UTSA students receive national PR award

By Steven Levitt
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication

(May 2, 2007)--UTSA communication students Jessica Aguilar, Ariane Etemadi, Dana Hooker, Michelle McClain, and Ashley Solomonreceived honorable mention in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Bateman Case Study Competition. It is the fourth time in six years that UTSA students received the award.

Sixty-four teams from across the nation participated in this year's competition with three teams receiving top honors. UTSA's team placed honorable mention with 13 other teams including Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, University of Florida, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee and Washington State University.

The schools are known nationally and internationally for their top-rated public relations programs. A group of 22 judges convened in New York April 14-15 to review the entries and select the finalists and honorable mentions.

Ali Kanso El-Ghori, UTSA professor and academic adviser for the team, said, "I am delighted that our students' hard work and expertise as young public relations practitioners is being recognized outside the state. UTSA's public relations program has only been participating in national competitions such as this for six years. With the Bateman judges again presenting an award to our students for the fourth time is indicative that we are on the right track. This is the equivalent of having a .667 batting average in baseball. All of us can be proud that UTSA's public relations faculty and its students are among the top in the country.

In addition to sponsoring and supporting the Bateman teams, communication students established this year a student-run PR firm with a local client's campaign underway and other client prospects pending, provided several professional development opportunities for students, provided PR experience for chapter members through numerous fundraising and other special events.

Since 1973, the National Bateman Case Study Competition has given college students the opportunity to apply their skills in a real-world public relations campaign, exercising the analytical skills and judgment required for public relations problem-solving. The sponsor for this year's competition was Eisai Inc., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, and the clients were the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving. The competing teams were charged to develop and implement a public relations campaign that would effectively raise awareness of family caregiver issues and enlighten family caregivers about available resources for help.

PRSSA is a pre-professional organization comprised of 285 chapters and more than 9,600 students nationwide. The organization helps to enhance students' knowledge of public relations while providing access to professional development opportunities.

For more information, visit the PRSSA Bateman competition Web site.

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