National Gold Key Award


National Gold Key Award

PRSSA honors public relations student


At the Public Relations Student Society of America's 2012 National Conference in October, Rachael Sperling, senior public relations major, received PRSSA's National Gold Key Award.

The National Gold Key Award honors outstanding public relations students and leaders who excel in their academic study of public relations, have pursued ambitious professional development opportunities and are leaders in their respective PRSSA Chapters.

Sperling is president of the College's PRSSA chapter, a member of Texas Belles Event Planning Organization and a member of the Texas Exes Student Chapter. She also has served on the publicity committee and as webmaster and historian for Texas Revue.

Dave Junker, public relations lecturer and faculty advisor for the College's PRSSA chapter, nominated Sperling for the award.

"I'm so happy for Rachael and our chapter," Junker said. "She's everything you could hope for in a leader, and I can't imagine a more deserving honoree. She's got ideas and the follow through to put them into action. Her effectiveness, combined with her ethical integrity, make Rachael an inspiration to our chapter and a great representative of our entire PR program."


Rachael Sperling, senior public relations major and National Gold Key Awardee:

1. What are your thoughts on receiving a National Gold Key award?
"When I got the email that I was a National Gold Key recipient, I was completely shocked and I think I may have squealed pretty loudly at my work cubicle. I think it's such an honor to be given this award. It gives me more confidence in my career goals and future as a public relations practitioner.

"The University of Texas at Austin's Alan Scott Chapter is one of the nine original chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the second-ever PRSSA chapter in the nation. I believe being one of the original PRSSA chapters in combination with the fact that the Texas Advertising and Public Relations program is ranked number one in the nation, means our chapter should always try to stay ahead of the curve and be a leading chapter. I applied for the award as a way to receive national recognition for our chapter because that has been one of my main goals over the last two years as president."

2. How has PRSSA helped you with your educational and career goals? 
"Being a member and officer of PRSSA over the last three years has taught me a lot of practical knowledge about the public relations field that I didn't really learn in a classroom. It has also allowed me to network with a number of industry professionals and my peers at different conferences, happy hours and PRSA events. I definitely believe that PRSSA has and will continue to open a lot of doors for me."

3. What are some of your favorite memories from PRSSA? 
"Attending National Conference in Orlando, Fla. last October is one of my favorite memories of PRSSA. Seven of us were able to go and basically be in public relations boot camp for four days. The highlight of the trip and most inspirational moment for me was hearing Soledad O'Brien speak – she's amazing.

"My favorite day to day occurrence is mentoring chapter members and seeing them succeed in finding internships and making new connections. I love when our members can really get something out of being a part of our chapter."

4. What are your career goals?
"After graduation in May 2013, I plan to take a six-week trip abroad in Europe. I think after that I'd like to work at a small firm either specializing in measurement and analytics or, on the other end of the spectrum, working in hospitality-focused public relations – food/beverage/travel/tourism. It'd be great to stay in Austin, but I know that everyone tries to and that jobs are pretty tight. I think I could live in San Francisco or Seattle, but I'll have to go wherever the best opportunity lies!

"After about eight years of experience, I'd like to open my own boutique, but that's a ways off and I'll have to see where I land! I'd like to continue to stay involved with PRSA and PRSSA in my professional career as well."

5. What have your favorite classes been so far?
"Both classes I've had with Dr. Junker – Writing for Public Relations and Public Relations Techniques – have been some of my most enjoyable major-specific courses. Dr. Junker has a really laid back, yet precise teaching style that allows his students to learn how to write really well. He's a pretty cool dude and has been adviser and mentor almost my entire time at UT.

"I also really enjoyed my Intro to Roman Archaeology class. I took the course as an elective and wish I had the room in my schedule to take a Roman Art class. I have a growing interest in the history of the Roman Empire and love anything to do with Italy."

For more information, contact: Lauren Phillips, 512-471-2182 or Nick Hundley, 512-471-7209