How often is it that your professors teach you outside a typical classroom setting? For me, this was never the case, but at Wednesday’s chapter meeting we had two speakers who were professors in SOC and just happen to be my professors. I was hesitant at first to go to the chapter meeting, because who would want to listen to their professors speak when you listen to them lecture twice a week? However, these were professors who have made a huge impact in my academics when I switched my major to Public Relations, so this would have been a great opportunity to learn even more from them. On Wednesday, I had the privilege of listening to Professor Scott Talan and Professor Rajul Bhaskar.

Professor Scott Talan was the first to speak. He is a professor of Public Relations who is an expert in social media and personal branding honed through communications experiences in four distinct fields: TV News, Politics, Nonprofits/NGOs and Higher Education. I was one of Professor Talan’s students in COMM-100, Understanding Media, where I learned about the effects of media in our society and understanding the ways in which media draws attention to a certain audience.

At PRSSA, he spoke to members about the process behind creating one’s personal brand, the do’s and don’ts of social media branding, and the values in making your own brand. The main lesson he wanted members to get from his speech was how to cautiously use social media for self-branding and the tactics one should use when branding themselves on professional sites like LinkedIn. A takeaway I got from Professor Talan’s speech were the three things employers hold against potential employees on social media. These include postings with typos and grammars, posts on extreme personal political or religious views, and pictures with excessive partying.

After Professor Talan spoke to the class, Professor Rajul Bhaskar then spoke to students about the values of networking. Professor Bhaskar is a Professorial Lecturer who has more than a decade of public relations experience in consumer, entertainment and corporate communications. I am currently taking Professor Bhaskar in COMM-301, Public Relations, where I am been learning about concepts in PR and the multiple processes that go into it. During her speech, Professor Bhaskar spoke about her experiences as a public relations practitioner working for multiple media brands; these include TLC, National Geographic Channels, Animal Planet, NBCUniversal (NBCU) cable’s properties including Bravo, Syfy, USA Network, CNMB, Oxygen, MSNBC, Chiller, as well as the Olympics and Universal Pictures. She also emphasized the importance of internships and making and maintaining connections with employers and professors who may be able to help you with your path to success, which is the main takeaway message I got from her speech.

I would have regretted not going to Wednesday’s meeting to hear both of my professors speak. Even though I have listened to them lecture twice a week for an hour in a classroom setting, it was good to get a sense of their story beyond academia. I look forward to contacting them both soon.