By Rachel Huie
Ask any public relations student what their favorite thing about The University of Alabama is, and they will usually end up talking about their experiences in student organizations. For many of us, these organizations provide the first glimpse of what our future careers will look like, and, more importantly, they enable us to start building the foundations for those careers.
Capstone Agency, the school’s integrated communications agency, offers students the opportunity to do just that by gaining real-world experience through experiential learning. Working in creative content, creative media, media and strategy departments, students develop communication strategies for the agency’s clients, while growing skills that will help them succeed in the ever-changing world of public relations.
Last week, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) recognized the agency as the nation’s top student-run firm, based on criteria such as performance, management and operations.
Capstone Agency also received this award in 2016 and 2018. According to a press release from the agency, the same firm “cannot win the award two years in a row, meaning Capstone Agency has won the award each year it has been eligible since its first win in 2016.”
The win caps off a successful year for the public relations department. In July, PRWeek named UA’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations the top PR program in the country, and two students, Maribeth McClenny and Annie Hollon, were finalists for the Most Outstanding PR Student Award.
In a year that has been anything but precedented, we can all take inspiration from the ways in which Capstone Agency and the PR department are adapting and performing. In accordance with CDC and UA guidelines, Capstone Agency is operating “100% remotely” and conducting all of its meetings via Zoom. Kathleen McManus, the agency’s firm director, called the PRSSA award “a testament to the agency’s continued advancements and our swift transition to the virtual world.” She also applauded the members’ dedication to consistently creating “incredible client work.”
Dedication is something we see a lot in Reese Phifer. Whether it’s through pulling all-nighters to participate in CreateAthon or memorizing the ins and outs of AP style, public relations students consistently demonstrate their dedication to their craft. And dedication inspires dedication. As Capstone Agency has shown, hard work always pays off — and it can even be fun.
Rachel Huie is a senior majoring in public relations with a specialization in sport and entertainment communication management. She currently serves as vice president of publications for UA PRSSA. You can find her on LinkedIn.