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Graduate Spotlight: Public Relations Certificate Program – Shay Trembley

Did you know the Volunteer Chapter launched a Public Relations Certificate Program last year with the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs? The certificate required completion of four elective modules and three core modules: Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Writing, Public Relations Ethics and Legal Issues. Among the students seeking certification was Shay Trembley (pictured), and she answered a few questions for us after completing her certificate.

What motivated you to seek the Public Relations Certificate?
I had recently accepted a new job as Public Relations Contact at a local Utility company, the position was both new to me and new for the utility company.  SO I figured I needed all the help and education I can get!! I am blessed that I have the full support of my employer, as they covered all the cost for the courses.

If you had to name the three most important (or helpful) things you learned during the process, what would they be?

  1. I learned several helpful editing/proofing tips for publishing articles I’ve written.
  2. I learned about communication styles, both how I communicate and how others communicate. And from that I can modify how I deliver information to different groups of people so that I can be the most effective when I need to communicate.
  3. I learned the importance of creating, earning, and growing business relationships. In my position at the Utility company, it is very important that we maintain good relationships with our local emergency support organizations, media outlets, as well as other organizations in our area – should we have an emergency where we need to notify the public ASAP, these relationships will be imperative. (I also learned some very valuable tips for communicating to the public during a crisis or emergency!)

What advice do you have for others who find themselves in a public relations role without a public relations background?

TAKE THIS COURSE! I found the instruction to be invaluable, it was also a growing and learning experience for me as well.  Not to mention that you are likely to meet others in a similar situation to you.

How do you think the Public Relations certificate will aid in achieving your career goals?

The education I received while earning the certificate will make me better at my job, no question.  I have already put to use the skills I earned, I have published a press release and had two news articles written about our company in the local paper.  I have attended networking events and made numerous connections.

Would you encourage others to pursue a certificate? Why?

Yes, Do It!  Few places can you be part of a group of professionals from so many different walks of life, coming together with the same desire to better themselves, to learn a set of skills, and to grow professionally.  In my experience it was empowering!

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