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SMU Chapter of PRSSA Tours the Dallas Headquarters of Texas Instruments

On November 12, 2009, members of the SMU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America had the opportunity to visit Dallas-based global semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and learn from top communication professionals. The chapter’s faculty advisor, Christy Baily-Byers, and Gail Chandler, SMU alumna, Dallas Public Relations Society of America member, and TI public affairs communications director, worked closely with the chapter to help make the tour possible.

Throughout the tour, PRSSA members heard from a variety of public relations professionals describing their role in the communications department at TI. First, Donna Coletti discussed her job as director of regional communications and market research. Chris Rongone followed by explaining investor relations and the requirements of a publicly held company to communicate accurate financial information to its shareholders and financial analysts. Next, corporate communications representatives Kim Morgan and Ingrid Scroggins presented the external and internal communications of TI. Scroggins showed members TI’s “InfoLink,” a new online employee communications site used not only for traditional “employee newsletter” style, but incorporating social networking into the workplace. They have already had some success with this “cultural shift,” but hope that they will be able to help all TI employees adapt to this new way of communicating with their colleagues. Janell Mirochna, Julie Davis and Amber Pizano spoke about their product-focused communications work within TI’s analog business unit.  TI’s director of worldwide corporate citizenship, Trisha Cunningham, concluded the event by speaking about the company’s citizenship strategy, commitment to social responsibility and partnerships with local, national and global communities.

TI specializes in digital and analog semiconductor technology today, althoughoriginally founded as an oil exploration company in the 1930s. A TI engineer, Jack Kilby, created the first integrated circuit, sparking the shift to the digital age starting in the late 1950s. The integrated circuit is found in almost every electrical device we use today. Computers are often the first item connected to the integrated circuit, but semiconductors are used in thousands of different electronic devices. These “chips” are produced in a “clean room.” Due to the size of the circuitry on the chip, even tiny particles of hair, dust or skin are big enough to ruin the chip. To demonstrate this, Mirochna passed around a glass salt shaker that was approximately three inches in height and filled with tiny TI chips. Guests were asked to guess the number of chips  in the shaker. The results were surprising as nearly 3,000 chips filled only a quarter of the shaker. The tour ended with a visit to the advanced TI video filming studio.

“The trip was very educational and helpful for students pursuing careers in communications,” said PRSSA Chapter President Cari Perez. “PRSSA helps create opportunities like the TI tour for its members, and allows students to be introduced to, gain knowledge from, and network with professionals in their field.”  

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