Public relations interest leads to national success, new major

A new public relations major will be launched in the fall of 2014, bringing new opportunities for PR-focused students.


| Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

Augusta McDonnell, Writer

Laura Daronatsy, a sophomore journalism major, will be switching to the new public relations major next fall and was recently named to the PRSSA national position of publication editor-in-chief. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES


The Journalism and Integrated Media department will be launching a public relations major in fall 2014 due to the large number of students in the current public relations emphasis and the growth of the public relations industry. There are currently 60 students with public relations emphases in the 180-student journalism department.

“We live in a digital age and this has thrust organizations into having to face the reality that relationships matter with the public. It’s no longer very mechanized: PR is on social media, out in the community, it’s on the news, and so they need specialists that understand that process,” said Carolyn Kim, associate professor of public relations.


Public relations students have the opportunity to participate in 6th Street Public Relations, a student-run firm working with on- and off-campus clients. Additionally, some PR students are members of Biola’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

”One of my goals is that we will not just be content, we will push beyond that and be excellent. We’re matching some of the best public relations schools with the curriculum we have and the jobs and internships our students are getting,” Kim said.

Senior visual journalism major Laura Decorte is excited about the prospect of a PR-focused major. Although she will graduate by the time the program launches, she anticipates it will attract many students interested in becoming public relations professionals.

“Having PR as its own major is going to … be amazing [for] bringing people in, and really letting them become immersed in what PR is,” Decorte said.


Laura Daronatsy, a sophomore journalism major who will be switching to the new public relations major next fall, was recently named to the PRSSA national position of publication editor-in-chief.

Just a few years ago, there were only three members in PRSSA at Biola. Now, the association has grown into a chapter of over 30 members, according to Daronatsy.

“It’s exciting to see the growth of the PR major match the growth of the PRSSA chapter. We are so blessed to be in the location we’re in between Orange County and L.A. County, having endless opportunities in PR … it’s going to be amazing to see the growth of the PR major,” Daronatsy said.

Alongside Daronatsy, several other Biola students are serving on the national publication, including junior graphic design major Erin Jeffries, junior public relations and biblical studies major RJ Winans and junior journalism major Collin Callahan.

These students are not the first from Biola to gain national PR recognition. Last spring, senior public relations emphasis Jessica Airey was the first Biola student to serve on the PRSSA national committee.

Airey credits Kim with bringing the program to its peak and encouraging further expansion.

“She’s definitely been putting her heart and soul into getting the PR students really prepared for careers in PR. The whole industry is changing,” Airey said.

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