Happy summer, everyone! My name is Carolyn Harpster and I am so honored to be Penn State’s 2013-2014 PRSSA president! I am a rising senior majoring in public relations and minoring in business, and this summer I am interning virtually with two different companies. I was born outside of Washington, D.C., but moved to State College when I was in seventh grade and consider myself to be a “townie.”
If you are interested in joining PRSSA or would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me or the executive board at any time for more information. I can’t wait for the year to start, even though I can’t fully accept that this will be my last year as a Penn Stater.
I recently sat down with Kelly Newburg, our outgoing president, for a light-hearted interview that I hope you will enjoy:
Kelly: Tell me about an embarrassing moment.
Carolyn: My first internship was with a radio company called Forever Broadcasting. While I was interning there, the country station Froggy101 needed someone to fill in as the frog mascot. I was the lucky chosen one and sported an oversized frog suit on hot, rainy and snowy days. It’s not something I’m proud of.
K: Now that school is over, how are you filling your time?
C: Lying on my couch watching Netflix. I cannot stop watching “Scandal” on ABC. If you are interested in crisis management I suggest turning it on right now. It took me about three weeks to finish two whole seasons…it’s a problem, and my grade in accounting may have suffered because of it (Worth it.)
K: What is something people may not know about you?
C: I was a vegetarian for a year and a half until we got a Chipotle in State College. I just had to have that chicken burrito.
K: What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
C: Passing accounting. No, really. I started crying during the final.
K: Is there anyone specific you would like to bring in as a guest speaker this year?
C: I have two people in mind! The first is Kelly Cutrone, who is the founder of People’s Revolution, one of the most powerful fashion PR companies in the world. (You may also recognize her from “The Hills,” “The City,” and her own show, “Kell on Earth”). She recently published a New York Times best-seller titled “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” and she also has replied to me on Twitter, twice! (This is a big deal to me). When I asked her if she would be interested in speaking at Penn State in the fall, she responded, “Always!!” I will keep you posted.
The second person is Aliza Licht – Donna Karan (DKNY) International’s Senior Vice President of Global Communications and the voice behind the famous Twitter account DKNY PR GIRL. She is a social media genius and from what I can tell, very down to earth despite her amazing job. She also just gave a TED talk in Times Square, which made me fall in love with her even more! (She also loves “Scandal”…)
K: Who is your favorite person to spend time with?
C: My boxer-pitbull-black lab mutt, Bleu. He is the love of my life and was a gift to me when we moved to State College. My mom is actually very involved with stray/abandoned animals in Centre County, and we have all sorts of dogs in and out of house on a weekly basis. Today, it’s a Great Dane named Lincoln (a 200 pound lap dog) who drools like no other.
K: Where do you see yourself after you graduate?
C: New York City, baby! I lived there last summer and I am desperately missing its energy, craziness and bright lights. Career wise, however, I have no idea. To be determined!
K: Where do you see Penn State’s Chapter of PRSSA headed in the future?
C: I want PRSSA to have a larger presence on campus. I would love to recruit students from other majors because you don’t have to be a PR major to join and excel in PRSSA. I am hoping to bring in some amazing, well-known speakers, and would like to budget for pizza at every general meeting.
K: Do you have any advice for younger members?
C: It’s perfectly OK if you don’t know what you want to do, or who you want to be. I graduated from high school thinking I wanted to be a broadcast journalism major because I spent four years as an anchor on our televised morning announcements. I was completely wrong. PRSSA has opened so many doors for me, but you only get out of it what you put into it. Work hard, show up, dedicate your time and network well, and I promise you won’t regret it! I look forward to an amazing year as PRSSA grows into an even more amazing organization!