Category Archives: Public Relations

Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient Michael Aho ’02 Visits School of Communication

School of Communication alum, Michael Aho ’02, will be presented with an East Carolina Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award Friday, October 16, 2015.

In recognition of this award, the School of Communication is hosting an open house in his honor, Friday, October 16 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. in the Joyner East Conference Room 101.

Throughout the years, Aho has been a great supporter of ECU and the School of Communication. Aho helped create the School of Communication alumni group, CommCrew, and currently serves on the school’s advisory board. Aho received the inaugural School of Communication Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010. Additionally, Aho has funded a scholarship opportunity for the School of Communication with the Michael Aho Annual Scholarship for Communication that awards an undergraduate or graduate student in communication majors $1000.

Currently, Aho is a political officer at the U.S. Department of State. Throughout his career, Aho has been involved in international relations having served at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Now in Washington, D.C., he works on European security issues. He has received numerous awards for his service in his career, to his Alma Maters, and within his community.

About receiving this distinguished award, Aho stated it “is unexpected at this point in my life and incredibly humbling. “ He went on to say that the recognition is “really less about me and more about what ECU is choosing to recognize—that younger alumni are movers and shakers in their line of work. The recognition means a lot because I hope it shows anyone that anything is possible.”

For more information, visit East Carolina Alumni Association




Returning alumna to share experiences in public relations, health communication and research

April Paul Baer

Health communication professional and ECU School of Communication graduate, April Paul Baer, will be returning to campus as a visiting professional to the School of Communication on Feb. 17 and 18.

Baer is currently the Director of Student Wellness at Frostburg State University in Maryland. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations in 2006. After earning her master’s degree in the School of Communication’s health communication concentration in 2008, she began working for Frostburg State as the Coordinator for University Wellness.

“While working to obtain my master’s degree at East Carolina, I realized how much I enjoyed facilitating research within the realm of higher education,” said Baer. “Thankfully, it led me to where I am now.”

While visiting ECU, Baer will be a guest lecturer in several School of Communication graduate and undergraduate classes, focusing on public relations and health communication. She will also be sharing her recent work experiences with a nonprofit organization, The Water School, in rural Uganda.

Baer credits her graduate position with the School of Communication as a research and teaching assistant and her time with ECU’s Campus Living as a resident assistant with preparing her well for her current work.

In addition to class presentations, Baer will be speaking at the School of Communication convocation for students in the interpersonal and organizational concentration; and, to the PRSSA organization.

All ECU students are welcome to attend any of her class presentations and guest lectures. For more information and specific times and locations, please contact the School of Communication main office 252-328-4227 or email

Public Relations Professional and ECU Alumna Ashley Boarman speaks to students about her “career and passion”

Ashley Boarman

Ashley Boarman, a public relations senior account executive with MGH in Baltimore and a 2008 graduate of the ECU School of Communication, returned to campus in October to share experiences and advice with current public relations students. [Watch the video.]

As a young professional who has already built an impressive resume with both in-house and agency public relations experience, Boarman gave students a feel for the real work of public relations, while dispelling some of the myths.

“Being successful in public relations takes a lot of hard work and dedication, ” Boarman said. “It’s not usually as glamorous as it is often portrayed on television.

“Boarman talked specifically about really getting to know clients and their industries, as well as the media and their areas of interest and expertise.

“Public relations is hard to quantify,” she said. “A lot of what I do is having good story ideas regarding my clients and pitching them to the media. The payoff comes when such a story happens, but I can’t control when or if that might be.

“In the past year alone, Boarman has placed client news in publications ranging from “Self” magazine and “The New York Times,” to the front page of “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Baltimore Sun.

” She also recently finished working on a piece with Maryland Public Television for one of her clients, The Classic Catering People, caterers to the Baltimore Ravens.

Students were inspired by Boarman’s enthusiasm, openness and success.

“I thought she was wonderful,” senior public relations student Kaylee Bythell said. “She was so enthusiastic and helpful in telling us what she does and how she got from where we are to where she is right now.

Boarman’s visit was sponsored by the School of Communication in collaboration with the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership.

2012 Visiting Scholar: Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition

robin bronk

The School of Communication recently welcomed Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, as its fall 2012 Visiting Scholar.

Bronk was in Greenville from Oct. 23 – 26 as a guest of the School of Communication. She served as the keynote speaker for the School’s Annual High School Media Workshop on Oct. 25, as well as a guest presenter in select public relations classes. Bronk also spoke at a community event at Emerge Art Gallery in Greenville on Oct. 25.

Robin Bronk is Chief Executive Officer of The Creative Coalition–the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment industry. As CEO, Bronk is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating the entertainment industry and arts community on issues of public importance, particularly the First Amendment, arts advocacy, arts in education, and media literacy. Since being appointed to the position in April 2010, she has exponentially grown The Creative Coalition’s operating budget by designing and instituting corporate sponsorship programs and cause marketing opportunities.

To learn more about Robin Bronk and The Creative Coalition, visit

Two [SOC] Alumnae Find Success Building Their Own Savvy PR Company

Jamie Sigler and Sarah Evans

When two Pirates and best friends packed up their bags, loaded their cars and headed to the West Coast for a warm-weather adventure shortly after graduating, they never imagined that it would lead them to where they are today.

These two alumnae, Jamie Sigler and Sarah Evans, are now the co-founding partner and managing partner, respectively, of J Public Relations, one of the top luxury hospitality and lifestyles public relations firms in the country.