Professor and Students Recognized at Journalism and PR Conferences

Biola's Public Relations Student Society of America chapter receives award and professor Michael Longinow spoke at a recent journalism conference

Jan. 5, 2017 By Erin Wilson

Biola University public relations and journalism students and professors were recently recognized at industry conferences across the nation.


Biola’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) received the prestigious Star Chapter award and a recent graduate from the Biola public relations program, Victoria Pettit-Rodriguez, also won the Gold Key award at the PRSSA national conference held in October 2016. In addition, Biola professor of journalism Michael Longinow presented his findings on covering stories of trauma with compassion at the convention of the Associated Collegiate Press.


Biola's PRSSA Receives Star Chapter Award

Biola’s PRSSA chapter received the Star Chapter award to honor their achievements and leadership initiative during the past year. Chapters of any size are eligible for the Star Chapter award each year upon completion of at least eight of the ten possible activities or programs. The requirements to be considered for the award include components such as the completion of community service projects and presentations at the chapter on the importance of ethics. Biola PRSSA hosted a high school outreach session and engaged in other leadership activities from a list of possible programs determined by the national PRSSA organization.

“Receiving the Star Chapter award was definitely exciting news for our chapter,” said Lauren Peterson, president of the Biola PRSSA chapter. “We've worked hard to meet these requirements and [winning the award] was one of our chapter goals from the beginning of this year.”

Peterson also expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement from the public relations department at Biola through the process of achieving the award.

Pettit-Rodriguez (‘15) was honored at the PRSSA national conference with the Gold Key award. The Gold Key award award signifies a great accomplishment in leadership and training received while at Biola University in both the public relations major and in Biola PRSSA. The award can only be given to a student who held a leadership position in their chapter prior to applying for the award. It is the highest honor a PRSSA member can receive.

“Being honored at the PRSSA National Conference is such a treat,” said Pettit-Rodriguez. “PRSSA is the perfect outlet for students wanting a career in PR because it gives [them] a stepping stone and real platform to learn.”

The award reflects the effort put into strengthening personal skills that will be used in the future throughout a career in public relations. It is a reflection of Pettit-Rodriguez’s knowledge in public relations, her skills in networking, and her understanding of how to conduct herself in a professional environment.

Former Biola recipients of the award have been Biola public relations alumni Melissa Strom (’15) and Jessica Airey (’14).

Journalism Professor Presents Research on Covering Trauma

Longinow, professor from the journalism department at Biola, presented in mid-October at the fall 2016 convention of the Associated Collegiate Press organization held in Washington, D.C. His session titled “It Hurts More Than You Think: How To Cover Trauma With Compassion,” was based on research he completed during his sabbatical in early 2016. Students from colleges and universities across the U.S. attended the session and shared stories of trauma they have covered as journalists.

The workshop also focused on how trauma affects journalists and discussed ways students can prepare themselves to do reporting on trauma both on campus and after graduation. His report explained the research on trauma in journalism and emphasized the importance of self-care.

“Too many journalists – much like cops, emergency medical personnel, and military personnel – neglect self-care even when they’re suffering from trauma’s effects,” Longinow stated.

To learn more about the department of Media, Journalism and Public Relations, visit the website. Learn more about the Biola PRSSA chapter by reading information about how to get involved.

Written by Erin Wilson, public relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations specialist, at (562) 777-4061 or


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