The Public Relations Society of America’s Greater Salt Lake Chapter has chosen Amy Fiscus, a Weber State University public relations major, as the 2012 Utah PR Student of the Year. Fiscus won
$1,000, a trophy and an internship with the charity People Helping People.
For the contest, Fiscus had to create a public relations plan proposal for People Helping People.
“My campaign was just really focused on solid strategies and tactics to help them to reach their campaign goal,” Fiscus said.
Fiscus said she originally entered the competition to get hands-on experience, but said she also wanted to know where she stood in her skills in comparison to other students. She said she was also hoping for job opportunities, and during the award dinner, she had people come up to her and give her their business cards.
“I feel like it has helped me to get my name out there and to make connections with people that are working in the industry that I would like to work in,” Fiscus said.
After graduation, Fiscus said, she would like to work in a marketing job, but she would like to work in a public relations field, either with an agency or a corporation.
Two people were selected as finalists: Fiscus and a student from Utah State University. The two of them did a live competition on Nov. 3, where they presented their plans in front of a panel of judges. They also had to do a timed press release writing test, pitch a story to a reporter, and respond to a mock crisis situation.
“It was pretty intense,” Fiscus said. “I was really nervous before the competition, but once I got there, it was a really good experience.”
The judges consisted of public relations professionals and the director of People Helping People.
“It was very solid from top to bottom,” said Jason Carlton, one of the judges. about Fiscus’ project. “She had very specific audiences and very specific tasks for those audiences.”
Fiscus said she thinks her project might have stood out because it had solid strategies and tactics. She also said it was important to recognize that the nonprofit organization has not had a lot of public relations experience.
“I think for them to get started, they really needed a plan that was achievable,” Fiscus said.
Carlton said a great project keeps the client’s needs in mind. He said some of the projects were creative, but did not fit the clients. Participants also needed to take budget into consideration when creating their projects. Nonprofit organizations do not have a lot of money, which means the contestants had to be more creative.
Carlton, a WSU graduate, was the one who started the competition.
“I thought it would be fun to put together a student competition,” he said.
The event was originally a WSU competition, but after a year, it was made into a state one.
The competition was open to all public relations undergraduate students in Utah. This is the second year in a row that a WSU student has won the competition.
“As a Weber State graduate, to see Weber State has produced two strong candidates makes me proud,” Carlton said.