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Public Relations Students Take on Clients and Gain Experience

The photo shows a computer screen with 11 Kean alumni and Prof. Sullivan engaging in a critique of the undergraduates public relations campaigns.

Kean students are creating public relations campaigns for clients in business, the arts and more as a way to build career skills and develop professional networks through their classwork.

The Public Relations Campaigns course, taught by Executive Director of the School of Communication, Media and Journalism Jeremiah Sullivan, also gives students feedback from Kean alumni who are now working in PR.

“The students align themselves with a client and self-select a team to plan an original and comprehensive PR campaign applicable for today and tomorrow,” Sullivan said. “The course is designed to provide as much real-world, hands-on experiential learning as our students will get prior to graduation, outside of acquiring an internship.”

Sullivan creates a list of clients interested in working with his students, then the class is broken into eight teams of two or three students. Each team chooses a client and creates a PR campaign for them.

Students also hold virtual meetings with Kean alumni to gain constructive feedback on their work.

“I can really appreciate Professor Sullivan's efforts in wanting to connect his students to those in the field today,” said Korin Fernandez, who is the executive director at Wagstaff Media & Marketing, and now provides feedback to students. “As an undergrad, I valued any opportunity to get some facetime with experienced professionals. I was happy to help!” 

The students take part in Zoom meetings, develop creative ideas, and work with clients to put them into action. 

“I have learned how to reach out and negotiate with different parties regarding the campaign. I feel as though my organizational and professional communication skills have really improved,” said Chiara Dragone, a marketing major who is working with the Rahway Arts & Business Partnership. Their campaign will include an ice cream competition with a Rahway elementary school; the winning ice cream flavor will be featured at Melao Cafe & Creamery, located in Rahway. 

She said the alumni one-on-one feedback meetings have granted her a better understanding of the public relations field and how to navigate job opportunities. 

The alumni are just as excited to work with the Kean students. “These students have fantastic ideas and I see them doing terrific things,” said Sarah Snyder ‘18, the marketing manager for the Union County Performing Arts Center. 

Sullivan said he hopes to continue teaching this class and granting his students avenues to explore public relations and cultivate networks in the field.