From Penn State PRSSA President to PRSA Chicago

By: Allison Lilly

After growing up in Steeler country and spending four years of college in Happy Valley, recent Penn State graduate Dana Bubonovich has found a new home in the windy city of Chicago. Dana received her diploma in May 2010 after a busy senior year where she was the president of the Lawrence G. Foster Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the founder of Penn State’s first student-run firm Happy Valley Communications, and the Outreach Coordinator for EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

EcoCAR is a three-year collegiate engineering competition to redesign and rebuild a stock car to a hybrid and is sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy. Outreach is a judged part of the competition, and Dana helped lead the Penn State team win Best Social Media and 3rd place overall in Outreach. Her hard work and dedication “did not go unnoticed by competition managers, as she was offered a summer internship with EcoCAR organizers at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago.

“When I joined in January of ‘09, the communications coordinator for EcoCAR was really impressed because I was the incoming president of PRSSA,” Bubonovich said. “They offered the summer internship to me because I was always involved and willing to help out.”

Bubonovich’s internship gradually led to her current full time position as a communications and logistics coordinator with Argonne. In addition to being fully involved with EcoCAR competition tasks, Bubonovich manages 25 interns throughout the nation at Clean Cities coalitions.

“I do a lot of professional development opportunities in addition to managing day to day tasks. I do webinars and peer discussion calls as a collaboration effort to get advice from other interns,” Bubonovich said. She also takes care of payroll for the interns, and she said Finance 100 and Accounting 211 help her tremendously.

One of Dana’s favorite things about her position is that she travels all around the country, including Mount Rushmore, Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C. and more.

Penn State PRSSA has taught Dana how to be a more effective leader and manager.  She said being president of PRSSA benefitted her because she was able to meet so many different people who had impacts on her life, and she hopes do to the same for future PR professionals.

“Thinking about the freshmen members when I was a senior, I’d like to know that in 4-5 years they’ll be out in the workforce being great PR professionals and that I had an impact on them,” Bubonovich said.

Dana has taken advantage of the PRSA Associate Membership available to recent college graduates and is now part of PRSA Chicago. She has attended a young professionals network meeting and has been networking and discussing different aspects of PR with her new PRSA affiliation.

Dana said what she misses most about Penn State is the atmosphere of a college town. She misses seeing friends in class and going to football games.

“This was the first time I didn’t have a first day of school,” Bubonovich said. “It was heartbreaking because I just wanted to go back to Penn State to see my friends and eat at the Waffle Shop!”

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