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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

America's Queen City Offers Public Relations Students a Royal Welcome

Old Dominion University Public Relations (PR) students received a royal welcome during a recent trip to America's "Queen City," -- Charlotte, North Carolina -- including a special visit arranged by an ODU alumnus.

Thirteen members of ODU's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) headed south for the organization's annual spring trip.

The three-day visit was planned by the executive board of PRSSA and funded by their parent chapter, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Hampton Roads.

Students traveled to the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, and met ODU Alum Mike Mahoney '91, who now serves as Panthers' sponsorship sales executive.

Mahoney has had a successful career since earning his degree in economics at Old Dominion

He has worked for the Carolina Panthers for 13 years. Before joining the Panthers he had sales careers at Fed Ex and SAP that took him from New York, to Atlanta, to Charlotte.

Mahoney also introduced the group to Will Bryan, Panthers communications coordinator, and gave the group a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the stadium.

"ODU gave me such a great start to my career so it was a pleasure to host such a bright group of aspiring PR pros at Bank of America Stadium," Mahoney said. "I look forward to seeing where this group goes in the future."

Following the stadium tour, the Old Dominion students went to Taylor, a sports and entertainment PR and marketing firm. Account supervisor Joe Clarkson, a former PRSSA member in college, along with account coordinator Olivia Sorrells, gave the students a brief introduction to the company. Then they opened the floor to the club for questions. In a wide-ranging discussion, students gathered first-hand information to help them envision what a career in public relations could be like after they graduate from Old Dominion.

The day concluded with a networking dinner in which Chloe Watson, a member of Charlotte's PRSA young professionals organization offered insight about the transition from school to a professional PR position.

"The only goals for this trip were for everyone to have fun, connect with each other and get a better sense of what public relations is like after graduation, from real professionals who have been in our shoes," ODU PRSSA President Hang Tran said.

"Trips like these are what ODU PRSSA is all about: educating members, allowing them to network with professionals and giving them the tools to make the most of their college education."

For more information about ODU's PRSSA, please visit https://sites.wp.odu.edu/prssa/.

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