PRSSA judges selected Andrea Casali as this year’s recipient of my mentorship scholarship, and I was able to meet this future leader of our profession during last week’s national conference in Indianapolis.
A senior public relations major at Illinois State University, Andrea wisely joined PRSSA during her freshman year where she played an active role throughout her college career. She is director of the chapter’s student-run PR firm, and she was the chapter’s national liaison for 2015-16. Andrea also participated in ISU’s chapters of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Lambda Pi Eta honors association for communication. For the past three years, she has served as a social media intern and office assistant for the university’s Marketing and Communications office.
Andrea told me she knew she wanted to go into public relations when she arrived on campus, and her professors confirm such early awareness and active involvement are both unusual and beneficial to future career success.
PRSSA Chapter Adviser and Professor Pete Smudde says Andrea “exhibits a penchant for creative and effective solutions to public relations problems.” He notes she loves PR because of the vital role practitioners play in establishing and maintaining strong relationships between organizations and their publics.
Tracy Widergren, assistant director of operations for ISU Marketing and Communications, describes attributes that make Andrea a “turn-to” member of her team. Tracy says Andrea projects a positive image and attitude at all times. “Andrea has mapped out her college plan with one goal in mind: to position herself as a sought-after and skilled public relations professional,” Tracy explains. “She has sought out positions in our office and on campus that have given her the opportunity to build upon her skills in the areas of copywriting, social media and event planning/promotion while using skills she has already built in the areas of client relations/customer service, problem solving and innovative thinking.” Other faculty and friends also also describe her as a consummate team member, and role-model mentor for younger students.