Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lacey Barlen Selected as First Recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship Through PRSA Houston

Tonight I'd like to spotlight Lacey Barlen, a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University, who was selected as the first recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to further her studies in communication or public relations.

Lacey Barlen, recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship - PRSA Houston

At Texas A&M, Lacey received a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. Her GPA is an impressive 3.78. Lacey also has been accepted to the Master of Human Resource Management program at Texas A&M.

She has served as President of the Texas A&M PRSSA Chapter since September 2004.

And now, a conversation with Lacey:

Kelly: Lacey, Congratulations on being named the first recipient of the PRFH Scholarship through PRSA Houston! Are you excited?

Lacey: I am extremely honored to be the recipient of the first PRFH Scholarship and I know that it will help me to achieve my dreams. The funds will allow me to expand my knowledge of public relations which will greatly benefit my career. I hope that one day I will be able to support students in the same way that they have helped me.

Kelly: Share with us why you chose to pursue a career in public relations.

Lacey: I chose to pursue a career in public relations because I want to wake up every day knowing that I am doing something that I love. I can guarantee “those mornings” will arise when I would rather listen to my blaring alarm clock than actually get out of bed and turn it off, but I hope that following my passion will minimize those occasions. I realized that PR and I were meant for each other the first day of Mrs. Mitchell’s principles class [at Texas A&M University]. She said that PR is impossible to define, but when she described the many facets of the field, she created a dream job where I could make money doing things that incorporate my strengths with the things that I love.

Kelly: How do you define public relations?

Lacey: Public relations is a fast-paced field that requires the ability to do many different tasks to attain a favorable public opinion of an organization or product.

Kelly: I’m sure you’ve learned many valuable things about yourself during your time as a student. Anything in particular you would like to share with our readers?

Lacey: Although I’ve asked myself why I decided to take fifteen hours, join the honor society, chair a management group project, and be the president of PRSSA in one semester; I would have it no other way. I have always taken on as much as I could handle and I’ve learned that to be successful, I must work effectively under pressure, manage my time well and prioritize. I have also discovered that I cannot do everything alone and that good leaders learn to work through other people. Public relations practitioners work through others to accomplish their goals by forming relationships with publics and media to advance their cause.

Kelly: What do you like best about public relations?

Lacey: I enjoy public relations because it is like a game to me. Pitching the media is like dangling bait on a hook and waiting for a bite. I also like the strategy that is behind planned events, press releases and campaigns. The continuous changing and adapting that it is involved also entices me because I despise boredom. Someday I want to run my own PR firm and work for small businesses so that I can see how my efforts help them. I am a start-to-finish kind of person, and I like the results-oriented aspect of PR that involves assessing the effectiveness of campaigns and media placements.

Kelly: What are your plans now?

Lacey: I’ve decided to get my Master’s of Human Resource Management because I know that it will strengthen my teamwork skills. It will also give me a greater understanding of the dynamic business world that will make me an asset to any company. A career in public relations requires an understanding of the media and an ability to write which I learned while receiving my undergraduate degree in Journalism. The next step is learning how to communicate effectively and think like a manager which I will learn in the management program. I made the choice to become a public relations practitioner because I want to go home everyday knowing that my work helps others and that I love my job.

Congratulations again to Lacey! She will be honored at the PRSA Houston Excalibur Awards on June 9 at the Downtown Aquarium.

The Public Relations Foundation of Houston was formed to support educational excellence by helping prepare high school and college students for careers in public relations and communication. The group will award student scholarships and distribute funds to educational programs that support public relations and communication.


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