Columbia and DePaul Students Plan and Host Communications Career Conference

students exiting train station to street, with one carrying a sign for PR eLevatedStudents traveled by bus and train to meet communications professionals on their home turfs – their offices. Here Ksymena Pawlowicz (left) and Cameron Goode (right) and other students get ready for a visit with Shedd Aquarium.
Two chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America come together to connect students with communications professionals.

As members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), students from Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University recently collaborated to plan and host PR eLevated. The two-day event, held March 2 and 3, brought more than 100 communications students from across the country to the Columbia and DePaul campuses.  

At the event, students met and learned from industry professionals via panel discussions, resume review opportunities, networking, and visits to Chicago communications agencies and in-house departments. Companies represented included Golin, Zapwater, G&S Communications, the American Medical Association, the Shedd Aquarium, and more.  

“Our goals are to let students network, meet professionals, listen to professional stories, and just have that opportunity to grow from listening to all the wonderful panelists," says Ksymena Pawlowicz, a senior at Columbia majoring in Public Relations

The event was six months in the making, according to Pawlowicz who served on the leadership team. To pull it all together, the 20-plus Columbia and DePaul students behind the event formed committees in promotions, community relations, sponsorship, and hospitality. Working collaboratively, they developed the conference format and theme, identified panel topics such as DEI, recruited sponsors and speakers, planned on-site visits, and promoted the event.  

“I can't tell you how much it takes to put on a conference of this size,” says Anne Marie Mitchell, an associate professor in Public Relations at Columbia in the Communication department and faculty advisor for the Columbia chapter of PRSSA. “The collaboration with DePaul has been just outstanding. These students have complimented each other, learned so much from each other, and been so kind to each other. I've learned so much just from watching that beautiful collaboration.” 

The experience proved stressful but also educational for Pawlowicz who honed her persuasive writing skills to encourage participation from industry leaders.  

The excitement during the two days was palatable among the event planners.  

“This is seriously a dream,” says PR junior Cameron Goode, who is already eagerly anticipating next year’s conference. “I'm excited to just continue.” 

To read more about who was PR eLevated, including the full list of industry participants and student PRSSA committee members, see the program.