Through hands-on experience in two internships, numerous class projects and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Hannah Wurm has sharpened her public relations skills and says she feels prepared for the “real world.”
Wurm, a native of Bucyrus, will graduate from The University of Findlay in December with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
Although Wurm wasn’t originally a communication major, she decided it was the right path for her after attending MajorFest – an on-campus event where students can talk to other students and faculty from a variety of majors – during her first semester at Findlay. There, she spoke with Chris Underation, assistant professor of communication, who was the first professor Wurm met from the department. He helped Wurm choose a major that interested her, and “helped me stay on track to graduate a semester early. He’s always been available and helpful as both my adviser and as a professor for many classes,” she said.
Once Wurm became a communication and public relations major as a second-semester freshman, she “was hooked” and immersed herself in learning as much as she could about the profession.
According to Wurm, faculty members in the Communication Department have had a significant impact on her experience as a student at the University.
“I can’t say enough about how grateful I am for the one-on-one mentoring I’ve had from the Communication faculty at UF. No matter what question, challenge or obstacle I had, the faculty greeted me with encouragement and guidance,” said Wurm.
Jeanette Drake, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, worked with Wurm both in class and through PRSSA. “Not only has Hannah immersed herself in public relations and learned a great deal about the profession over the last two and a half years, she has guided others to this field of study and has frequently played the role of coach in the classroom, via PRSSA and by way of special events and opportunities,” she said.
Wurm served as secretary, vice president and president of PRSSA, which Wurm says was one of her favorite extracurricular activities. In those roles, she helped orient new officers to the organization and worked closely with the incoming president to plan for a smooth transition. Wurm also conducted workshops for chapter members to help them improve their public relations skills.
“PRSSA has played a major role in shaping my PR skills and networking with students and professionals in the field,” said Wurm. “I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie with people in my major, the opportunities for professional development and the résumé-building experiences.”
In addition to her academic experiences, Wurm completed two internships – one in the University’s Office of Public Information and another with the Bucyrus Area Community Foundation.
Wurm began working in the Office of Public Information as a freshman, and since then wrote for both internal and external campus publications, as well as completed other miscellaneous assignments. With the community foundation, Wurm worked on a countywide improvement initiative, Crawford: 20/20 Vision. She wrote news releases and articles, established the organization’s social media presence, created content for a website and an e-newsletter, took photos, presented at meetings, networked with county leaders and businesses and developed promotional material for the effort.
On campus, Wurm also was involved with Lamba Pi Eta (a communication honor society), Concert-Chorale, Relay for Life and Residence Life as a resident assistant.
One of her best memories is being involved in one of UF’s musicals, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Wurm says she always enjoyed music and the performing arts, so “I decided to step outside – way outside – my comfort zone and my usual communication-related activities … I’ll never forget the experience.”
Wurm encourages other students to also step outside their comfort zones. “Everything about your college experience is what you make it, so stay positive and focused, and you’ll be surprised by what you accomplish as a student and as an individual.”
After graduation, Wurm will return to Bucyrus where she has a full-time job as a communications specialist for an insurance company. She began working there part time this fall.