Checking in with Central Iowa PRSSA chapters

Simpson College

Central Iowa PRSA’s OctoPRFest was not only the setting for insightful breakout sessions and networking opportunities, but also for awards.

Baillee Furst, of the Storm PRSSA chapter at Simpson College was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award as part of the PRIME awards at the annual event for Public Relations professionals across Central Iowa.

“I was honored to be nominated for the award,” Furst said. “It was a complete surprise until right before my name was called.”

Furst was nominated based on outstanding involvement in PRSSA activities and leadership across campus by Simpson chapter adviser and Public Relations professor Jane Murphy. The award candidates are voted on by a PRSA chapter outside of Iowa.

“When I read the award criteria, I immediately thought of Baillee,” Murphy said. “She played a significant role last year in leading our PRSSA chapter and our new student-run PR firm. Baillee co-chaired the 2017 Goodwill Fashion Show, our PRSSA chapter’s signature event. Her involvement with a number of other organizations on campus, along with her academic success, make Baillee the perfect candidate for this award.”

Former president of the Storm PRSSA chapter, Ashley Dalsing, also won Outstanding New Member of Central Iowa PRSA.

In addition to being involved in PRSSA activities, Furst also serves as the firm director of the C Street Agency, the student-run Public Relations firm at Simpson. She also works as the Digital Marketing intern for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

C Street Agency currently has 8 professional clients and is searching for more opportunities to grow and serve. In addition, The Simpson Storm PRSSA Chapter is always looking for PR professionals to speak at monthly chapter meetings. If you would be interested in sharing about your career or even leading a case study with students, contact chapter adviser Jane Murphy at

Wartburg College

Wartburg College PRSSA held workshops with professionals in videography, graphic design, and copywriting in September and October. The chapter is planning a November “agency crawl” that will consist of visits with public relations professionals at KIMT-TV in Mason City, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and one other location that is yet to be determined. The Tower Agency, Wartburg’s student-run public relations firm, recently helped a Wartburg biology professor utilize video in a major grant application, supported local classical music and non-profit organizations gain awareness of their programming, and created materials for the Journalism & Communication Department’s internal and external branding.

Iowa State University

This school year we have been very focused on growing our chapter enrollment. After collecting all dues for fall, we officially have 33 paid members (28 new this fall). Nonmembers may take part in regular meetings; however, we strongly encourage official PRSSA membership, as paid members have the opportunities to take part in agency tours and limited-access meetings. 

Our first limited-access meeting this fall was a mock career fair on Sept. 12. Professionals from Meyocks, Two Rivers Marketing, Performance Marketing and REG participated, as did ISU chapter liaisons Rob Schweers and Annette Hacker. Students engaged in mock interviews and received feedback on their performance, resumes and cover letters. This event was held two weeks before the ISU Career Fair and provided an excellent opportunity for students to practice their interview skills and receive constructive feedback. 

Our first fundraiser of the year was held at Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Campustown. After a weekly meeting, students gathered for food and conversation and a percentage of proceeds were donated to our chapter. Our second fundraiser will be held at Hilton Coliseum working the concessions for ISU men's basketball. 

We continue to have great success in bringing guest speakers to meetings. This year we have been fortunate enough to have Katie Stanley from REG, Nina Ford with Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Taren Crow representing Iowa State Career Services, Alison Cate with Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa, Luke Matthews from the Des Moines Radio Group and coming up, PR consultant Ann Appleseth. 

The executive team is excited to see our growing member base. We are now working toward membership retention. We recently expanded our executive team from five positions to six, adding a recruitment chair.

Iowa State PRSSA will tour Kansas City agencies this spring. 

We look forward to continued growth and are thankful for your support. 

Drake University

This semester, the Drake University PRSSA chapter has been doing pro bono work for VoteSmart, a nonprofit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States. VoteSmart has its headquarters adjacent to the Drake campus. Drake PRSSA members are creating flyers and brochures for high schools across the country, writing letters-to-the editor for newspapers and crafting a plan to help VoteSmart build media relations and garner more news coverage in the Des Moines area, as the next caucus season quickly approaches. 

In early October, chapter leaders delivered a presentation at the PRSSA National Conference in Austin, Texas. They spoke about the chapter's fundraising challenges, what they have done to overcome these hurdles, and shared fundraising ideas for other chapters across the nation. This is the fourth time in the past five years that the Drake PRSSA chapter has been chosen to speak at the PRSSA National Conference. 

For the rest of fall semester, Drake PRSSA will continue its work with VoteSmart, conduct a crisis simulation exercise with its members, and host Corey Carlson, a grant specialist at Physio Control in Minneapolis, as a featured speaker in November.


*Please Note: University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa are not represented in this update.

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