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2001 JCOM alum inspires students at PRSSA dinner

February 20th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Charissa Ingraham

LOGAN—USU’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter began preparations for this year’s Mountain West Regional Conference with a kick-off dinner at Hamilton’s restaurant.

Trina Patterson, a 2001 Utah State graduate who is senior media relations director for Alliant Technology’s (ATK) Space Systems Group in Ogden, shared her thoughts and experiences on the world of public relations from her perspective working for a company that supplies solid rocket boosters for NASA and the space shuttle.

Patterson spoke about the importance of diverse knowledge and skills in public relations.

“Public relations is a good field because there are so many things you can do with it,” she said. “I love my job because I never know what I’m going to be doing the next day.”

Patterson expounded on some of the many areas and skills that are included in her field, such as writing, speaking and crisis management.

“Being able to talk to anyone and make them feel comfortable is a very helpful skill to have,” she said.

Patterson began her career managing public relations for USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, and went to work in public relations for ATK in 2006.

In her work at ATK, Patterson said she learned the importance of basic social etiquette and of being a good public speaker, because PR professionals can’t always rely on others to make good impressions. Of all the aspects in public relations, she said her favorite is crisis management because it is exciting.

Patterson emphasized the importance of getting a good education and focusing on writing skills. Good writing skills are crucial, she said, since it is something that employers look for.

Patterson also discussed the importance of keeping up with technology, such as using Twitter as a way of communication. She explained that she uses Twitter every day for her job, in order to communicate effectively with her coworkers.

All students interested in pursuing a degree in public relations were invited to attend the dinner event, and many who came found inspiration from Patterson’s words.

“Trina really made it sound like PR is important,” said Tessa Karrington, a senior PR major. “The way she talked about her career was inspiring. I think she is especially inspiring for women, because in a lot of fields women are still the minority, and she has a high position.”

JCOM student Alyson Bauer, director of this year’s regional conference, which will be hosted by USU’s PRSSA chapter in Logan in March, also gained insight from the speech.

“[Trina] talked about so many difference aspects of her job, and it made me want to be more diverse in my knowledge of PR skills,” she said.


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