by Laura Maginley
Fully versed in time management, Gina Masciantonio, a junior speech communication: public relations major, is vice president of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), a communications intern at the University and involved in Civic and Community Engagement and Research Project.
You’ve been a speech communication: public relations major since your freshman year. How did you know that this is what you wanted to do so early on?
I knew I wanted to do something in communications but was still indecisive on my option. During an orientation session, the president of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) approached me and suggested I should come to a meeting. I joined the organization after only my second week of college and fell in love with public relations. From there I went on to taking the first out of four public relations classes as only a second semester student and was also elected as the youngest executive board member for PRSSA as secretary.
What do you think is a common stereotype among public relations majors that is totally not true?
A common stereotype for communication majors in general is that it’s an easy major, when in reality it is the complete opposite. But I personally don’t believe that an easy major exists in college.
Tell us about your recent trip to San Francisco for the national PRSSA conference.
This year’s trip to conference was an amazing experience. Receiving the “Star Chapter Award” to start off our trip was so rewarding. Just knowing that all of our hard work was paying off and getting nationally recognized was so exciting. Listening to keynote addresses with top entrepreneurs such as the co-founder of Twitter was one of my personal favorite parts. I also attended a wide-range of sessions that covered every industry of PR, which was beneficial. I want to get into healthcare communications after college and was able to talk to the speaker one-on-one afterwards. Through this opportunity I now know how I will be able to accomplish my goal to succeed in the industry. Attending the job fair was also a once in a lifetime experience. Being able to personally hand my resume to the internship recruiter from Edelman Public Relations and receiving her personal information was a surreal experience. The networking opportunities that I encountered during this trip were priceless. It was great to meet people who love PR just as much as I do, while also making friends that will be life-long.
What was the most important piece of information you learned from the conference that you’re going to try and implement in MU’s own chapter of PRSSA?
We heard a lot of great ideas from other chapters that we hope to implement this year including creating a point system to help motivate all our members to become more active in PRSSA activities.
You’re involved in several different organizations on campus, in addition to interning with the Director of Communications. How do you handle everything?!
Time management is definitely key. I have everything planned out in my agenda and make a list almost every day of what I need to get accomplished. It also helps that I absolutely love everything I am involved in. If you’re passionate enough about what you do, it doesn’t seem like work!
Tell us about the upcoming MU Idol competition.
The second annual MU Idol, which will be held on November 27, is a friendly competition where each performer will have the chance to sing their favorite songs for a chance to win a cash prize. I encourage anyone who enjoys singing or performing to come out and join the competition. Last year was a huge success and a lot of fun!
Sometimes you need to jump into the position of “host” for an event. Do you prefer to be an “in the spotlight” or “behind the scenes” kind of person?
I prefer to be behind the scenes because I like knowing everything is being under control and running smoothly.
How important would you say internships and involvement are? As opposed to just solely completing class work.
Being involved on campus and getting as much internship experience as you can are the most important parts of your college career. It’s how you take what you learn in your classes and know how to apply it in real-life situations. Organizations build leadership, commitment, public speaking skills and life-long friends. Internships allow you to find out which industry is right for you. You’re allowed to make mistakes as an intern so it’s how you learn. Also, the networking opportunities that you experience in internships and organizations will potentially lead to multiple job opportunities when you graduate.
What do you see yourself doing after graduation?
I hope to work in health care public relations for a health care facility.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I spend time with my family and close friends anytime I get the chance. I also love to read!