Biola University’s award-winning student-run PR agency, 6th Street Public Relations, received reaffiliation from Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National this year. Firms that are nationally affiliated are “among the upper echelons” of student firms in the country and “represent the most accomplished and successful student-run firms” by PRSSA Chapters, according to PRSSA National.

The classification by PRSSA National makes 6th Street one of three nationally affiliated firms on the West Coast. Student agencies provide a distinct learning opportunity for students and is a key distinctive for Biola’s Public Relations program.

“To be part of a nationally affiliated firm is huge! I was going through presentation material to bring to classes for 6th Street Application Awareness and found out we're 1 of only 30 nationally affiliated firms. Adding to that, we're the only Christian firm,” said Charlotte McKinley, assistant agency director for Fall 2020. “Our agency has something special because we are a Christian firm affiliated with a secular organization. We have the ability to shine God's light to other firms through our work ethic and what we bring to the proverbial table.”

Nationally, student-run firms have been highlighted as a key value for PR education and a significant opportunity to equip students with portfolio pieces and leadership skills. This experiential learning equips students to be more competitive for internships and jobs.

“There is no substitute for real-life experience and experiential learning. This is precisely why being a part of a student-run firm is such a valuable opportunity,” said professor of public relations and 6th Street agency faculty advisor, KiYong Kim. “We've been affiliated for 9 out of the last 10 years of existence as an agency. We need to reapply for affiliation every three years. In addition to having to operate at a high level, serving their clients with excellence and professionalism, the extensive and rigorous application process that the agency had to go through is something to be greatly celebrated.”

In its ten-year history, 6th Street Public Relations has supported global charities, local start-ups, and community organizations such as TruAdopt, Hope International, Santa Ana Zoo, Union Rescue Mission and Samaritan’s Purse. The staff and leadership are composed of an interdisciplinary team of students from Biola University, providing students of any major the opportunity to be part of the staff.

“I feel truly blessed to be part of a nationally affiliated PR Firm, an opportunity that isn't offered at many universities,” said alumna Jessica Cornel (’20) who served as agency director in Spring 2020. “6th Street PR is truly astonishing due to the number of diverse backgrounds and majors that we have. Our advisor and public relations program really enhances our experience with the outstanding, unconditional support they provide.”

Although there were added stressors with COVID-19, 6th Street has sustained a thriving environment for pre-professionals and continued to offer opportunities to provide creative solutions, strategic counsel and valuable PR support to clients, leading to the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships. Through creative efforts to shift the work environment to more independent work at home and weekly check in points, 6th Street has been able to maintain a professional and productive agency accomplishing tasks like pitching to the UCI Burn Center and helping them launch a bilingual social media campaign around Thanksgiving, partnering with Biola Wellness Ambassadors to assist them in creating a strategic communication strategy including social media and developing a brand guide for an orphanage in Kenya.

PRSSA is the student organization of Public Relations Society of America — a leading organization serving communications professionals.

Learn more about 6th Street Public Relations’ opportunities and accomplishments.

Learn more about and apply to Biola’s Public Relations program.

Written by Joy Blea, media relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, assistant director of strategic communications and media relations, at jenna.loumagne@biola.edu.