MSU Department of Communication launches student-led media agency

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

Those working with MSU’s new Public Relations and Integrated Student Media Agency, or PRISM, include (front row, left to right) Assistant Professor Terri Hernandez; and students Jordan Criswell of Starkville; Charlotte Corr of Franklin, Tennessee; and Tate Smith of Purvis; (middle row, left to right) Liz Roak of Batesville; Emily Pschigoda of Wheaton, Illinois; Carly Pippin of Carthage; and Kylie Tuttle of Ocean Springs; (back row, left to right) Terry Johnson of Jackson, Tennessee; Angela Reives of West Point; Blake Williams of Toney, Alabama; and Malik Ross of Cleveland. (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A new three-hour course in Mississippi State University’s Department of Communication is the basis of the recently established Public Relations and Integrated Student Media Agency, or PRISM.

The full-service, student-led public relations firm is under the direction of Terri Hernandez, MSU assistant professor of communication and faculty adviser. Junior Emily Pschigoda of Wheaton, Illinois, is the first accounts director for the group that provides communication and branding services to local profit and nonprofit groups. 

Hernandez said the student-led team works with clients to learn what types of communication strategies work best for their business or organization and teaches them how to use these strategies to continue to build their brand in the future.

Pschigoda leads a team of 11 students in hands-on planning, developing and execution of client campaigns, and the students earn college credit while getting real-life, practical learning experience and bridging classroom knowledge. Clients do not pay for services, but instead offer a donation to help offset the budget. Pschigoda said clients benefit from a team that is “eager to learn and create.”

“When you work with students like us, you’re getting a group that is unconditionally passionate for the project. You are getting fresh minds with excitement for the profession and a group of people locked into the trends and topics of the time,” Pschigoda said.

Hernandez said Pschigoda’s prior work experience with MSU athletics as leader of the MSU tennis teams’ social media account and liaison for promoting team events means the communication major “is a great asset to the agency because she manages and leads with great competency and always takes the initiative.”

Pschigoda said while organizational skills and a great team are imperative, passion and excitement also are key to success. She plans to graduate in 2020 and seek a public relations career in the sports industry.

“Having worked in athletics for almost two years, I think [the new] agency has really shown me how to think in alternative mindsets with different brands. It has allowed me to be creative for many different types of businesses through writing, social media content creation, and targeting different demographics.”

Additional PRISM team members include:

BATESVILLE—Liz E. Roak, account coordinator, a junior communication/public relations major.

CARTHAGE—Carly L. Pippin, account coordinator, a junior communication/public relations major.

CLEVELAND—Malik T. Ross, creative director, a senior business administration/marketing and pre law major.

FRANKLIN, Tennessee—Charlotte D. Corr, account coordinator, a junior communication/public relations major.

JACKSON, Tennessee—Terry B. Johnson, videographer, a junior communication/broadcasting major.

OCEAN SPRINGS—Kylie R. Tuttle, social media analyst, a communication/public relations major.

PURVIS—Tate O. Smith, copywriter, a communication/public relations major.

STARKVILLE—Jordan Criswell, social media coordinator, a senior communication/public relations major.

TONEY, Alabama—Blake M. Williams, social media director, a junior communication/public relations and journalism major.

WEST POINT—Angela J. Reives, copywriter, a senior communication/public relations major.

Although public relations or communication experience is strongly preferred, PRISM also encourages other majors, such as marketing, business, and law, among others, to join the team to add different perspectives.

Interested students may contact Hernandez at   

For more about the agency, visit:

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, home of the communication department, includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences or the communication department may be found at or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at