Finding the Niche

By: Aaron Bonner

Having the opportunity to speak with recent graduate Shira Mahler gave me great insight in what to expect with future career plans. Mahler contributed to Penn State PRSSA in a very similar fashion to that of my own. This intrigued me to pursue this alumni spotlight. Although we have held positions as the communications committee chair, our majors differed which led to some interesting conversation.

Mahler, a 2010 Penn State graduate, grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh called Mt. Lebanon. Additionally to contributing her time in PRSSA as the communications committee chair, Mahler was also involved with THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, where she was part of multiple committees and Obama for America during the 2008 presidential election. Academically, her degree included a public relations major and dual minors that included political science and Hebrew. Initially, she said that she was interested in pursuing a career in political public relations. Fortunately for Mahler, she was able to land a job through a variety of Penn State career services at a company based out of Washington, D.C.

Currently, her job position is a research coordinator, marketing and public relations at O’Keefee & Company. It is an established and well-respected marketing communications firm. O’Keeffe & Company is a very tech focused agency with much government orientation. Mahler’s current project is an event in Washington, D.C. which includes work with their client, Adobe, as well as other government organizations. Some of her responsibilities include editorial work, outreach, pitching, and sponsorships.

Mahler credits the experience in PRSSA to have helped her during the writing aspect of her work. She also stressed that writing and editing are key components one should have when entering the job search and industry of Public Relations. The final part of our discussion had to do with what she missed most about Penn State. Mahler was without a doubt sure that having so many friends, so close to each other, in one college community was what she missed the most about Penn State.

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