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Assistant White House press secretary briefs Loyola PR students

December 11, 2009

Assistant White House Press Secretary Nick Shapiro told public relations students that his “work is challenging, long and hard,” but not without rewards, during a conference call Friday in which he described his experiences as a public relations practitioner and his path to Washington, D.C.

Shapiro, who helps coordinate communicating President Barack Obama’s messages on homeland security and federal emergencies, is a former student of Loyola University New Orleans public relations professor Cathy Rogers, Ph.D. Shapiro cross-enrolled for Rogers’ public relations writing class while a communications student at Tulane University.

He credits Rogers with imbuing in him an intense interest in the public relations field, teaching him valuable skills and connecting him with a top-notch internship at Deveney Communications, which put his career into motion.

“What I learned in Dr. Rogers’ class has helped me immensely,” Shapiro said. “I am using everything I learned.”

As an employee at Deveney, Shapiro volunteered for the Louisiana Democratic Party, which led to positions in the presidential campaigns of Senator John Kerry and Barack Obama.

Shapiro now works closely with senior homeland security advisers to the president to better understand decisions made and to determine the best way to communicate them to the media and the American people.

As one of four assistant press secretaries on White House staff, Shapiro also has the opportunity and responsibility of accompanying Obama on visits across America that are related to homeland security issues, and he takes turns with other staffers preparing for and escorting the president on international trips. He recently returned from an official state visit to Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea to help strengthen ties between Asia and the United States.

Preparing for these trips is challenging, but satisfying, Shapiro told the students.

“I never imagined I would be in Asia to begin with,” Shapiro said. “It’s a wild, wild ride, where things happen on the spot and you have to think quickly to react. Trips always wind up being fun and exciting.”

It reflects his overall feeling of the career that has taken him from St. Charles Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue and beyond:

“Walking in and out of this building everyday is an amazing reward.”

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