Brianna Petrauskas ’17
Castle Rock, Colorado

Making her mark

Softball is what brought Brianna to Northwestern, but the opportunities, supportive faculty and friendships she’s made have kept her here. In addition to playing varsity softball, she also writes for Northwestern’s student newspaper, the Beacon; is a tutor in the writing center; serves as a teaching assistant for business professor Erica Vonk; and worked as a student caller during the college’s phonathon. Now she is the Beacon’s advertising manager and a public relations executive for Northwestern’s student-led PR firm, Crosswalk Media.

Finding the right fit
I switched my major three times—from bio-health to social work to English teaching—but each one was always missing something. Throughout that process, many of my friends majoring in public relations would not leave me alone because they all thought PR would be the perfect fit for me. Turns out, after completing a test in the Career Development Center, meeting with communications prof Ann Minnick and taking the Intro to PR class, they were right. I love public relations because I get to work with people and use my creative abilities in designing and writing. Not only that, but the major is like a dynamic tool I can apply to any of the things I am passionate about, whether it be sports, charity, the environment or health. 

Giving props to profs
The communications department faculty are incredible. They are always encouraging and believe in each one of us to accomplish our goals. Whenever we need professional advice, someone is always available to listen and help. Sometimes, I think they want to see us all succeed even more than we do because they share in our excitement when we find a new client to work with or come across a new opportunity.

Keeping it real
The biggest strength of the communications department is its focus on building real-world experience before graduation. The department’s student-run PR firm meets the needs of companies in Orange City. This last semester, my group worked for the Winter English Program at NWC. After interviewing our client, we made a logo, brochure, poster and letterhead for their program. In addition to working with clients, the department also requires an internship, which can be fulfilled through opportunities in local communities or abroad in Chicago and Denver. I feel a lot more prepared because of the emphasis on “doing,” rather than just reading from a textbook.