PRSSA, the foremost organization for students interested in the public relations and communications fields, announced that the University of San Francisco and Vanguard University will establish PRSSA Chapters at their institutions. The pair of California universities marks 26 schools affiliated with PRSSA in the state and join nearly 375 PRSSA Chapters worldwide.
“California has a strong roster of PRSSA Chapters across the state and we’re excited to grow our presence there with the addition of the University of San Francisco and Vanguard University,” said Jeneen Garcia, Senior Vice President, Programs, PRSA. “Even though we are still living through very challenging times, it is comforting to know that our PRSSA Chapters can provide some sense of connection between our students.”
The University of San Francisco Chapter will be supported by the PRSA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter while Vanguard University will be supported by PRSA Orange County, helping foster student and professional connections by providing speakers, networking opportunities, career mentoring and other benefits.
Dr. Zifei Fay Chen, Assistant Professor in the Communications Studies department at the University of San Francisco, will serve as Faculty Adviser to the PRSSA Chapter. The coordinator of the Public Relations minor, Dr. Chen specializes in strategic communication and her research centers on corporate social responsibility, social media strategies, startup and entrepreneurial public relations, and crisis communication and management. She is the conference director for the International Public Relations Research Conference and the current outreach chair of the Educators Academy Section of PRSA.
“I’m so excited to see the launch of the PRSSA Chapter at the University of San Francisco,” said Dr. Chen. “The launch of the Chapter could not have been done without the enthusiasm of the students. Despite all the challenges brought on by the pandemic and remote learning, their motivation and resilience have remained remarkably strong. I also want to thank the sponsoring PRSA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter for their support and for building such a welcoming community for the students. I look forward to advising these brilliant future professionals and seeing the Chapter thrive.”
Serving as Faculty Adviser for the Vanguard University PRSSA Chapter will be Adjunct Professor Jennifer Heinly. With more than 30 years of experience in public relations and marketing, her current and former clients cover a spectrum of industries, including health care, legal, publishing and sports marketing. Heinly’s current areas of expertise include media relations, news release and article writing, and public relations and marketing planning. She is a past chair of the Independent Practitioners Alliance Section of PRSA.
“We are thrilled that Vanguard University has been approved to start a PRSSA Chapter,” Heinly said. “As a long-time PRSA member, I know firsthand how invaluable a student’s PRSSA membership can be in their development and career opportunities. I was a PRSSA member at California State University, Fullerton many years ago, which led to several internships and ultimately my first job after graduation. I would like to thank Naomi Kasa, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication, for helping to lead the PRSSA student Chapter initiative at our university.”
The University of San Francisco, the city’s first university, was established by the Jesuits in October 1855. The university distinguishes itself as a diverse learning community of high-quality scholarship and academic rigor sustained by a faith that does justice. As part of its Communications Studies program, students develop the cultural awareness and critical thinking skills necessary to become ethical and socially responsible public relations professionals.
Vanguard University is a private, Christian, comprehensive university of liberal arts and professional studies equipping students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. The school’s concentration in public relations is integrative, incorporating both theoretical and a hands-on approach to the dynamic and evolving field.