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Student Achievement Chris McCauley April 12, 2023

Pictured left to right: Nathan Anderson (PRSCA/PRSSA at UAB Presiden), Ann Marie Stephens, Dylan Baggiano, Sam Adams, and Sam Pugh.Pictured left to right: Nathan Anderson (PRSCA/PRSSA at UAB Presiden), Ann Marie Stephens, Dylan Baggiano, Sam Adams, and Sam Pugh.The Public Relations Council of Alabama and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRCA/PRSSA) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham won Outstanding Student Organization at the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement’s UAB Student Excellence Awards Ceremony on April 1, 2023.

PRCA/PRSSA at UAB is a student-led organization open to students across campus who are interested in public relations. The organization conducts workshops, hosts networking events and guest speakers, and offers service-based learning in the community. The student group is an extension of the public relations academic program in the Department of Communication Studies.

The organization won the award for their effective and strategic support for Better Basics, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that works to eradicate illiteracy among children in Central Alabama. PRCA/PRSSA at UAB chapter members Dylan Baggiano, Anaya Yoakum, and Ann Marie Stephens formed Parma Public Relations (Parma PR) and—in partnership with Better Basics—established goals to increase community outreach to college students, develop public relations materials, create and update policy documents, and foster media relations.

The students were able to realize these goals by supporting a Better Basics event titled "Blazers Read.” PRCA/PRSSA at UAB students crafted a press release, engaged with media, and assisted staff by recruiting volunteers and taking photos of the event for Better Basics’ social media channels.

"It is our honor for our organization to receive this prestigious award,” said Baggiano, team leader for Parma PR and Vice President of Award Submissions for PRCA/PRSSA at UAB. “This organization is committed to serving our community. Our work for Better Basics this year has allowed our team to not only practice the skills we have learned but live the high principles instilled in us as ethical professionals and graduates of UAB.”

Jacquelyn S. Shaia, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and faculty advisor for the chapter, has led the program since 2016 and mentored the students throughout the duration of the project.

“This student group is committed to not only following—but embodying—the UAB values which include service to our community,” said Shaia. “I am so proud of these students and particularly of the professional public relations campaign they developed and delivered for Better Basics.”

You can learn more about the PR program and UAB PRCA/PRSSA by visiting the Department of Communication Studies website.

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