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Meadows Student Taylor Reed is a PR Week National Finalist

Taylor Reed, a Meadows Communication Studies sophomore, is one of five national finalists in PR Week's Student of the Year competition

Taylor Reed, a sophomore majoring in communication studies at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been named one of five national finalists in the PRWeek Student of the Year competition. She will be flown to New York for the second round of judging that takes place January 25. The winner will be announced at the annual PRWeek Awards dinner and ceremony in New York on March 10.

The Student of the Year competition, sponsored by PRWeek Magazine, was launched in 2000 to encourage bright students to enter the PR profession, and to celebrate creativity and strategic thinking around real-world communications topics. The competition invites undergraduates from any academic area to create a full-fledged communications campaign around a brand or company, which is determined in partnership with the sponsor. The assignment is designed to demonstrate the student’s writing ability, planning skills, strategic approach and creativity.

This year’s assignment was to create a campaign for SanDisk Corporation, the global leader in flash memory cards. The company wanted to target students and encourage them to use the flash cards to capture their college memories. The campaign goals were to drive awareness of SanDisk’s technology in a fun and interactive way, using social media and more traditional PR strategies.

Reed completed the SanDisk campaign as part of required coursework during her Introduction to Public Relations class in fall 2010, taught by Christy Baily-Byers, APR. Professor Baily-Byers, who encouraged all of her students to submit their projects for the competition, said, “Taylor’s entry was definitely one of the strongest. It is a huge honor to be named a finalist and we are thrilled for her!”

PR Week editors selected five finalists, who will be brought to New York in late January to pitch their ideas in person, in front of an expert panel. The winning student will be awarded $5,000, a paid internship at Hill & Knowlton and the opportunity to attend the PRWeek Awards 2011 dinner on March 10 in New York along with the top leaders in the industry. A runner-up will be awarded $1,000 and the opportunity to attend the awards dinner.

The competition website notes that PRWeek Student of the Year winners “have gone on to successful careers in public relations, and have been sought-after employees by some of the top firms in the country. The program is a great proving ground for talent, and also offers marketers and companies a chance to see how they are perceived from a student perspective.”

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