Member Spotlight: Heidi Wilson
Heidi Wilson is the interim chairperson and public relations instructor in the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University (VUU). She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from VUU and a master’s degree in strategic public relations from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked as a public relations professional for eight years and is credited with establishing VUU’s new public relations sequence. Her top public relations resources are the Associated Press Stylebook and Effective Public Relations by Glen M. Broom and Bey-Ling Sha.
What do you enjoy most about being a public relations practitioner? I enjoy the innovation and creativity that the public relations profession allows, watching an entire plan come together, building relationships with various people and teaching students about all the specialty areas and opportunities within the public relations profession.
What three accomplishments, personal and/or professional, you are most proud of? I am most proud of (1.) being an active role model and mentor to my niece, Paris, who aspires to one day become a journalist, (2.) teaching and mentoring the next generation of journalists and public relations practitioners; developing a new public relations sequence at Virginia Union University and introducing more strategic courses to the mass communications curriculum and (3.) planning the first Mass Communications Week event at Virginia Union University and graduating the first group of PR students at Virginia Union University on May 7, 2016.
How does PRSA help to support your success? PRSA helps my success by providing a variety of resources and opportunities for my students to be successful. Some of these resources include a student relations committee that is very hands on, scholarships, job shadowing programs, mentors and Student Connections Week, where students are connected with professionals from the chapter. PRSA members never hesitate to offer their support and service. Many members have visited my classroom and have posed as clients so that my students can receive real world work experiences. Last year, many PRSA members supported my student’s Shoe Rally fundraiser campaign where students raised funds to implement an entire week of educational activities. In addition, PRSA sponsored our student social, which kicked off our Mass Communications Week event.
What is one of your favorite take-aways from the chapter or best recent memory from your involvement? My most recent memory is watching one of my students receive a public relations scholarship award from The Richmond Public Relations Foundation at one of the monthly luncheons. She was the first student from Virginia Union University to win this award after implementing the new public relations sequence back in 2014 and witnessing all of her hard work as she advanced through the program. That was a very proud moment.
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