Member PRofile: Jennifer Cook

July 19, 2017

Jennifer Cook
Director of Communications, Education & Engagement

Give a brief explanation of your job. 
I manage all internal and external communications, including WUCF TV’s print and electronic newsletters, press releases, on-air promotion, web site and social media. I manage promotional production and campaigns along with station education initiatives and community engagement events. I also do work on the national PBS level as a member of the PBS Communications Advisory Council, the PBS Brand Council & the PBS Digital Advisory Council.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join? #myFPRA
I have been in FPRA for two years. I have previously worked in media relations before a long career in the Orlando news world. Moving over to more of a PR role was a bit of a change, so I really wanted to reinforce my skills and expand my support system with the wonderful people at FPRA. While in news, I was often invited to Media Mashup, and I have always enjoyed those experiences with such a great group.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
Media Mashup – for me it’s like a reunion with lots of old friends in the news world along with all my new friends in the PR world!

Tell us about an exciting achievement.
I have the best of both worlds. WUCF is a university licensed PBS station. Therefore, I am a UCF employee and have access to a wide variety of experts, research and visionaries. But as a PBS station, I also have access to PBS stations and resources from across the country. I’m proud that in just over two years at WUCF, I have been appointed or elected to three different national boards within PBS. Now, I get to have a voice at the table where decisions are made that will impact the entire system of stations.

What was your first job?
My first job was working at my high school television station. I helped organize the school’s audio/visual gear and helped teachers produce video content for them to use in the classroom. I got paid $10/hour and that was in the early 90s. I thought I was a rockstar.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
Most people know that I am a pop culture junkie and Disney addict. But what most people don’t know is that I am also a member of the Orlando Curling Club. Yes, we curl in Orlando and it’s awesome. Perhaps one day you’ll see me in the Olympics.

Contact Information:

Quotes Corner

July 19, 2017

Randi Rioux
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF

The New Kid in Town

I remember the jittery feeling I had moving from a small suburban town to this massive, fast paced city. I felt completely out of my comfort zone, yet at the same time, I was beyond excited. I jumped right into my classes, got a part time job at the happiest place on earth, and quickly settled into this new life I made. However, as my senior year of my undergrad is fast approaching, I can’t help but still feel a little new.

When I moved to Orlando, I started my journey at Valencia College where I earned my associate’s degree in Fine and Studio Art. I was extremely proud of this accomplishment considering since I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was draw. I always imagined becoming an illustrator for a production company or a book publishing studio. I was feeling on top of the world the day I got handed my first degree, but then something very interesting happened that I believe changed the way I looked at the path I was so set to walk on.

I received an acceptance letter from the University of Central Florida just days before Christmas of 2015, with it, a pamphlet about a few programs that would best suit me- one of which came from the Nicholson School of Communication. I scanned through the pages and quickly became interested in the Advertising and Public Relations program. That same week, I toured the school and the rest is history. I applied to the program and was accepted the night before my birthday- needless to say, there was a lot to celebrate! However, my journey didn’t end there.

Sitting in my first Advertising and Public Relations classes, I couldn’t help but feel like a total fish out of water. From the conversations I heard, nearly everyone around me had been set on this amazing program; I just got in! I felt like I had a ton of catching up to do! I needed to figure out ways to get more involved so I could immerse myself and learn even more. I was quick to join Quotes soon after, which was one of the best decisions I made. Quotes helped me find solid ground in this new program I was in. Everyone at the first meeting was so kind and helpful. I remember feeling like I could breathe easy because a lot of students shared the same experiences with me and walked on all different kinds of paths to get here; for the first time that semester, I didn’t feel alone.

As the months went on, I made some vital connections and attended some amazing events all thanks to Quotes. As Spring came to a close, I got invited to the final board meeting and was asked to become the graphic designer. I was nervous but beyond honored to accept. My classmates and colleagues have some incredible experience and I can only hope to meet their expectations for the upcoming fall semester. Though I’ve only been in the program for one semester, it feels like I’ve been there much longer. A year ago, I would have never thought I’d be sitting here writing a blog post about the time I took a leap of faith to change the path I was walking on and be so happy I did. I still feel like I have a lot to learn, but I’ve never been so eager and ready to do so.

Chapter Rewind: 2017 Central Florida Media Mashup

July 19, 2017

Chapter Rewind: By Gabriel Soltrén

Congratulations to our newly pinned APRs Jed Dunstan, APR, Dan Higgins, APR, Christopher Patton, APR, Tom Morrissey, APR and Kayla Stanley, APR.

The grand opening of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) national campus in Lake Nona was on center court at Media Mashup. Grand Slam winning professional tennis players Jim Courier and Chris Everet attended the opening of the Home of American Tennis USTA National Campus in Orlando. Trina Singian, Director of Corporate Communications announced that the facility with 100 tennis courts will also be the home of the University of Central Florida tennis teams.

Keynote speaker Jennifer Wakefield, APR, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Orlando Economic Partnership and Alayna Curry, APR, FPRA President. Orlando Rocks, #WhyOrlando and You Don’t Know the Half of It were the names of initiatives developed to promote the City of Orlando by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Corporation renamed Orlando Economic Partnership in 2017.

Our members also enjoyed breakout sessions on improving media pitches, media relations basics, public relations video skills and media training top executives. The event featured a speed networking session where attendees got to meet and pitch local reporters one-on-one.

Obassador Panel

  • Brendan O’Connor – Bungalower – @bungalower
  • Whitney Gonzalez – &Barr @citywhit
  • Jon Busdeker – The Collective – @jonbusdeker
  • Jen Vargas – Central FL Top 5 – @jenvargas

Pump Up the Pitch

  • Mark Schlueb – UCF
  • Heather McPherson – RockawayPR
  • Dana Jay – Fox 35 Orlando
  • Elisha Pappacoda – Lake County Government

Breakout Sessions

  • Joel Staley – Media Training for the C-Suite
  • Jenny DeWitt – UCF PR Pro to Video Pro

Back to [Media] Basic

  • Jennifer Cook – WUCF TV
  • Michelle Burdo – Media Trainer
  • Paul Brinkman – Orlando Sentinel
  • Aaron Sanders – WESH 2 News

Headshot Photography

  • Thalia Bunch

Speed Networking Roundtable

  • LaFontaine Oliver – WMFE
  • Paula Machado – InfoMas
  • Aaron Sanders – WESH 2 news
  • Michelle Burdo – Media Trainer
  • Joe Ruble – WDBO
  • Ginger Gadsden – WKMG anchor
  • Emilee Speck – WKMG digital
  • Jen Vargas – Central FL Top 5
  • Barry Glenn – Orlando Magazine
  • Scott Fais – Central Florida News 13
  • Jon Busdeker – The Collective
Thanks again to our Central Florida Media Mashup Sponsors!

Click here for 2017 Central Florida Media Mashup photographs.


Call for Nominations: 2017 Chapter Awards

July 11, 2017

The FPRA Orlando Area Chapter is now accepting nominations for its two annual awards. The Member of the Year Award recognizes one member who has made a significant contribution to the Association through leadership, enthusiasm, involvement and support.

The Bob Davis Award is named in honor of the late Dr. Bob Davis, Ph.D., ABC, APR, CPRC, retired professor from the University of Central Florida who gave tirelessly to our chapter and FPRA for over three decades. This award honors an individual who has worked behind the scenes in the past year to support FPRA.

Candidates must be nominated by someone in the profession. Please include a brief narrative of no more than 500 words detailing why the person should be recognized, the accomplishments/contributions that illustrate why the candidate warrants consideration, and the inclusion of committee work and/or other FPRA involvement. Nominees must be active FPRA members in good standing. Individuals may not endorse more than one candidate per award.

Nominations for members of our Board of Directors are appropriate.

Nominations should be sent to Chapter President Alayna Curry, APR no later than Friday, August 4.


Member of the Year – Heather Smith, APR
Bob Davis Award – Lauren George, APR

Member of the Year – Jeff Grainger, APR
Bob Davis Award – Julie Hall, APR

Member of the Year – Alayna Curry
Bob Davis Award – Nicole Huie

Member of the Year – Sara Channing
Bob Davis Award – Laura Kern, APR

Members of the Year – Cassie Roach and Brian Craven
Bob Davis Award – Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC

Member of the Year – Stefanie Macfarlane, APR
Bob Davis Award – Jennifer Gammage

Member of the Year – Doreen Overstreet, APR
Bob Davis Award – Rachael Gmerek

Member of the Year – Jamie Floer, APR
Bob Davis Award – Tami Karaba

Member of the Year – Keith Salwoski
Bob Davis Award – Amanda Forbes, APR

Member of the Year – Chris Gent, APR, CPRC
Bob Davis Award – Cynthia Lambert, APR

Member of the Year – Bob O’Malley, APR
Bob Davis Award – Rachel Kingston

Member of the Year – Bonnie McGuire
Bob Davis Award – Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC

Member of the Year – Brie Turek
Bob Davis Award – Chris Gent, APR, CPRC

Member of the Year – Jeni Hatter
Bob Davis Award – Trent Flood, APR

Member of the Year – Bill Randolph
Bob Davis Award – Doreen Perez