PRD Leadership Profile: Graduate Student Committee

By Melissa Janoske, University of Memphis 

Committee name:
Graduate Student Liaison Committee

Committee members & positions:

Faculty Adviser: Julia Fraustino
West Virginia University

Co-Chair (luncheon): Yuan Wang
University of Alabama

Co-chair (membership): Tiffany Schweickart
University of Florida

Jennifer Harker
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

Mila Khalitova
University of Florida

Stephanie Mahin
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

Barbara Myslik
University of Florida

Tyler Page
University of Maryland

BaoBao Song
University of Florida

Primary responsibilities within the PRD:

Big Wins For Last Year: The Graduate Student Liaison Committee conducted a survey on the 2016 Graduate Student Luncheon in January 2017 to get feedback from the Luncheon participants. This committee incorporated participants’ feedback into the planning and organizing of the 2017 Luncheon in Chicago. This committee sought sponsorship for this event from the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. The venue of the 2017 Luncheon was also identified.

Goals for the Coming Year: The goals for the coming year include continuing the Luncheon tradition, expanding membership outreach, and encouraging student participation in PRD events. This committee expects the Luncheon to become a traditional event and a brand of PRD. It also wishes to promote PRD events and activities to more graduate students and engage them in these activities.

Top Memories from their experience on the committee: Yuan Wang: My top memories include seeking sponsorship for the Graduate Student Luncheon and negotiating with restaurants in Chicago. It was a pleasure talking with Dr. David Pelmutter, the Dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, who showed great support to our Luncheon, which I sincerely appreciate. It was also challenging and interesting to negotiate with restaurant managers in order to find the best deal.

Fun question! Which sitcom best describes your committee dynamics? The Big Bang Theory can best describe this committee. Its members are all intelligent doctoral students specializing in public relations, who work together to achieve the committee’s goals.



PRD Leadership: Membership Committee


Interview by Matt Kushin, Shepherd University 

Names of people on the committee & positions:

Chair: Hua Jiang, Syracuse University

Vice-Chair: Marlene Neill, Baylor University

Committee Members

Melanie Formentin, Towson University

Melissa Adams, North Carolina State University

Primary responsibilities within the PRD:

The membership committee is committed to cultivating a long-term trusting relationship between AEJMC Public Relations Division (PRD) and its members. Our primary responsibilities include enhancing PRD members’ membership experience, organizing and managing our mentoring program, and getting people involved in PRD.

Big wins for last year:

Through our collective efforts, we conducted PRD’s annual membership survey, the mentoring survey with our 2016-2017 mentors and mentees, recruited new mentors and mentees for the 2017-2018 year, compiled a list of “tips” for integrating new members into our PRD to share with the division’s social media team and other committees and task forces that handle members related business. The biggest win for the year is that we are organizing our first ever Mentoring Coffee at AEJMC conference in Chicago sponsored by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. Hope to see you at the event in August!

Goals for next year:

  1. Continue to grow our mentoring program
  2. Work on membership outreach among graduate students and potential members
  3. Conduct our annual PRD membership survey and mentoring survey
  4. Provide tips in newsletters for those attending academic conferences for the first time
  5. Continue to organize mentoring gatherings at conferences
  6. Continue to work with other PRD committees on membership related tasks and responsibilities

Top memories from our experience on the committee:

We met on the phone! We had great conversations during the year. It’s been a very fun and productive team.

Any other additional info you feel it is important to share:

Not now, we will share more details and updates at the annual business meeting of the PRD in August.

Fun question! If the committee was named after a pop song (either a current pop song or from anything in the pasts), the committee’s name would be:

Maybe “YMCA” because we’re the awesome membership peeps who encourage diversity of experiences and membership among people who are in the PRD club.




#AEJMC17 Panel Preview: PR History

L: Ivy Ledbetter Lee; R: public relations activism

by Jeffrey Morosoff, Hofstra University

“Public Relations History in the Classroom: Making More Time for Meaning-Making.”

People have been practicing the art of influencing public opinion since the dawn of civilization. By viewing history through the lens of public relations and the development of interpersonal and mass communication, it quickly becomes evident that many events were initiated or influenced through campaigns to sway attitudes and behaviors. From cave paintings to moveable type to Twitter, the underlying skill of influencing opinion is always linked to understanding how people make decisions and take action. By studying the strategies behind the most successful movements of the past — the campaigns that influenced societies to seek independence, adopt new religions, and even start and end wars— we can learn from public relations’ history and better understand how best to build successful PR campaigns today.

The problem is–and it IS a problem–very little about PR history is understood or even known to practitioners, at partly because very little PR history is taught in university classrooms.

On Saturday, August 12 at 9:15 a.m., AEJMC’s Public Relations Division will present “Public Relations History in the Classroom: Making More Time for Meaning-Making.” The panel discussion will feature six seasoned university faculty,  including the founder of the Museum of Public Relations, whose passion for the history of PR will bring into focus the importance of making history relevant to college students.

What is (not) being taught?
Faculty charged with teaching the history of public relations typically relegate their efforts to a single chapter in a textbook and a brief session within a semester. A 2016 survey conducted by Museum of Public Relations Founder Shelley Spector and Dr. Emily Kinsky of West Texas A&M University revealed that while 73 percent of college instructors in schools of communication teach public relations history within an introductory fundamentals course, just 13 percent of their class time is spent on the topic. That’s only three-quarters of teaching using 13 percent of class time to teach PR within just a single course!

When  it is being taught, PR pedagogy is framed in a practical perspective, emphasizing research methods, media relations, crisis communication, reputation management, and traditional and online tools structured to prepare students for the professional workplace. Far less attention is dedicated to public relations as a social science and its impact on history. The most common reasons for the lack of focus on PR history are a lack of resources, low interest, pressure from department heads, and time stresses.

There’s no question of PR’s historical role
Public relations’ techniques and practical applications have been impactful on social, religious, cultural, and political movements since the beginning of recorded history, with direct parallels to the evolution of media technologies. Public relations strategies and propaganda have been used by governments, religious leaders, and influencers around the world to build public consensus and shift attitudes to support distinct military, political, social, and economic goals. PR has a long legacy and its lessons for the 21st century student and practitioner are deep and essential. They need to understand the influence that public relations theories, practices and strategies have formally and informally has had on the shaping of world events, and recognize the role that public relations has played in influencing social movements and cultural shifts around the world.

This panel will focus on PR history pedagogy
While undergraduate and graduate students may have some basic study of the history of public relations in their introductory courses, this panel will make the case that there should be a far deeper and more thorough examination of the parallel development of public relations, understanding of human behavior, and advancements in communication throughout human history. Here’s a synopsis of who they are and what they’ll cover:

  • Shelley Spector, founder of the Museum of Public Relations and instructor at Baruch College in New York, will present the aforementioned revealing 2016 survey conducted with Emily Kinsky of West Texas A&M University, which demonstrated how little time and effort is spent on teaching PR in the classroom.
  • Karen Russell, associate professor of public relations at Grady College, University of Georgia, will look at how textbooks influence our view the PR field, and how women are underrepresented in the literature despite their countless contributions..
  • Denise Hill, assistant professor at the School of Communications, Elon University, will ask and answer, “So why study the past?,” focusing on how the civil rights and other social movements of the 20th century relate to and inform the social movements of today.
  • Burton St. John, associate professor of public relations at Old Dominion University and expert on 20th century PR pioneer Ivy Lee, will discuss how attention should be paid to PR’s history of defining its effectiveness by appealing to individuals’ values.
  • Meg Lamme, professor of public relations at the University of Alabama, will address the questions: In what ways could history aid clarity, perspective, in understanding the PR spectrum playing out now? In what ways could a deeper grounding in PR help students and industry avoid misunderstandings and missteps in perceptions of what PR is–and isn’t?

The distinguished panel discussants were assembled and will be moderated by Jeffrey S. Morosoff, associate professor and director of the graduate program in public relations at Hofstra University. He will share his experience in developing and teaching his first course in PR history this summer, and will work hard to ensure that this panel discussion will be interactive, informative, entertaining, and essential.

#AEJMC17: What to do in Chicago

By Lois Boynton, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

When you’re not soaking up all that knowledge …

Far be it from me to assume anyone wants to break away from the 7 a.m.-midnight activities of the AEJMC conference, but, it’s safe to assume that all work and no play can have some less-than-enjoyable consequences. Here are some ideas that can take you out of the hotel and into the heart of the Windy City.

Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park

What a sight!

I guess you could call Chicago’s Cloud Gate the world’s largest Bean, topping out at 110 tons, 66 feet long and 33 feet tall.  Located in Millennium Park on East Randolph Street, it derived its official name, sculptor Anish Kapoor says, because it reflects the sky.  Tourists enjoy taking photos of themselves beneath the sculpture, which creates distortions like a carnival fun house mirror.

The Tribune Tower is right across Michigan Avenue from the hotel. You are permitted to tour the lobby, which has some beautiful carving work associated with the First Amendment. And, Chicago Architecture blog has catalogued 149 artifacts embedded in the tower that come from the Taj Mahal, the Berlin Wall, Bunker Hill, and more.

Those of us with perennially tired feet can enjoy a walking tour of sorts at the 360 Chicago Observation Deck, 94 floors above North Michigan Avenue. For the thrill-seekers among you, check out TILT, which gives you a face-down view 1,000 feet over Chicago’s skyline.

The Art Institute of Chicago has collections and exhibits for everyone – paintings, sculptures, photography, textiles by artists from around the world.


Like hangin’ out with the animals (other than fellow AEJMC presenters)?  Lincoln Park Zoo showcases the Black-necked Stilt, Japanese Macaque, Kagu and Klipspringer… as well as the more-recognizable beasts like lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Best part has to be that your visit is free. It’s about 3 miles from the hotel.

The Shedd Aquarium is home to 32,000 freshwater and saltwater animals. Tip from the top – buy tickets ahead online, or you’ll face up to 2 hours in line! In addition to the wildlife, Shedd provides the nightlife with Jazzin’ at the Shedd on Wednesday evenings, including Aug. 9.

Take me out to the ballgame

Although last year’s World Series champion Chicago Cubs will be on the road, you might catch a White Sox game against the Houston Astros (Aug. 8-10) or Kansas City Royals (Aug. 11-13) at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 West 35th Street.  Tickets in the outfield upper corners are $7 – take your binoculars! Yes, they have pricier seats, too.

Preseason NFL action pits the Chicago Bears against the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Aug. 10 at Soldier Field, less than 3 miles from the conference hotel. Tickets start at $23 apiece.

If fútbol is more to your liking, the Chicago Fire has a soccer match before AEJMC’s conference gets underway, Aug. 5, against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park, about 16 miles from the hotel. The cheap seats are $26 each.

Bygone days

History buffs will enjoy any number of museums and monuments that Chicago offers:

The Chicago Cultural Center features – among many other things – Chicago Landmarks Before the Lens, an exhibit of dozens of the city’s attractions. It’s located less than a mile from the conference hotel at 78 E. Washington Street. Or, perhaps you are not as lazy as I am and would like to check out landmarks in-person…

Two monuments that may capture your attention:  the Monument to the Great Migration  (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. & 26th Place, less than 4 miles from the hotel) commemorates the journeys innumerable African Americans made from the South in the early 1900s, and the Victory Monument (35th Street and King Drive, 5 miles from the hotel), which honors African American veterans of the Great War (WWI).

Who knew? The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has a Money Museum on South LaSalle Street. No charge to visit, although I don’t think they provide any freebies.

You’ll need to take a cab or public transportation south less than 10 miles to visit the DuSable Museum of African American History, the country’s first African American museum. Tickets are $10 to tour exhibits about African American experiences.

Out(doors) and about

There are several river cruise offerings – Chicago Traveler provides info on many.

The century-old Navy Pier on East Grand Avenue is less than 2 miles from the hotel, a good walk for the hale and hardy.  Visit Navy Pier Park, take a high-riser ride on the Centennial Ferris Wheel and check out various events – among them, summer fireworks displays on Saturday and Wednesday evenings. There are a variety of restaurants, too, including Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co., City PorchRiva Crabhouse.

And speaking of eating…

Food, glorious food

Seems like everyone I asked recommended The Purple Pig restaurant, located at 500 N. Michigan Avenue. Its menu, the website says, features “cheese, swine and wine” that incorporate Italian, Greek and Spanish flavors.

Also close by is Chicago Eataly that includes a collection of restaurants, counters and markets inspired by chef Mario Batali.

You can’t go to Chicago without having deep-dish pizza… and pizzerias abound! Foursquare Lists showcases 11 that get rave reviews.

For a Chicago hot dog (skip the catsup!), see Chicago Eater. The wiener connoisseur, frankly, will want to take in the Chicago Hot Dog Fest in Lincoln Park, Aug. 11-13. And, save some dough by purchasing Dog Dollars (Yep… you can’t make that up!) in advance. Proceeds support the Chicago History Museum, another stop on your to-do list.


There are SO many possibilities for concerts, shows and theatre productions that I couldn’t begin to ID them all here, or Dean would fire me!  I’ve highlighted a few below – see the Chicago events calendar for more.

We lucked out this year – Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia continues its run in Chicago through Aug. 20 at the United Center on West Madison Street.  Tickets start at $35.

Watch movies under the stars at Millennium Park, on East Randolph Street. The 40-foot screen will show Ghost and The Shining on Aug. 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m. No charge!

The Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park has concerts featuring traditional Mexican folk music on Aug. 9, and Tchaikovsky on Aug. 11 and 12. The summer music series will feature music steeped in Senegal and Syrian cultures. Continue your cultural infusion with the Ginza Holiday Japanese festival and Festival Cubano, both held Aug. 11-13.

It’s a little over a mile from the hotel to the Adler Planetarium. A $12 general admission ticket opens the door to various exhibits as well as Cosmic Wonder and other shows.

Whew – there are zillions of opportunities. And, just about as many info sites. Here are a few:

Enjoy! Oh, and maybe you should attend a few research presentations and the PRD luncheon and social, too! Just sayin’.




#AEJMC17: PRD Schedule Snapshot

By Richard Waters, University of San Francisco

Tuesday, August 8, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: PRD will host a preconference on working with media and developing trust with stakeholders in an environment clouded with fake news and alternative facts. The preconference is sponsored by the Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, and we are co-hosting it with the Mass Communication & Society Division.

Wednesday, August 9, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Past Heads Luncheon and the Graduate Student Luncheon.

Wednesday, August 9, 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: The five winning PRD GIFTS will be presented during a High Density session with our top five Teaching Paper competition winners.

Thursday, August 10, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Off-site tour will take place at the Art Institute of Chicago (registration required).

Friday, August 11, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.: a combined outgoing and incoming officers meeting will take place for all PRD committees and leadership team.  These meetings are being combined to allow people to share ideas about what worked in the previous year in an easier manner with those who are joining committees or taking on news roles.

Friday, August 11, 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.: the PRD business meeting will be held.  The move to a morning  meeting is in response to member feedback about not being able to attend other divisions’ business meetings and socials scheduled at the same time when we had evening business meetings.

Friday, August 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Bill Adams/Edelman luncheon. Currently full, with waiting list.

Friday, August 11, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: PRD social will be held with more drink and food options than any other event in the history of PRD events.  If you or your school is interested in sponsoring or attending the social, please contact Amanda Kennedy at

Saturday, August 12, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: PRD is sponsoring an old fashioned ethics debate with the Media Ethics Division.  Two teams will debate the ethics of advocacy for organizations, and a panel of judges will announce the winner after a Q&A with the audience.

All of these events are in addition to the 7 panels already announced; the top research paper panel featuring the top 3 open competition papers plus the winners of the Newsom Award and History Award; the top student research paper high density session being held in conjunction with the top student research paper winners from the Advertising Division; and two scholar-to-scholar poster sessions.