• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

USU senior named Utah’s best PR student in Richter7 competition

April 16th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

SALT LAKE CITY—A Utah State University public relations senior has won the title of 2011 Utah PR Student of the Year in the annual competition sponsored by Richter7, a Salt Lake-based advertising and public relations agency.

The competition among Utah college and university public relations students, now in its eighth year, recognizes one the student who demonstrates superior skills in communication and public relations.

Judges said Aggie PR major Natalie Curtis was selected for her professionalism, creativity, strategic thinking, academic record and aptitude for success in public relations as demonstrated through a written case study and oral presentation.

“It is a great honor to be named Richter7’s PR Student of the Year,” Curtis said. “The competition was a great experience for me to apply and present all the knowledge gained from classes at Utah State to PR professionals.”

In this year’s competition, the six finalists—Curtis, plus four from BYU and one from Westminster College—were given an almost impossible challenge: to shine up actor Charlie Sheen’s public image. The finalists were asked, in part, to generate a hypothetical public relations plan with objectives, key messages, strategies, tactics and social media, which they presented to the Richter7 judges.

“Branching out to the field of celebrity publicist was an exciting challenge, especially with a subject like Charlie Sheen,” Curtis said. “My plan centered around positioning Sheen as a role model in the community of recovering addicts, and also promoting him as an advocate for the endangered tiger, in regards to his recent remarks about having ‘tiger blood.’

“I wanted to improve his image while also preserving the funny, non-normal personality that the media and his fans love,” she said. “The ultimate goal was to improve his image by creating a push for positive, national news stories that will make Charlie a role model and help him progress toward a healthy career.”

See Curtis’s winning presentation here.

Sheen, the erratic star of TV’s “Two-and-a-Half Men,” has been in the news recently in connection with a public fight with his producers, and for a series of bizarre public statements.

Curtis is a founding director of True Blue Communications, the Journalism & Communication Department’s student public relations agency, and was named the department’s outstanding 2011 PR graduate this week.

“We are incredibly proud of Natalie and all our PR students,” said department head Ted Pease. “When we say we’re a professional program, we mean it. Natalie’s performance shows that our students really know their stuff.”

The prize for her performance was an iPad2 and $400 in cash. “The award will offer tools to help her finish her education and get a jumpstart into the business world,” said Richter7 partner Tim Brown. “Standing as Utah’s oldest award of its kind, the Richter7 PR Student of the Year program gives future professionals first-hand strategic planning and presentation experience as they prepare to enter the public relations field.”

Curtis, a native of Wooster, Ohio, is working this semester as public relations coordinator for Harris Research Inc. in Logan while completing her coursework. She will graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA summa cum laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and corporate communications, plus minors in multimedia development and marketing. After graduation, she starts her career with a summer internship as marketing coordinator for Obelis European in Brussels, Belgium.

Curtis’s classmates and professors applauded her win, and praised Richter7 for the opportunity. “Many who participate in Richter7’s PR Student of the Year competition say it teaches them a lot about themselves and public relations,” said Preston Parker, a lecturer in public relations. “While Natalie was preparing for this competition I was able to see her enthusiasm, creativity, work ethic and zest for PR, which are the reasons I think she won.”

Since 2003, Richter7 has provided this scholarship competition annually to all Utah college students pursuing public relations degrees. For more information, visit facebook.com/richter7.

Named Utah’s “Best of State” advertising agency seven times, Richter7 was established in 1971 and is nationally recognized for effective advertising, public relations, online interactive and design for clients from Minneapolis to Hawaii.


Tags: , , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.