In the Fall 2022 Semester, Dr. Farmer’s Case Studies class hosted a mentoring event with the Public Relations Society of America Western North Carolina Chapter (PRSA WNC) on Tuesday, November 29 at Biltmore Park in Asheville. 

 The PRSA WNC Mentoring Event provided communication students the opportunity to network with professionals, meet other students with similar aspirations, and develop mentors with the chapter’s members in a variety of fields.

The event was set up as a “speed dating style to see which mentors students connect with and hope to learn from,” said Hailee Locklair, former case studies student. 

 Although the event was open to all students, WCU and App State Communication and PR students were strongly encouraged to attend. It was especially beneficial to WCU students who are taking COMM 296 or COMM 496 as mentorship is required for the professional development classes. 

 Locklair further explained how the event was beneficial to students who were wanting to connect with a mentor in an industry they are hoping to get into.

 “This is a professional development opportunity as well as an educational opportunity to know what the PR industry is like in different contexts,” said Locklair. 

 The case studies class had a group to coordinate the event. The group members were Hailee Locklair, Taylor Saunders, Brandon Rice and Peyton Little.

 To prepare for the event, the group distributed a survey to communication students to gather information of what times and days worked best for those who were interested. They also reached out to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Appalachian State University so that App State students had the opportunity to attend the event. In addition, the group created a flier of what, when, and where the event is as well as its benefits.

 Not only the group wanted to provide students with a professional development opportunity, they also planned the event to further the relationship between PRSA WNC and PRSSA.

 During the fall semester, Locklair has worked coordinating with PRSA and PRSSA at WCU and App State. She was the main point of communication for anyone with questions about the event or wanting to RSVP. 

 The group’s goal was to have 15 students attend the event and for 10 of them to develop a relationship with mentors. Locklair said it was a learning process for the group to gain an insight of what it takes to plan an event, and to see what they did right as well as what they can improve on in the future. 

 “I think the most rewarding part will be being able to see how mentors and students connect and hearing the conversations they will have,” said Locklair. “My hope is that this will be very successful and that students will feel comfortable and find it beneficial.”

 Lastly, the case studies group finished their project report by reflecting on the event with their personal experience and seeing how they can become better PR professionals.