Double success for Murdoch at PRIA awards

October 4, 2012

Renae Desai and Sean McMahon

A Murdoch University graduate has won the WW Mitchell Student of the Year Award for the second year running at the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) State Awards.

Sean McMahon from Singleton, who graduated on the same night as the awards were announced on September 20, wowed the judges with his communications strategy in response to a hypothetical scenario.

He follows on from the success of fellow Murdoch PR graduate Jessica Sashegyi, who won the award in 2011.

Mr McMahon, who now works as a Communications Consultant at Platform Communications in Perth, said the double success illustrated the high standard of the Murdoch public relations program.

“One of my closest friends, Charlene Ellison, was the other Murdoch students nominated, which made it quite a challenge!” said Mr McMahon, who graduated from Murdoch with a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations and a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

“We all had 10 days to pull together the strategy. I drew on what I learned at University as well as my experience in the workforce to try to make a campaign that was engaging for stakeholders, stayed within the allocated budget and achieved the set goals in the brief. The brief allowed me to really be creative and innovative and try to shake up the industry with the campaign.

“My employer, Platform Communications, was really supportive during the process – it took a significant commitment of my time outside of work to prepare the strategy, and I was so fortunate to have been able to draw on my colleagues’ wealth of experience in getting feedback on the strategy.”

Murdoch Lecturer in Public Relations Renae Desai was also successful at the awards night, picking up a Highly Commended in the Government-Sponsored Campaigns category for her work on the Australian Asbestos Network, which aims to raise awareness about the impact of asbestos across Australia.

Ms Desai has been working on the project, along with School of Media Communication and Culture colleagues Associate Professor Gail Phillips, Associate Professor Lenore Layman, Associate Professor Chris Smyth, Dr Mia Lindgren and Ms Zoe Croft for four years and it forms the basis of her PhD.

“For me the award is an acknowledgement of the practice-led research process we have undertaken. I’m very proud of the fact that a research project of this sort has received industry recognition,” she said.

“My submission will now be judged at a national level but that’s not the end of the campaign. I’m planning a social media campaign and we’ll be hosting a stakeholder event at Murdoch in November during Asbestos Awareness Week, so the work we submitted for the competition is only a portion of the project.”

The Australian Asbestos Network is a unique collaboration with medical and epidemiological researchers at the University of Western Australia and public health researchers at Curtin University. It is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and works alongside state and federal government agencies, not-for-profit, advocacy and charity organisations to tell the story of asbestos and its impact on the Australian community now and into the future.

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Comments (One response)

Bill MacRae October 5, 2012

Well done Sean and Renae!!

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