2012 Graduate is First to Complete New PR Specialty Certificate

by Diane VanDyke

photo by Matt Carlin

Graduating in May with an associate’s degree in Communications and a Specialty Certificate in Public Relations, Montgomery County Community College student Teresa Harris feels confident she is fully prepared to re-enter the workplace with the knowledge and skills she will need to succeed.

“I’ve made the absolute most of my experience at the college and enjoyed all of it,” said Teresa, who is the first student to complete this new certificate program. “Thanks to the curriculum, I am prepared and ready to start working in a new career.”

The curriculum for the new Specialty Certificate in Public Relations includes courses in Journalism, Marketing, Graphic Design, as well as Public Relations.

“I received a well-rounded experience to be able to move in different directions, whether writing or public speaking,” said Teresa, who is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. “I’m able to write newsletters, press releases, speak to clients or plan fundraising events. I feel very comfortable with all those kinds of things.”

In addition to the specialized courses, Teresa appreciates having the opportunity to use the latest technology in her classes.

In the Public Relations 225 course, for example, Assistant Professor Tom Donlan made arrangements for the class to have iPads, thus enabling them to learn how to design messages and ideas for Apps and to use social media effectively in the public relations field.

“We went through the whole PR process with our clients and got to see all that can happen in the process,” Teresa said, noting that she worked directly with her client to develop press releases and promotional messaging on Facebook and Twitter, while staying within a proposed budget.

The specialty certificate, which can be completed in only two semesters, features two specialized tracks.

The Strategic Written Communication Track is specifically designed for students like Teresa, who previously worked in the marketing and advertising fields and now want to gain additional skills and knowledge to start a new career. This track is also appropriate for business majors.

Likewise, the Strategic Corporate Communication Track is designed for returning students who worked in the journalism field and now want to work in public relations, as well as communications majors.

While the tracks are similar, the courses are tailored to build upon the different experience, knowledge and background of the students to ensure they will be well prepared to transition to a new career or field.

After completing the certificate program and earning her associate’s degree, Teresa plans to find employment in the public relations field  and to eventually get her bachelor’s degree.

Students can enroll now for the Specialty Certificate in Public Relations for the fall semester. To learn more about the specialty certificate, you can contact Tom Donlan at tdonlan@mc3.edu.

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