Friday, April 22, 2011

Student Spotlight : PPRA Associate Member Joe Rapczynski

Joe Rapczynski is a new PPRA Associate Member who is about to embark on his first internship in public relations.  He is a junior at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., where he is co-captain of the men’s basketball team and a student worker in the sports information department.  I sat down with Joe (who also happens to be my brother!) to learn a little more about what it is like to be a student gearing up to trade in his basketball uniform for the working-world staple of business casual attire. 

What made you join PPRA?

I joined for the opportunities to learn from and network with public relations representatives in the area.  As a student who is close to graduating and moving on to the “real world,” my professors and mentors stress that we should take any chances we may get to learn.  As a member of PPRA, I have access to events such as “Careers 101” that have given me an advantage coming out of college.

What was your Careers 101 experience?

I picked up small, but useful, pieces of information from recent college graduates now working in the field, such as how to get started with an internship, advantages and disadvantages of a small agency versus a corporate atmosphere and the importance of social media.  It was also great to meet other students pursuing careers in PR. 

What made you choose Communications as a major?

Communications is a broad major that covers a wide variety of industries.  Coming out of high school, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to study.  My friends and family always said I was a good writer, so I figured, “why not”?  As I took the Communication courses, I enjoyed the course material and class discussions and gained a passion for the field.  After a few more focused courses, I realized I wanted to go into public relations. 

How do you balance school work with working in the sports information office and being on the basketball team? 
It is tough at times, but my coach and the sports information director stress school work first and always understand the life of a student-athlete.  My coach gives us the practice schedule months in advance, which helps me manage my time efficiently.  Luckily, the SID allows me to come in during my free time in between school and basketball to finish my writing.  However, my coach, SID and professors never let me forget that school comes first.

This blog post was written by PPRA President Beth Archer.  Beth is a Senior Account Manager at Anne Klein Communications Group in Mount Laurel, N.J., where she works with clients in the utility, healthcare and higher education industries.  She had her first internship when clips where still clipped out of a newspaper. Connect with Beth on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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