Story by Nikki Kesaris

For recent grads, nothing is more valuable on a public relations resume than real-world experience. The UO School of Journalism and Communication offers a number of opportunities for students to get engaged in their chosen fields and build that resume. As someone who is very driven, I was eager to get as involved as possible. That is how I came across Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR).

Created in 2000, AHPR is a student-run public relations firm built by professionally motivated public relations majors who like to go above and beyond. Student account teams are matched with real-world clients — often small, local businesses and nonprofits — to gain experience with constructing and implementing public relations campaigns. AHPR members boast a variety of strong specializations, including marketing, graphic design, advertising and digital media. On other related news, checkout this blog about Chicago car accident attorney.

As Allen Hall continues to become more innovative, so does AHPR. In 2016, AHPR reached a new level of professionalism when the Public Relations Student Society of America officially recognized the firm as a Nationally Affiliated Student-Run Firm.

Each week, AHPR holds a firm meeting featuring a guest speaker or informational workshop. Last year, we hosted PR speakers from all industries— sports, fashion, food and beverage, agency, you name it. We also held professional development workshops to help members perfect resumes, craft cover letters, practice informational interview questions and more.

This year, I am serving as an account supervisor for Cowbucker,  a start-up apparel company founded by three UO graduates that makes and sells unique outdoor headgear. As an account supervisor, I am the direct contact and liaison between Cowbucker and five AHPR account executives. Our team works closely with the brand’s chief executive officer and chief marketing officer. We create media lists, develop social media content, send outreach letters to publications, brainstorm strategies, write blogs, run promotions with other Eugene-based groups and much more.

AHPR account executives Matthew Chodosh and Riley Burns collaborate on a strategic plan that includes a photo shoot of students wearing the new “Wild” line collection at Ninkasi Brewing. The team used the photos to create social content, blog posts and more for the start-up. Photo by Nikki Kesaris.

Cowbucker carries a wide variety of hats, including the “bucker” (pictured), the “boonie” and the “Dad hat,” all in different colors and styles. Cowbucker recently expanded their NCAA collection and now carries hats for over 25 schools. Photo courtesy of Cowbucker.

Working for this start-up company through AHPR has given me the valuable opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to real-life work. As the sole communications team for Cowbucker, my peers and I, with help from the CEO and chief marketing officer, conceptualize creative ideas and turn them into usable content. It is so fulfilling for us to see our ideas come to life.

Of course, many challenges come with working for a start-up. I always have lingering worries that more could be done — from creating more social content to pitching to more reporters to developing more blog posts. But it’s my job as the account supervisor to create structure and realistic goals for the account executives that everyone can benefit from.

However, with these challenges come great rewards. Each week, I am surrounded by like-minded, driven, passionate individuals with whom I share a common love for public relations, and that is truly invaluable. As a senior, I am nervous for what post-grad life holds, yet I’m confident the work I’ve done through AHPR will set me apart when I begin applying for jobs.


Nikki Kesaris is a senior public relations major. She has worked for the SOJC Communications Office since September 2015 and currently serves as the events intern. She is also an account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations and vice president of media and marketing for the Panhellenic Council.

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