Two Niagara College students win prestigious public relations award

Shianne Stephens and Katie MacCabe, soon-to-be graduates from NC’s Public Relations program, with their CPRS Hamilton Student Awards of Excellence. Niagara College photo

Niagara College press release – On May 14/2019, two Niagara College students Katie MacCabe and Shianne Stephens – who recently completed the Public Relations graduate certificate program and will graduate this spring – won a Student Award of Excellence at the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Hamilton Awards of Excellence Ceremony.

The prestigious and highly anticipated award is granted annually to graduating college and university students in a full-time Public Relations program in the Golden Horseshoe area by nomination. The awards came as a surprise to both NC winners who hail from Niagara – MacCabe from St. Catharines and Stephens from Port Colborne – as they attended the ceremony without knowing in advance that they would win.

“I was so surprised,” said MacCabe. “All I could think about was how there was no way I could have won this award from CPRS Hamilton without the constant support from my teachers, my peers and the industry. Choosing college after finishing my university degree was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve honestly learned so much this year, and any of my successes are a result of the incredible PR program.”

“It was an honour to even be nominated for this award, let alone win with a peer,” said Stephens. “Coming out of university, I was not prepared for the workplace. NC allowed me to get the hands-on, and the real life experience I needed to succeed in the communications field. I loved my time in NC’s Public Relations program.”

CPRS Hamilton grants the Student Award of Excellence to students who have demonstrated: a clear understanding and application of the principles of public relations theory, professionalism and leadership in personal and scholastic activities, a commitment to the future of the profession, and the ability to make contributions to the status and acceptance of the profession.

The awards ceremony took place at Millcroft Golf Course in Burlington and was attended by public relations professions from across the Golden Horseshoe. Two supporters of the students made the recognition possible – Emily McInerney, NC’s PR program coordinator and professor in the School of Media Studies; and Kim Yielding, chief communications officer at the DSBN where Stephens completed her program field placement.

As MacCabe’s professor in the College’s one-year Public Relations program, McInerney recognized her as an all-star in the classroom.

“Katie was a standout students from week one in the program,” said McInerney. “She made a positive impression on all of her professors and peers with her focus, strong work ethic, attitude and professionalism. She excelled academically across all courses and demonstrated a natural leadership ability during teamwork. I have no doubt that Katie will have a long and successful career in Public Relations.”

After completing her program placement at Enterprise Canada, MacCabe was hired by the company in a full-time role.

“This year, I kept thinking, wow – I’ve finally found a career path that I can truly flourish and grow in. Winning this award from CPRS Hamilton really affirmed that for me.”

Yielding, chief communications officer for the District School Board of Niagara and Stephens’ placement supervisor, nominated her for the award.

“I was pleased to nominate Shianne for a CPRS Hamilton Student Award of Excellence,” said Yielding. “During her internship she demonstrated a willing spirit and an eagerness to learn, making her a great ambassador for the future of public relations.”

Stephens’ award also came on the heels of her newfound employment at Niagara College as social media officer in the Marketing department.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my amazing teacher at NC, Emily,” said Stephens. “She puts her heart and soul into every student. I think that’s what makes the PR program so rewarding, you have someone looking out for you every step of the way as your trying to get started in a new profession.”


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