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Spooner Applies PRSSA Experience

When Paul Spooner (junior, West Des Moines, Iowa) first came to The University of Iowa, he wanted to focus on broadcast journalism. Spooner envisioned reporting and writing, but he wasn’t sure which area of journalism best fit his skills.

“I thought I wanted to do broadcasting, but it wasn’t for me,” Spooner said. “It’s really just deadline, deadline, deadline. I’m more of a laid back person, so I was thinking PR.”

Publicly Happy Spooner smiles for the camera

After realizing he couldn’t handle the daily deadlines and knowing he wouldn’t enjoy his job as much as he would like, he decided to join the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

After he became involved with PRSSA, he learned about the society’s student run firm Inspire.

The firm is composed of around 20 students from all majors, including journalism, communications, and marketing. Inspire takes on clients similar to how a professional public relations agency would, and promotes and handles most of the communication involved with the events. Some of the clients include Polar Plunge, Relay For Life, Colleges Against Cancer, the Ponsetti Races, and Share wine lounge.

“There’s so much you can do in public relations,” Spooner said. “You’re working with the clients, you’re doing the writing, but you’re also promoting the clients, so I think that’s why I decided public relations.”

Last summer, Spooner interned at the Des Moines International Airport. Spooner’s “all encompassing” internship was in airport management, but he also did a great deal of public relations and writing.

“I was all over the place,” Spooner said. “I was working at the airport, I was on the runway doing checks with the operations and field maintenance. They introduced me to a lot of departments.”

Spooner grew up around planes, became interested in aviation and ultimately earned his pilot license. The Des Moines native has followed the footsteps of his father and brother, who are both pilots.

After graduating, Spooner says his ultimate goal is to do corporate communications for a major airline.

Flying High Spooner gives a thumbs up from the pilot's chair

“In the last year, I really realized that’s what I want to do,” he said. “I know out of college I’ll probably go into PR somewhere else, but that’s my ultimate goal. I’ve always been into aviation.”

Spooner says the tools he learned during his time with PRSSA have helped him succeed with his work. He mentioned all of the aspects of PRSSA one can get involved in, such as writing for the newsletter, touring companies and agencies, and networking to help prepare for after college.

“The best thing to do is when you get involved, try to do as much as you can,” Spooner said. “I would recommend doing it, because if you’re interested in PR it’s a great way to get introduced and network with students who have had internships. Also, it’s good to know you have PRSA after college.”

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