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Meet Your 2023 SOC Student Commencement Speaker

Get to know PRSSA President and Stafford H. Cassell Award Winner Sophie Myers.

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Sophie Myers

Last week, American University (AU) senior Sophie Myers was named the 2023 School of Communication (SOC) student commencement speaker. Myers is originally from Alexandria, Virginia and has spent the last three years studying Public Relations and Marketing.  

During her time at AU, Myers has been heavily involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) serving as both the Vice President, and this past year, President. Coming back to campus after remote learning during the pandemic, Myers desired to help her fellow students reconnect and build community on campus. One of her professors, Gemma Puglisi, encouraged her to join PRSSA, and Myers said she found her home there. In her time as PRSSA Vice President and then President, she has seen the organization more than double its membership and hosted over 20 engagement events this year alone. When asked what she learned from her time leading PRSSA, Myers said, “Being President doesn’t just mean you get to tell others what to do, sometimes it means you take on more work. I’ve learned to be more aware of the needs of others on my team and how to make sure everyone is supported.”  

In addition to her role in PRSSA, Myers was also a member of the initial cohort of SOC3, an integrated communications agency that gives students the opportunity to work with real clients at an actual agency for organizations and companies interested in having a meaningful impact on society. Sophie worked as the Research & Insights Analyst and on the Advertising Team for DC Central Kitchen. She praised professor Pallavi Kumar, who conceptualized and leads SOC3, for pushing the cohort to work across disciplines and draw on the expertise of film majors, public relations students and journalists. SOC3 was instrumental to Myers’ understanding of the value of storytelling, and how it intertwines specifically with media relations. 

Final Parting Thoughts with Sophie Myers

While looking back at her time at AU, Sophie shares what's next after graduation.

Myers has also been named the 2023 Stafford H. Cassell Award winner. This university-wide award recognizes one senior who has shown total, selfless dedication to the University, profound energy, reliability, intellectual curiosity, friendliness, and helpfulness. Myers was surprised and honored to receive the award and remarked on how so many of her classes and professors had encouraged her diligence inside and outside of the classroom. She thanked professors Leonard Steinhorn and Puglisi for their mentorship, and professors Scott Talan, Kumar, Christie Parell, and Jason Mollica for their dedication to teaching and ensuring their students are ready to face the challenges of the communication industry. This summer Myers will be interning with the Global Brand Department at Marriott International before jumping straight into her Masters of Strategic Communication at SOC, working as a Graduate Assistant researching Crisis Communication for professor Parell.  

Outside of SOC, Kogod Professor Michael Clayton opened her eyes to the impact of copywriting within the analytical approach to advertising, leading her team to win a case study award for their work in his class. 

As she looks back on her undergraduate experience, she encourages incoming freshmen to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. She didn’t expect to become so involved in PRSSA or SOC3, but the encouragement of her professors and her personal desire to grow led her to seek out new challenges. In her upcoming commencement speech, she hopes to remind graduating students to “keep integrity front and center” as they embark on their next steps in the industry.