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Wiethe receives top PRSSA honor

Rhyanna Wiethe attends PRSSA conference

Rhyanna Wiethe, a Journalism master’s degree student in the WVU Reed College of Media, has been awarded the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Gold Key Award – the highest individual honor bestowed upon PRSSA members.

Created in 1983, the award recognizes students who display outstanding academic excellence in public relations and leadership qualities within their PRSSA chapter. Wiethe was one of 26 students chosen nationally.

“PRSSA has meant the world to me and provided so many opportunities for me and others,” said Wiethe, who completed her BSJ studies as a public relations major in 2022. “My knowledge of public relations and confidence to go for what I want in terms of my career and professional relationships has grown exponentially because of my involvement with PRSSA.”

Wiethe has been a member of WVU PRSSA since her freshman year and has held numerous executive board positions including blog coordinator, events coordinator/public relations director, and president. As president, her goal was to rebuild chapter attendance and group chemistry after a period of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wiethe coordinated a series of in-person, interactive workshops to get students excited about PRSSA.

As an undergraduate, Wiethe was named a College of Media Outstanding Senior, as voted by the faculty. She was also chosen by a selection committee to receive a WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior award.

“Rhy has shown so much dedication to WVU PRSSA, and I’m thrilled she is being recognized nationally with this award,” said Geah Pressgrove, Advertising and Public Relations program chair and faculty advisor for WVU PRSSA. “She has a bright future in public relations, and I can’t wait to see what she will accomplish.”

Wiethe was recognized at the PRSA/PRSSA International Conference in Dallas-Fort Worth in November along with other Gold Key Award recipients. She attended the conference with fellow College of Media student and WVU PRSSA digital media director Mallory Sibble. The annual conference provides a space for professionals and students to further their professional development, network and enhance their knowledge of public relations issues and best practices.

“I learned so much at the conference, and the best part was networking,” Wiethe said. “I happened to sit next to a professional that had won awards for her work in corporate social responsibility initiatives. I was so lucky to end up at a table with someone who was accomplished in the exact area that I want to pursue after I graduate in May.”