May graduate wins Inspire Award from N.C. Public Relations Society of America

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication May graduate Michelle Park received an Award of Excellence in the Creative Tactics category of the N.C. Public Relations Society of America Inspire Awards.

This is the sixth straight year that a UNC J-school student has taken home an Inspire Award. Park is the only student to receive an award at this year’s annual event to recognize professional accomplishments in public relations.

Park, from Raleigh, was honored at the Inspire Awards banquet Tuesday, May 12, for her “S’mores with Stephanie” event held Jan. 26 to promote the school’s Roy H. Park Library. She came up with the event and promotional activities after using the library for a class project and wishing she had known about Park Library resources earlier. 

The event featured a reverse panel interview session in which student experts talked about their research experiences at the Park Library and a research race interactive game that provided participants research tricks and shortcuts to save time and gather quality information. The event also featured desserts (s’mores), a hot chocolate bar and Q&A time with library director Stephanie Willen Brown.

Park developed pre-event and post-event promotion via social media using dessert-themed graphics and the hashtag #ParkLibSavesTime, as well as promotional cards placed on library tables and other high-traffic areas in Carroll Hall.  She posted event photos on social media afterward.

Her project mentors were assistant professor Nori Comello and Brown. "Michelle was delightful to work with," Brown said. "Her enthusiasm was wonderful, and she was a hard worker who believed in her product."

The judges commended Park for developing promotional methods catered to students that were easy to implement on a low budget and for conducting post-event evaluation. One judge called Park’s activities that got students to use library resources “brilliant…. I’ve seen many promotional projects get too obsessed with promotion for promotion’s sake and miss the point about actually producing the desired engagement,” the judge wrote.

Attending the Inspire Awards banquet with Park were Comello, senior lecturer Valerie Fields, associate professor Lois Boynton, professor of the practice Rick Clancy and doctoral candidate Joe Cabosky.