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Student first to win PRISM award for PR plan

Submitted by Lisa Lakey on November 20, 2010 – 4:21 pmNo Comment

Gabriella Corriere (left) receives a certificate for the PRISM award from PRSA member Heide Harrell (right) of Mangan Holcomb Partners.

In September, a student from the school of mass communication became the first UALR student to win a PRISM award from the Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Gabriella Corriere, junior strategic communications major, wrote a PR plan for an Introduction to Public Relations class, taught by marketing and advertising professor, Karen Hood.  The plan utilizes the trolley system to prevent drunk driving in the Little Rock River Market.

Amy Barnes, mass communication professor, encouraged Corriere to submit it. “I knew that she did the caliber of work that would impress the judges,” she said.  “And it did.”

Corriere became accustomed to hard work at an early age.  Born in Queens, NY, to immigrant parents, she describes her childhood home as “a very strict household in an old-school Italian family.”

“My father was a perfectionist,” she said.  “Nothing was ever good enough.”

The family moved to Florida when Corriere was 13.  Upon graduation, she was offered numerous scholarships.  “My father told my guidance counselor, ‘Why don’t you give that money to someone who deserves it? She’s not going to college,’” Corriere said.  “I remember being crushed.”

“My parents were not supportive,” Corriere said.  “But I did it anyway.”

Every day while attending the University of Florida, she rode her bicycle to classes, then to her two jobs.  Not far into her college career, Corriere was forced to take a medical leave from school.  She took a job with Alltel Wireless, which is now Verizon.  Her career led her to Little Rock and UALR to pursue her degree.

“I don’t regret anything,” Corriere said, “Because I wouldn’t be the person I am if things had transpired differently.”

And now her hard work is being noticed.  “Gabriella has impressed a lot of people in the profession,” Barnes said.  One judge told Corriere that the creativity and quality of her work was better than most professionals she had seen.

“It really validated what I’m doing,” Corriere said. “My parents not being supportive hurt, but it forced me to rely on myself and realize that if I wanted to do something it was going to be me that had to do it.”

Above her desk, Corriere keeps a framed Nike ad that she came across when she started college.  “I look at it every day,” she said. 

It reads, “All your life you are told the things you cannot do…they will say you’re not good enough or strong enough or talented enough…they will tell you no, a thousand times no, until all the no’s become meaningless… And you will tell them yes.”

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