Student Connections: Meet Mama-U Addy, VCU PRSSA President
PRSA Richmond sponsors a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at James Madison University, Longwood University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. PRSA Richmond works with those institutions, as well as other area colleges with communications programs, to help enrich the educational experiences of those studying to enter the field.
This series introduces the next generation of PR professionals. Interested in learning more about how you can help support students? Have a student you think should be featured? Email Sarah Murphy, PRSA Richmond Student Relations Chair, at email@example.com.
Name: Mama-U Addy
University: Virginia Commonwealth University
Major: Mass Communications/Public Relations
PRSSA Role: President
What do you enjoy about the field of public relations?
I enjoy the broadness of the field. There are many things a public relations student/professional can get their hands on, such as digital communications, social media and event planning. We don’t necessarily have to be experts in each of them, but they definitely come in handy.
Why did you decide to join PRSSA and how has the relationship been beneficial to you?
I joined PRSSA because I was new to PR and wanted to get involved as much as I could. I wanted to gain professional experience and meet other people who shared the same career interests as I did. PRSSA has definitely been beneficial to me. I’ve met so many people through networking and learned a lot about the field so far.
The field of public relations is constantly shifting to accommodate new trends, technology and new generations. What are some ways you think public relations will change in the coming years?
I think public relations is evolving to be closely aligned with marketing and other similar fields. I think in the next few years there will not be a clear defining line separating the two. If we go to certain agencies now, they are offering more than just PR. Some agencies offer the whole package: digital PR, advertising, media relations, etc.
For those of us who are a few years removed from college, give us some insight into how students today communicate with one another and how they generally prefer to be communicated to.
From my perspective and those I’ve witnessed, I’d say students like to communicate through phone. It may seem like a no-brainer, but we are using our phone for everything now…to take surveys and polls, go live on social media, watch other live stories. Personally, I prefer texting over talking on the phone. It gets straight to the point and, sad to say, in some situations, it avoids in-person interactions.
If you could hand-pick your dream job, what would it be and why?
My dream job would be to own a marketing/event planning company doing product launches, marketing and planning events for top brands and celebrities. I love planning and not only giving people what they want but showcasing who they are and what they stand for. If I did that everyday, I would be very happy.
How can PRSA Richmond and its members help you achieve your professional goals?
I want to be a corporate event planner and I have yet to meet someone in PRSA who does something along those lines. I’m sure there are people, I just have not crossed paths with them. So, for me, I would enjoy having discussions or events with people who don’t just do PR as a profession, but their career lines up with it. This would give students the opportunity to get a different perspective of what a PR major can do with their degree rather than just work for an agency or in a PR department.
Outside of PR and PRSSA, are there any other ways you’re involved on campus? What kinds of hobbies do you have?
I am a member of a Christian ministry on campus called New E.R.A. (elevation, revelation, application). We started this organization a little over a year ago. I serve as the social media chair. I also started an at-home hair business, Heavenly Hands, so I could practice a hobby while getting paid for it!
Anything else we should know about you or that you would like to share?
I recently had the opportunity to represent my chapter as a delegate at the 2018 PRSSA National Assembly in Miami over spring break. We voted on our new National Committee and participated in chapter development sessions. I participated in the Day of Competition, sponsored by rbb Communications, where I pitched a case study to an actual client, the Adrienne Arsht Center, with a group of other delegates. I learned so much about PRSSA and took home valuable tips and ideas to further develop our chapter at VCU.