Mentoring and Empowering Students

Win-Wins in Internships, Student-Run Firms and Service Learning Projects

Open to All PRSA Members | Hosted by the Educators Academy

This section webinar is not currently available. Email the Professional Development Department to inquire about future availability of this program.

Categories: Communication Strategy, Techniques & Tactics, Writing

Whether you’re an educator or a practitioner, real-world experiences for college students can be beneficial for all involved; if done well. Realize the value of mentoring programs, student-run public relations firms, and other college-connected activities by embracing practical coaching strategies designed to help create ideal outcomes for students, practitioners and organizations.  This webinar will discuss best practices and effective student-practitioner partnerships as well as research-based information about setting up everyone for success.

By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the structure and elements required to facilitate successful mentoring relationships and programs.
  • Learn key insights from student-run firms, internships and service-learning projects.
  • Motivating Gen Z in the workplace.
  • Help students communicate the value of the real-world experience in job applications.


Deborah Davis, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, assistant professor of practice, Texas Tech University

Photo of Deborah Davis, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

Dr. Debbie Davis ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an award-winning educator, communications practitioner and former TV news producer. To the classroom, she brings extensive experience in corporate communications for multiple Fortune 500 companies.

At Texas Tech University, she primarily teaches in the online graduate program and advises the student-run agency, RaiderComm PR. She was recently selected as a Service Learning Fellow for the upcoming school year.

Dr. Davis’ research interests include student-run agencies, advising and PR pedagogy. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the role of faculty advisors in student success. At Ball State University, she taught multiple service-learning courses and served as faculty adviser to Cardinal Communications, which was one of the longest-operating student-run agencies in the nation. In 2016, she co-advised a collaboration of BSU and University of Indianapolis PR students who successfully hosted the PRSSA National Conference.


Mary Ann Pearson, Ed.D., APR, professor of communication, California Baptist University

Photo of Mary Ann Pearson, Ed.D., APR

Mary Ann Pearson has more than thirty years of experience in Leadership, Journalism, Public Relations and Education. Pearson worked in public relations specializing in marketing and public relations campaigns in property management, real estate and nonprofit work. She served as an Elementary teacher prior to moving to higher education.  Pearson is involved in the community and has worked with the Hispanic Literacy Program, Give Big Riverside, Girl Scouts of America, PRSA Capio, Colton Joint Unified School Districts Superintendent’s cabinet, International Mentoring Association and other organizations including supporting internships with the Riverside Downtown Partnership and PRSA.

She is an accomplished freelance writer, teacher and leader. Pearson researched mentoring and effective journalism/public relations instruction as a part of her doctoral dissertation and has coached dozens of millennial students to help them complete successful internships that became job offers. She researched and designed the curriculum for the BA and Master Degree in Public Relations at CBU. Her doctoral research on Millennial students and effective educational experiences offers insight into the changing fields of journalism and public relations. She is an active member of PRSAIE and serves as the director at large for PRSSA, a professor of communication studies at California Baptist University and holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from La Sierra University. Pearson has mentored hundreds of students and faculty members. She helped students to successfully enter the field of public relations and professionals to enter the academy as adjunct faculty members.  Her hobbies include spending time with her husband, grown children, grandchildren and dogs. She is avid cyclist and loves to participate in Bible studies at her church.

C.L. Lopez, human services, San Bernardino Human Services

Photo of C.L. Lopez

C.L. Lopez has been the San Bernardino County Human Services Communications Officer since 2012, overseeing communications in nine social services departments in the largest geographic county in the United States. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at California Baptist University and is past president of the California Association of Public Information Officials. She is on the board of the PRSA Inland Empire Chapter.

Her team has had coverage from The Associated Press, Good Morning America, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, People, and The Huffington Post. Her team has received multiple NACo Achievement Awards, CAPIO Awards of Excellence and PRSA Polaris Awards. She has received training from the California Specialized Training Institute California Emergency Management Agency and is a graduate of CAPIO’s J. Lindsey Wolf PIO Institute. During her journalism career, she wrote for daily newspapers, served as president of the Society of Professional Journalists Inland Chapter, won awards from The Associated Press, and was a USC California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in Public Relations from California Baptist University where she is completing a doctorate in public administration.


Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 CEUs for a webinar. Learn more about Accreditation renewal.