Networking and Mentoring Leads to PR Experience

 In this student spotlight, we spoke with Laura DeMartino, a Junior PRSSA student at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

When did you know Communications was the right field for you?

Throughout high school I never had problems speaking in front of a crowd, in fact I was vice president of class council my freshman year and president my sophomore year. I had no trouble informing my classmates of upcoming events and fundraisers we'd be holding. Going into my senior year I worked frequently on my school's yearbook. There I interviewed many students about popular stories, current events and the various varsity sport teams. I used many of my skills on yearbook, including video editing, reporting and writing. I knew I wanted to go into a field that involved all of these skills when I was applying to college.

Originally I was enrolled in the RIT Film and Animation program, but I knew I wanted something more, a major that I could work directly with people one on one and communicate effectively with these people. Public relations came to me as the answer, and ever since the rest has been history.

What's your favorite part about being in RIT's PRSSA chapter?

Being a part of PRSSA has been a huge blessing to me. RIT's chapter is a small tight knit family of PR passionate students. Beginning my freshman year in the chapter I remember sitting in the student alumni union handing out samples of a new protein shake called Svelte. This was my first taste of promoting something on campus, and I thought it was so cool!

Now as a junior in PRSSA I have had many more opportunities, including networking events with PR professionals in the Rochester area and attending the regional conference at Penn State. I love networking with other chapters in the area as well, it gives me a glimpse on how other schools' chapters are run.

Can you tell us about your internship at The Harley School?

Working at The Harley School was great for me as my first ever internship. I worked with Aimee Lewis who has so much knowledge about the public relations field and background expertise on what makes for great communication strategies. She was the best mentor I could have asked for because of how similar and like minded we are.

I chose a good year to intern (2013-2014) as The Commons, a self sustained and eco-friendly building, was opening up. This made for many great news release opportunities and even some video editing on my part. I made two videos for the website including a time-lapse of the building being created, as well as a time-lapse of pea pods growing within The Common's greenhouse. Overall my internship was a great learning experience for me in a great school that does so much for this community.

What do you think about the local Rochester PR community in general?

Picking RIT was a smart choice on my part because of the great opportunities the Rochester PR community provides. I never knew just how many PR firms, in house PR teams, and possible PR jobs there were in this area until I started the networking process. Ever since then I've met so many PR professionals who have given me some of the best advice I've ever heard about how to personally brand myself in this industry.

What is your dream PR job?

My DREAM job would be to work on the PR team at ESPN or work one on one with an NFL team. My love for sports PR is a driving force for me, but it is not the only branch of PR I am interested in. I enjoy health, travel, food, and hospitality PR, as well as the idea of working in an agency.

Where should people connect with you online?

If you want to connect with me online you can add me as a contact on LinkedIn! I am always open to new connections with people in my field.

**Editor's Note: Aimee Lewis is a mentor in PRSA Rochester's Advisory Network. Click here to learn more about PRSA Rochester's Advisory Network, and click here to register.

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