College has PRWeek student finalist for third straight year

presentation discussionIn what is becoming an annual tradition for SUNY Oswego students, Doug Rusinek was one of only five national finalists for the PRWeek Student of the Year competition.

Rusinek’s achievement marks the third straight year SUNY Oswego has had at least one participant among the final five. Oswego students Nora Abdelnabi and Corey Lemon were among last year’s finalists in the prestigious competition, while Melissa Andrews and Leila Boukassi reached that level in 2007.

The competition starts in individual public relations classes around the country, including Tina Pieraccini’s “Advanced Public Relations” course at Oswego. While she submits all entries, Pieraccini had a feeling Rusinek’s campaign for this year’s client, Adidas, had a good chance.

“Doug worked hard on polishing his campaign and showed a command of the client and client needs in his entry,” said Pieraccini, a communication studies professor.

At this year’s finals, Feb. 2 and 3 in New York City, Rusinek pitched his campaign proposal to Hill & Knowlton public relations executives. The task for the campaign was to create an integrated PR program for Adidas to use to build authenticity and relevance for the brand in basketball for the 2009 NBA All-Star week.

While did not place first in the finals, Rusinek said he definitely learned and benefited from the opportunity.

“The experience was interesting,” said Rusinek, a senior public relations major from Lancaster. “I think it really helped me see the areas I need improvement in and the judges’ notes will ultimately help me succeed.”

Each year, the five students selected pitch a campaign they create for various clients followed by crisis-solving situations using public relations techniques. The other four student finalists this year represented the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina, Oklahoma State University and California State University at Fullerton.

The winner of the competition receives a $5,000 cash award, a paid internship with competition sponsors Hill & Knowlton and a paid trip to the annual PRWeek Awards ceremony in New York City on May 5.  One runner-up earns a $1,000 cash award and internship with Hill & Knowlton.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Finalist thoughts—SUNY Oswego senior public relations major Doug Rusinek, one of only five national student finalists for the PRWeek Student of the Year competition, discusses his campaign with communication studies professor Tina Pieraccini. This was the third straight year Oswego has had at least one participant among the final five in the prestigious public relations competition.

(Posted: Feb 19, 2009)

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