New public relations class offers real-world experience

By Rob Bradfield

Baylor Oso Public Relations, a student-run public relations agency and class, is offering enrollment to advertising and marketing majors for the spring semester.

Marlene Neill, a professor in the department of journalism, public relations and new media and Baylor Oso faculty advisor, said the program will “give students a bridge from the classroom to the workplace.”

Last year, the journalism, public relations and new media department began the agency to give public relations students a chance to work in the professional world before they graduate.

Students in the class work for real-world clients on projects dealing with everything from the Internet and social media to press relations.

The first year of the program was so successful that the agency has expanded to the business school.

Neill and the other faculty are working to create a program on par with its older counterparts at the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. Neill said the program hopes to maintain high admission standards to accomplish this. As interest grows, the students participating will be more carefully selected.

“There could very well be a day when students have to go through an interview process, a screening process, to be a part of an agency,” Neill said.

Students registering for the spring semester won’t have to worry about an interview. The program has just 15 spots to fill, but students must complete certain prerequisites in order to enroll. The agency focuses on providing juniors and seniors practical experience to complement their education.

One of the agency’s clients is the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative, better known as BRIC.

The Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative is the research facility being built on the site of the former General Tire plant in East Waco. Baylor Oso Public Relations has been updating the collaborative’s website, tweaking the search engine and designing promotional media to attract companies to the new facility.

Jim Kephart is a BRIC representative working with the agency. “I’m looking forward to working with [the students] in the coming semester,” Kephart said.

The BRIC is one of several clients Baylor Oso Public Relations students will have the chance to work with, but the agency’s oldest client has been the agency itself.

Students have been working in social and traditional media to increase awareness of the program and establish the Baylor Oso Public Relations image, which has included creating a Twitter feed, designing a logo and seeking recognition from the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Though the program is currently limited to 15 spots, students that are not able to enroll in the three-hour class can apply to work as freelance writers, photographers and graphic artists. Students should contact for more information.