Sarah Mondello Places Second for PR News’ 2017 PR Intern of the Year

Sarah Mondello, a public relations, writing, and graphic design student at Drake University, has received Honorable Mention for 2017 PR Intern of the Year by PR News, placing second in the competition. Mondello, a senior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, received the award Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the PR People Awards Luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“I’m very thankful for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s thoughtful nomination and the opportunity to represent Drake and Drake Community Press while learning from seasoned PR professionals at the award ceremony,” Mondello said.

PR News‘ PR People Awards is an international competition that recognizes the top talent whose work is making an impact in the communications field. The recipients of this award represent the professionals who are responsible for outstanding PR achievements made in the past year. PR News wants to meet the best in PR and introduce them to the thousands of readers of PR News and their key stakeholders.

Intern of the Year nominees must establish themselves quickly as self-starting members and idea generators for a communications team; exhibit strong writing skills, professional demeanor, and smart use of digital tactics; demonstrate an interest in pursuing a PR career; and provide an example of a strong campaign, initiative, or volunteer activity that shows their passion for the field and potential talent as a professional.

Mondello was selected for her work at Drake Community Press (DCP). DCP is a two-year curriculum-based publishing laboratory, nonprofit, and community engagement experience. Distinct from the typical university press model, DCP prides itself in the community aspect of book publishing. DCP partners with the community to produce nonfiction publications whose proceeds benefit the community.

Over the past two years, Mondello has been responsible for editing and promoting its latest book release, A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland. During this time, she has discovered the value of crafting promotional materials for use at public events.

“As my first steps toward becoming a literary PR professional, I have cherished my time with DCP,” Mondello said.

Mondello’s supervisor, DCP Director Carol Spaulding-Kruse, said Mondello has been instrumental in her work at the Press.

“Sarah designed two strong pieces of collateral at a last-minute point in our book production; she kept apace with an intense round of editing lasting several weeks as we finalized the chapters for publication—all while juggling a very full load of coursework and extra-curricular activities. And she did all of this with professional polish in her materials, presentation, and attitude. I began to rely on Sarah’s astuteness, flexibility, and know-how. Her desire for achievement is unfailingly ethical and sane,” Spaulding-Kruse said.

“I’m thankful for Carol’s mentorship and guidance,” Mondello said.

Matthew Thornton, assistant professor of public relations, nominated Mondello for the award.

“She is certainly deserving of this recognition. Her academic performance and work on behalf of the Drake Community Press is very impressive and speaks to her commitment as a student and intern,” Thornton said.

Kelly Bruhn, assistant professor of public relations, said Mondello was their first choice during the PR faculty retreat over the summer.

“We were so happy to nominate her. I’m so grateful that they recognize her hard work internationally,” Bruhn said.

Jennifer Konfrst, assistant professor of public relations, said “this is a wonderful testament to her hard work, dedication, and talent.”

Upon graduation in May, Mondello plans to supplement being a novelist (a profession she had already begun with a debut book release through a publisher at age 18) with a career as a book publishing professional.

“In Sarah, you have not only a highly ambitious and capable young person but someone who will emerge as a leader,” Spaulding-Kruse said.