain thinking and incorporates so many aspects that I enjoy doing, such as writing and editing, networking, evening planning, and crisis management.”
Without a specialized PR major at IU Northwest, Christensen has worked hard to tailor her communication education by seeking out student organization opportunities that are aligned with the PR industry, and relying on the professional real-world experience of the IU Northwest faculty, whom she views as mentors.
“IU Northwest has set me up for success and is helping me to achieve my goals by providing me access to amazing and professional staff and faculty that support my dreams,” she said.
Christensen, with the support of a few other students and Communication Department Chair Bonita Neff, Ph.D., worked hard to make reality their dream of establishing IU Northwest’s first Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.
“I see so much value in starting this chapter at IU Northwest,” Christensen explained, who is currently the president of the chapter. “Our campus is located less than an hour from Chicago, one of the most up-and-coming public relations cities in the United States. This organization gives students many opportunities to network with PR professionals, as well as our peers from other universities.”
Established at the start of the Fall 2013 semester, the chapter is gaining traction and popularity with IU Northwest students as they learn more about the profession, and the many opportunities the campus’s PRSSA chapter provides.
Christensen’s goals are set high, both for herself and her chapter, as in the coming months she plans to attend the May Leadership Rally Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona representing the IU Northwest chapter and the national PRSSA conference in Washington D.C. in the fall. She intends to enroll the chapter in several national competitions, with the goal of further establishing the IU Northwest chapter both regionally and nationally.
With an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2015, Christensen is working hard now to plant firm roots so that the chapter continues to thrive.
“I hope to watch the IU Northwest chapter grow so that it continues to help students gain additional insight into the PR industry, and possibly helps students with their future careers and aspirations,” she said.