In the midst of these unprecedented times, many students must consider various financial avenues in order to fund their education for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year. Every year during the fall, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Miami chapter hosts its annual Ev Clay/PRSA Miami Chapter Endowment Fund Luncheon, reflecting on the past year as a chapter and looking forward to the future. The endowment fund was established in 1985 in memory of Miami public relations pioneer, Everett A. Clay. “Ev” Clay believed strongly in the principles of PRSA—principles he incorporated into his own professional life. He was a founding member of PRSA’s Miami Chapter, established in 1955, and was the first accredited member and first to receive its lifetime achievement award.
Ev Clay scholarships support excellence in the public relations profession by awarding outstanding students who are studying and contributing to the field of public relations and in need of financial assistance. Scholarship recipients attend Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Miami.
“Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients! As a past scholarship recipient myself, I know firsthand how this will help you as you follow your dreams, especially during these challenging times,” said Melisa Mendez Chantres, president of EvClay Public Relations. “As you pursue your career, upholding the principles and ethics of PRSA, the legacy of Ev Clay will continue.”
Now in its 33rd year, most of the scholarship recipients hailed from FIU’s School of Communication + Journalism. Kimberly Aldunate, Ashley Gonzalez, Aaliyah Gordon, Ashley Nunez, and Hortence Pouparina will all be honored virtually at the annual luncheon set for October 2, 2020, during a live Facebook awards ceremony at 3:30 PM. The ceremony is open to all Communication students – click here to register for more information.
Aldunate is a senior in the Department of Communication majoring in public relations, advertising, and applied communications (PRAAC) with a certificate in social media and e-marketing analytics. Currently, she is a district ambassador, president of the FIU chapter of PRSSA, and the director of digital media in FIU’s chapter of the American Marketing Association.
“I was surprised when I saw my name. I feel so thankful and honored!” Aldunate shared. “This is the second year I am selected by PRSA Miami for the Ev Clay Scholarship and I will be forever grateful. PRSA Miami is an amazing organization for communications professionals and once I graduate, I plan to join them and help them in their initiatives.” Due to the pandemic, Aldunate, unfortunately, lost her job, so the scholarship would be lifting a huge financial burden from her shoulders.
Gonzalez is about to begin her senior year at FIU, majoring in PRAAC with a minor in general marketing. “With the rush of happiness soon came relief.” Gonzalez said. “Knowing that this award will considerably alleviate my financial concerns helped me put my mind at ease and fully apply my efforts toward my education.”
The current pandemic has severely affected Gonzalez and her family. However, with this scholarship, she has been able to remain focused on her future as she wants to pursue a master’s degree.
“I deeply thank everyone on the scholarship committee, and I will be forever grateful for their decision!”
Gordon is currently a senior majoring in PRAAC. She also formerly served as the Communication + Journalism senator within the FIU’s Student Government Association. Since she pays out-of-pocket for her school, the scholarship will assist her with tuition fees.
“To be honest, I was surprised that I got it (the scholarship). Even when I received the notification, I thought, ‘I didn’t get it.’ When I finally gained the confidence to read the list of the people who got it and saw my name, I jumped with happiness and called my parents immediately! Thank you to the Ev Clay/PRSA Miami Scholarship committee for this scholarship.”
Nuñez is also currently a senior, majoring in PRAAC with minors in hospitality studies and social media and e-marketing analytics. She is pursuing certificates in global media communication and visual production, as well. Nuñez also holds the position of senator-at-large within FIU’s Student Government Association. Her focus there is representing and advocating for the entire student body at FIU.
“When I received the news of the scholarship, I was shocked because scholarships are not that easy to get and this is going to help me so much with everything going on.” Nuñez said. “Presently, I have faced financial difficulties and I am unable to cover all the expenses brought upon by the university. I did acquire a job to help cover tuition and living expenses but, unfortunately, it is not enough.”
She applied to this scholarship with hopes of being able to focus her attention on her studies and graduating for her family. She wants to show them that all of their sacrifices have not been in vain.
“Nothing would make me happier than knowing my family feels proud of me. Being a senior and nearing graduation in the spring of 2021, this scholarship serves as a stepping stone toward my path into becoming a future creative director.”
Each student will receive $3,400 to assist with educational expenses. Since 1985, the PRSA Miami Chapter has now honored Ev Clay’s memory by awarding more than $301,800 to 172 students studying public relations at colleges and universities in South Florida.
“PRSA Miami is incredibly thankful for the legacy that Everett A. Clay built so that we can continue providing scholarships to South Florida students who will one day become the leaders of our profession, said Erika Mayor, current president of the PRSA Miami Chapter. “This year marks a special milestone for the EvClay/PRSA Miami Chapter Endowment Fund, as we surpassed $300,000 in donations to deserving students in our community. We look forward to honoring this year’s scholarship winners and continue this great legacy for the public relations profession.”
To make a donation, please go to http://www.evclayprsa.org/