Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview with PPRA's Brodey Award Winner: Rachel Santella

 At PPRA's Annual Meeting, Drexel graduate Rachel Santella was honored with the Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award. Get to know Rachel a little better in the interview below.

1. What was your reaction to winning the 2011 Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award?

Knowing how prestigious this award is I was so excited and really surprised.  It was a great ending to my college experience and culminates everything I’ve worked for while at Drexel.

2. How has your experience at PECO helped you with your studies at Drexel?

PECO really helped to exemplify everything I was learning in the classroom.  It added a whole different level of knowledge and experience that I couldn’t have gotten through just a class setting.  Being a full-time co-op and then becoming a part-time intern with PECO for over a year and a half has allowed me to really learn about the company and their communications strategies, so when we were learning about media tactics or dealing with press in class, I was able to compare that to how I saw it done at PECO and the experiences I already had.

3. How are you hoping to use your collegiate experiences to develop into a full-time PR professional?

I’m hoping to take away and apply everything I’ve acquired over the last few years.  I want to use every facet of knowledge I’ve received.  In addition to practices and skills in public relations that I’ve learned, I also gained knowledge and understanding in valuable things like patience and work management, which I know will help me do well moving into a full-time PR position. 

4. What advice can you give students who are working on academic studies, internships, and pre-professional organizations like you did?

Do as much as possible, but be careful not to overdo it.  I’ve always been the type of person that gets involved with a million things at once and then ends up running myself ragged.  When I came to Drexel I knew I wanted to be involved, but wasn’t sure at what level, so I started out small and worked my way into things.  I chose student orgs that I was interested in and used them as a kind of release from school and work, which turned out really well for me and kept me balanced.  

Internships are so vital and I can’t thank Drexel enough for the co-op program. I really lucked out in getting three great co-ops and the chance to meet and work with amazing people.  As a college student, I don’t think we’re always thinking of the future and how competitive and difficult the business world is really going to be.  Internships can give a good glimpse into that world and can set you up for what’s to come.

5. What are you most excited for, post-graduation?

To just be able to do what I enjoy doing everyday. I feel like I was always kind of teased with the co-op program.  I’d always hate the transition back to class right after having worked for six months, which I think made me much more career-focused.  I’m lucky in that I graduated knowing what I want to do. 

I’m also very excited to be done with 15 page papers and all-nighters that’s for sure!

6. How are you hoping to get more involved with PPRA?
I want to learn as much as I can about the organization right now and want to get more and more involved as my knowledge grows.  I look forward to a long and fun future with the PPRA.

This interview was coordinated by Melissa Marsili.  Melissa is a 2010 Temple University graduate now working in marketing at a non-profit organization in Center City, Philadelphia.  As Newsletter Chair for PPRA, Melissa works to gather interesting and helpful information for the monthly newsletter.  You can find Melissa on Twitter or on LinkedIn.


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