By: Peyton Zamarelli '22
My name is Peyton Zamarelli ’22, and I grew up in the small town of Salem, Ohio. Mount Union has always held a very close place in my heart because of all of the amazing stories my father, John Zamarelli ’85 would share of his undergrad experience. As a young girl, I remember walking around campus with my father visualizing myself as a young adult calling our beautiful campus my future home away from home. Currently, I am a junior public relations and music double major with a minor in leadership at Mount Union.
During my time as a student, I have become quite involved on campus. I hold a position as a resident assistant in McMaster Hall, sing in various choirs on campus including Cantus Femina, Concert Choir, and Kantorei. Most notably, I serve as the Public Relations Director of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)- Mount Union Chapter.
This past summer and fall, I recently completed a communication merchandising internship at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. After the completion of this amazing experience, I have recently begun a marketing internship on campus within the Office of Marketing. In this position, I write press releases, blogs, manage content within the university’s website, social media messaging, internal and external communication, and assist with promotion and coverage.
In my eyes, public relations is such an amazing field because the opportunities for success are endless. From visual merchandising at an amusement park to writing press releases for higher education, I am still able to make an impact on different stakeholder groups while cultivating awesome connections and letting my creativity become reality.
After I graduate in the Spring of 2022, I plan to move to Nashville, Tennessee to continue on as a graduate student and obtain a master’s degree in public relations then start off my professional career in the music city working in tourism and hospitality management.
I am not the only student in the public relations realm to cultivate beautiful memories, connections, and professional development. I am among dozens of other students finding success in their degree programs through internships and field experience. As the public relations director of PRSSA, I have had the privilege to create an amazing bond with fellow executive members and friends, Emily Cooney ’21, Brenna Walker ‘21, and Bailey Balderson ’21. In the public relations major, we have all found great success in our unique internship experiences.
I have experienced great satisfaction in entertainment and higher education, while other students have had unique experiences in other realms of public relations.
Cooney, a dear friend and cohort, is a senior public relations major and music minor at Mount Union. Cooney proudly serves at the president of PRSSA- Mount Union Chapter, a chorister in Cantus Femina, Concert Choir, and Kantorei as well as a faithful sister of Alpha Xi Delta. Over the years, Cooney and I have bonded through our love for singing and public relations. She is an inspiring leader and friend.
Not only this, but she also holds an internship at the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition, a non-profit organization in Akron. In this position, she assists with all communication efforts such as website development, social media, other stakeholder communication, and event planning.
“The concepts that have been reinforced in each of my public relations classes have shaped the way I view problems and opportunities at my internship,” Cooney said. “Each class has allowed me to practice applying those concepts in preparation for a position such as this.”
As graduation approaches, Cooney plans to complete her internship and start her career back in her hometown of Erie, PA.
Cooney is not the only public relations student to intern for an astounding nonprofit organization, with Walker securing an experience in a healthcare nonprofit organization.
Walker is a senior public relations major and Chinese minor at Mount Union from Beloit, OH. She and I grew up just down the road from each other but did not become close friends until collaborating in PRSSA together.
After chatting with Walker, she is so grateful for her experience in public relations because, “It has truly helped me understand why public relations is so important. It is up to people like us to help organizations communicate effectively with the people who rely on them for services, products and so much more.”
Walker is very involved on campus, serving as the secretary/ treasurer of PRSSA- Mount Union Chapter, and singing as a chorister in Cantus Femina, Concert Choir, and Kantorei.
During her time off campus, Walker has participated an internship with Child Adolescent and Behavioral Health, a nonprofit healthcare organization in Canton since fall. During her time there, she has created social media posts, wrote blogs, edited promotional videos, created an advertisement for local radio station, Q92, and ran a fundraising campaign in which her efforts doubled the amount raised from the past years efforts.
“My internship experience taught me how I can culminate the content I learned in the classroom and use it in a real-world environment,” Walker said. “It has helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and improve my craft before I begin looking for a job. Without this experience, I would never have realized my passion for working with nonprofits.”
After graduation this spring, Walker plans to continue on working in health communication for non-profits organizations.
Agencies are another career path for many who enter the field of public relations. Balderson, a senior public relations major and leadership minor of Alliance, has had the opportunity of interning for America’s top ad posting agency, Innis Maggiore in Canton. Balderson is not only a public relations pro but withholds such a wonderful spirit and attitude in everything she conquers!
“Public relations has set me up for future success because I am able to apply everything I’ve learned through my courses to real-life events and situations,” Balderson said. “I am able to think strategically, maintain great relationships with clients and coworkers, and much more.”
Balderson serves as the vice president and backbone of operations for PRSSA- Mount Union Chapter, is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Alpha Lamba Delta.
Since this past summer, Balderson has had the privilege of interning at Innis Maggiore. In her time there, she has learned much about the public relations field regarding agency work by networking with fellow professionals, writing news releases, reviewing advertisement pieces, and creating advertising programs through a strategic process of research and action.
After graduation, Balderson plans to continue her professional career at Innis Maggiore as a potential account lead.
I am so grateful for the amazing experience to not only study public relations at Mount Union, but also make great friends and even greater professional advances at my home away from home.