Earn Recognition and Educational Funding through PRSSA National Awards and Scholarships

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

  1. Never let your mind fool you into thinking you don’t deserve the awards as much as others.
  2. Apply for every scholarship for which you qualify. If the applications are similar, it only increases your chances of winning.
  3. Don’t be too humble. Share your experiences, success and achievements with pride.
  4. Start compiling your application early to avoid rushing at the last minute. Submit your application by the deadline.
  5. Connect your application materials directly to the focus and criteria of the scholarship.
  6. Pay attention to all of the requirements and complete the application materials thoroughly.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Encourage your Chapter leaders to complete applications for PRSSA Teahan Awards that will validate their work in the Chapter.
  10. 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.
Amy Bishop is the digital marketing manager for the world’s largest inter-denominational faith-based nonprofit, Cru Global. She is also the social strategist for the PRSA New Professionals Section. She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2012 and was the PRSSA 2011-2012 FORUM Editor in Chief. Contact her on Twitter at @AmyL_Bishop.

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