Each year, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) gives an award in honor of former Temple University faculty and former Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) advisor Jean Brodey to an outstanding junior or senior in the Philadelphia area who demonstrates excellence in leadership. This year's recipient of the Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award is recent Klein College of Media and Communication graduate Mackenzi Hockensmith, KLN '21 (she/her).
"She was really a leader in the Philadelphia community and was really influential to Klein College as a whole," Hockensmith said of Brodey.
For the 2020-2021 school year, Hockensmith served as PRSSA president and led the chapter in a charge to create more diverse programming and have more diverse speakers at their meetings. "Under her leadership, the speakers that we had come to PRSSA last year were elevated," said current PRSSA Faculty Advisor Gregg Feistman (he/him).
Feistman, who is a part of PPRA, nominated Hockensmith for the award.
"There's no one more deserving of that award," said Director of Diversity and Inclusion for PRSSA Olivia Mianulli (she/her). "Last year was a really weird year with COVID and PRSSA and she handled it so gracefully."
Though the March 2020 PRSSA district conference that Hockensmith planned before she became president was cancelled just days before the event, she did not let the pandemic affect her involvement in the association.
"This past year, having the opportunity to lead in such a dynamic and different atmosphere honestly was such a great opportunity and I think it really showed what our PR students and what Klein College has to represent in this industry coming forward," Hockensmith said.
Mianulli noted that Hockensmith was always engaging at meetings and leading by example, doing research and planning events for the organization. Hockensmith also helped calm her nerves about her role as director of diversity and inclusion. "I could not have done it without her," Mianulli said.
Now, Mianulli is planning this year's district conference, and even though Hockensmith has graduated, she still supports her and is there if Mianulli has any questions or concerns.
Currently, Hockensmith is wrapping up a post-graduation summer internship with Riester Public Affairs and is optimistic about the prospects of getting involved with local chapters of the Public Relations Society of America and networking in the field she loves so much.
"It was such a great opportunity and I'm so glad that I not only was able to receive this award, but I was able to really spend my last year with so many great people and get to know so many students at Temple," Hockensmith said.
"She's a star. I think she is going to have a great career in anything she does," Feistman said.