Belmont PRSSA Receives National Awards

One of more than 300 chapters nationally, the Belmont Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America received two national awards at the 2012 PRSSA National Conference, held Oct. 12-16 in San Francisco. Belmont students brought home four national student awards.

Belmont's PRSSA chapterBelmont PRSSA received the Outstanding Regional Conference Award for the PRSSA Region 5 Conference held on campus March 30 and 31, attracting 125 students from 14 chapters in several states. The award specifically recognizes the overall benefit the conference gives to PRSSA members. The Chapter was commended for planning and executing a conference with speakers including public relations professionals from the Dallas Cowboys, HGTV, Cracker Barrel, Cision, IBM and Bonnaroo.

The Chapter also received a fourth PRSSA Star Chapter Award, presented annually since 2009 to recognize a handful of chapters meeting 10 criteria of excellence including ethics advocacy, chapter development and community service.

Katie Siklosi and Olivia Gagnon, Belmont PRSSA immediate past president and vice president, respectively, received PRSSA National Presidential Citations in recognition for having left “a lasting mark on the Society through their exceptional contributions to PRSSA at the Chapter and National level.”

Siklosi and Michelle Ward, chapter secretary in 2009-2011, received the PRSSA National Gold Key Award, presented to students  who excel in their academic study of public relations, have pursued ambitious professional development opportunities and are leaders in their PRSSA Chapter.

“Our student  leadership is outstanding, continuing to build on a tradition that began here even before I came to Belmont in 2006,” said Bonnie Riechert, faculty advisor to the chapter and chair of the department of public relations. “Hosting the regional conference, one of 10 PRSSA regional conferences held in 2012, was the most ambitious effort the chapter has undertaken. Our students demonstrated incredible vision, teamwork, creativity and professionalism in this.”

Belmont chapter members attending the national conference were Makenzie Albracht, Julie Bloom, Andy Cole, Mary Claire Couch, Lexi Ferrell, Gagnon, Leslie Lawler, Mysti Meese, Arielle Schrader, Siklosi and Ward. Susan Barnes, faculty member in the department of public relations, also attended the conference.

PRSSA is made up of more than 10,000 students and advisers organized into 300 plus chapters in the United States and one in Argentina. It is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. PRSSA is supported by parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America , which offers professional development, networking opportunities and news. The Belmont Chapter of PRSSA is sponsored by Nashville PRSA.

Chapter officers are Cole, president; Gagnon, vice president; Albracht, secretary; Dennis Vorreyer, treasurer; Schrader, public relations officer; and Juliann Grill, historian.


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Ranked No. 7 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the sixth consecutive year as one of the top “Up-and-Comer” universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of more than 6,900 students who come from every state and more than 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, a fact made evident in the University’s hometown, Nashville, where students, faculty and staff served more than 243,000 hours of community service (valued at more than $5 million) during 2012. With more than 80 areas of undergraduate study, 22 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon.
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