Amy Schmitz is an adjunct instructor of public relations in the Newhouse School, where she received her master’s in communications management.  Schmitz is the director of communications for ProLiteracy Worldwide, where she develops communications strategy and messages to broaden and deepen influence, develops strategy and priorities for e-advocacy and public policy communications, and oversees their design and production team.  She also leads cross-divisional teams to identify and prioritize communications needs, leads social media efforts, writes and edits organizational materials for fundraising, and serves as executive editor of the organizational website.

Q: What is your favorite course you teach in Newhouse?

A: I have taught basic and advanced writing.  I prefer advanced because we’ve tried to infuse that with social media and looking ahead at the different changes in writing as a result of digital media.  It’s timely and fun.3d5c248

Q: Do you have any particular interest(s) within public relations?

A: I love media relations, despite the fact it has changed.  It’s exciting and really invigorating to talk to reporters and get them excited.  It’s still fun to connect with people in the same way.  I also really love reputation management, strategic communications, government relations, and exploring the new social media tools.

Q: What is your favorite part of working in public relations?

A: There are so many different aspects to it.  I’m never going to go in my office and say I am working on this one thing all day.  I love that energy and multi way of approaching things. It fits my personality.

Q: What motivates you?

A: Making a difference.  I have settled into nonprofit public relations.  It’s where it matters to me to make a difference.

Q: Did you always want to work in public relations and/or communications?

A: No, I started off as a teacher in a public school system in D.C.  I didn’t know public relations existed until about five years into my career.  I fell into it through media relations.  I thought, “Wow, this is fun.”  I just kept growing with it from there.

Q: How did you know you wanted to work in public relations and/or communications?

A: I faxed a press release and didn’t really know what I was doing.  I got the media attention I was seeking.  I saw how important it could be to connect projects with the the general public through media.  Media relations was definitely my way in.

Q: What has been your proudest moment in your communications career?

A: I’m proud of the op-eds I’ve placed in national dailies such as the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Newsday, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I’m also proud of the role I played in helping my organization pull off a major conference in 2011 in Houston, which featured Barbara Bush, former first lady, as a keynote speaker.

Q: Do you have any fun fact(s) about yourself?

A: I like to knit and do yoga.  I will hopefully be doing my first triathlon this summer.  I spent two years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, and I speak a little Portugeuse.

Q: What is/are your favorite quote(s)?

A: “A wise man [or woman] will make more opportunities than he finds” (Sir Francis Bacon) and “Virtue will eventually be recognized, love will finally prevail, and despair that threatens to settle in permanently can be dissolved by genuine affection” (The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler Putnam).

Q: What qualities do you think make a student successful?

A: Self-motovation and discipline are very important.  Also, time management, eagerness, ability, interest and motivation.

Q: What qualities do you think make a person successful?

A: In addtion to what makes a student successful, honesty and integrity, and being assertive, respectful and open-minded.

Q: Do you have a personal message for Newhouse students?

A: Be passionate about what you decide to do.  Don’t lose that passion and drive because without it, it’s not worth doing.