Breann Sheckells and Michaela Vallonio are the Slaters of the Month for February.
This month’s Slaters of the Month were both born Aug. 9, 1998. They major in communication/journalism and have an emphasis in public relations. They also minor in business and perform behind-the-scenes public relations for The Slate.
As The Slate’s public relations dream team, Sheckells and Vallonio will share the award this month.
For the past few years, Sheckells and Vallonio worked behind the scenes to provide The Slate with promotional content. From fliers, open houses and scheduling posts on The Slate’s social media, the two tag-teamed public relations to make the organization look good.
“[The Slate gave me] the opportunity to create promotional ideas, promoting events, meeting other people and telling them what I do,” Vallonio said.
The two met as friends down the hall in the Seavers Hall on-campus before they joined The Slate. Back then, Sheckells had an emphasis in electronic media. She joined The Slate as the assistant web director in 2016. She later signed on as public relations director when the previous director graduated. Around the same time, she changed her major emphasis to public relations.
Vallonio joined The Slate her sophomore year as Sheckells’ assistant. While her title reads “assistant public relations director,” Vallonio and Sheckells agree it is an equal power dynamic. They split the workload and delegate tasks between themselves.
“Michaela and I have a good dynamic. We are both in PRSSA and AMA,” Sheckells said. “We’re usually on the same page.”
In addition to working at The Slate, both Sheckells and Vallonio are a part of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA). Sheckells also performs with SU’s In-Motion Dance Troupe, and has been the group historian since her sophomore year.
They both have internships to give them real-world experience. Sheckells interned at Forrester Farm Equipment and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. She previously interned at Tierney Communications and D&H Distributing. Vallonio is interning at SU Magazine and FischTank PR.
Sheckells’ favorite part of public relations is reputation building and brand management and wants to pursue a career in public relations in the future. Vallonio loves meeting people and telling them about the work she and Breann do for The Slate. Vallonio’s dream job is working at WebFX or Bravo, but she is also interested in nonprofit organizations.
Sheckells said The Slate allowed her to gain skills related to her public relations field. Public Relations meetings at The Slate helped her plan out agendas and prepare for the real world. Meanwhile, Sheckells used The Slate as an opportunity to prepare professional materials applying skills learned in her classes.
“InDesign is my best friend,” Sheckells said.
Vallonio said The Slate gave her an opportunity to combine and practice skills from print/online, electronic media and public relations in the communication/journalism department. One of the biggest changes Vallonio brought to The Slate is using Hootsuite, a program for scheduling social media posts to promote The Slate. Before that, Vallonio needed to manually send posts at the specific time.
Sheckells, who is the daughter of Scott and Janene Sheckells, has one sister, Colleen, who attends Savannah College of Art & Design.
Vallonio, who is the daughter of Michael and Colleen Vallonio, has one sister, Madison, who is a freshman at SU. Meanwhile, her older brother Brandon graduated from Purdue University in winter 2019 and her youngest sibling, Jackson, is still in high school.