During her time as a member of the PRSSA Chapter at Indiana University Bloomington and the 2011-2012 FORUM Editor-in-Chief, Amy Bishop won many awards and scholarships. The following are her tips for submissions to win awards and scholarships in a Q&A format.
Q: What awards did you receive while in PRSSA?
A: The Stephen D. Pisinski Memorial Scholarship, the Betsy Plank/PRSSA Scholarship, the National President’s Citation and the National Gold Key. I helped our Chapter earn the Star Chapter Award and the Teahan Award for Outstanding Regional Conference.
Q: What inspired you to apply for scholarships and awards from PRSSA?
A: While in college, I spent the majority of my time either interning for experience or planning Chapter and National PRSSA programs. When I learned about PRSSA’s Chapter and individual awards, I was thrilled that I could be recognized for all of the hard work I had already done. Also, receiving financial assistance to help with my school costs was an extra incentive.
Q: What experience do you think led you to being selected as the recipient for the awards and scholarships you won?
A: I believe it was a combination of how I tied my experience and specific interests in the profession to the purpose of the scholarships. I had completed many internships, but what mattered was not just completing the internship but the way I could relate those experiences to my future interests and the focus of the specific scholarship I was applying for. Read the details of what is required in each application and what the judges will evaluate, then tailor each of your applications to that criteria.
Q: How did winning these scholarships and awards help you with your education and other areas?
A: In addition to financing a significant amount of my tuition my senior year, the scholarships and awards provided me with notoriety among PRSA members — specifically those in the PRSA Foundation that judged my applications. I was able to include the awards I received on my resume as a “stamp of approval” on my experience in PRSSA.
Also, I applied for Chapter awards related to my responsibilities in the Chapter. When Indiana University received Star Chapter and the Teahan Award for Outstanding Regional Conference, those were a direct reflection of my work as a Regional Conference Coordinator and Vice President. It also served as an extra validation of my hard work when I included it with my PRSSA responsibilities on my resume and talked about it in interviews.
Amy Bishop’s 10 Tips When Applying for PRSSA Scholarships & Awards
- Never let your mind fool you into thinking you don’t deserve the awards as much as others.
- Apply for every scholarship for which you qualify. If the applications are similar, it only increases your chances of winning.
- Don’t be too humble. Share your experiences, success and achievements with pride.
- Start compiling your application early to avoid rushing at the last minute. Submit your application by the deadline.
- Connect your application materials directly to the focus and criteria of the scholarship.
- Pay attention to all of the requirements and complete the application materials thoroughly.
- Show your personality and specific interests in your application. Don’t try to write what you think the judges expect — write about your true passions and interests. Your application should set you apart from the rest.
- Discuss the requirements and/or judging criteria for Chapter awards such as the Star Chapter Award with your members early and begin working on meeting the requirements.
- Encourage your Chapter leaders to complete applications for PRSSA Teahan Awards that will validate their work in the Chapter.
- Don’t forget the individual awards like the National Gold Key Award and the National President’s Citation. These recognitions are awarded to multiple members.