Each year, PRSA NJ recognizes an undergraduate student who demonstrates an understanding of and commitment to the public relations profession. Candidates must be members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) preparing for careers in public relations, and in their junior or senior year of undergraduate studies. Judging criteria includes demonstrated leadership, essay perspective and writing ability, commitment to the field, and practical experience.
This year we asked students to submit an essay addressing how to create a communications plan for a local, non-profit environmental association based in North Dakota looking to directly impact policies relative to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), positioning it as an organization at the forefront of opposition. A highly publicized controversy such as DAPL often focuses on commentary from large, nationally-recognized thought leaders and organizations – not smaller, grassroots associations.
Cynthia Huasipoma, a 2017 candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Montclair State University (MSU) who holds a 3.86 GPA, addressed the challenge head-on. Understanding the need for broader recognition, Cynthia offered a two-fold approach: (1) A partnership with EarthJustice, which helps organizations combat against wrongful environmental legislation, to develop a case study on DAPL’s negative impact and distribute to national media outlets and government officials on Capitol Hill, and (2) Leverage the association’s grassroots history and create a pop-up booth at Standing Rock to directly interact with protestors, creating a video of first-hand interviews that can be distributed to broadcast stations.
With a resume already full of pre-professional experience including internships with Viacom, the Axis Agency, Weber Shandwick, and 3E Public Relations, as well as her volunteer experience with the Public Relations Student Society of America and the New York Women in Communications Incorporated, Cynthia strives to be a model professional in the industry through ethical practices and counsel, stressing that the need for public relations is higher than ever before.
Cynthia’s enthusiasm for and commitment to our profession makes us confident she will achieve her goal of becoming an executive vice president for an award-winning agency.
Thank you to our Award Sponsor Tartaglia Communications.