Students bring museum PR director to Peoria

Seven Bradley students have been given an opportunity to put their communication majors to work in a real-world setting.

Members of the group Debonaire PR, assembled by retired professor Ron Koperski, have been planning the quarterly meeting of the Central Illinois chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Director of Public Relations at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Lisa Miner ’98 will be speaking to students and professionals on communications and her experiences with the MSI.

Miner will speak April 16 at the Embassy Suites and Conference Centers in East Peoria.

After earning her public relations degree from Bradley, Miner worked with Congressman Ray LaHood ’71 and Hills & Knowlton Strategies, a public relations firm, before heading to the MSI.

Miner has led multiple campaigns over the course of her career, such as the “U-505 Submarine” premiere, “Body Worlds”, “Science Storms” and the “Month at the Museum” promotion.

Senior public relations major Kelsie Barnhart, who was among the students picked by Koperski to help organize the event, said she believed being a part of a group like Debonaire PR provided students with the invaluable tools.

“Aside from our individual duties like graphic development, press relations, and event planning, we are all developing our professional communication skills and gaining valuable work experience for our résumés,” she said.

Barnhart also said this kind of event was made possible by opportunities specific to Bradley.

“Not many schools would provide students the opportunity to be active members of a large-scale planning committee with a national organization chapter like the PRSA,” Barnhart said. “Bradley is unique in that sense.”

The Debonaire PR students have been meeting since mid-February planning and executing tasks such as designing nametags and agendas, organizing registration and acquiring local media coverage. Each of the eight students has been delegated tasks such as developing social media content, creating contact lists and reaching out to local media outlets for coverage.

“I’ve learned event aspects can change in a minute, and it’s really important to stay on your toes and work with what is thrown at you,” said senior public relations major Michelle Flores.