By Geri A. Evans, APR
“ . . . and the winner of the Ron Culp Scholarship for Mentorship is Kelsey Balimtas, president of the PRSSA Chapter at American University.”
With these words, a very bright and talented young woman pursuing a degree in public communications with minors in marketing and psychology moved her dreams a little closer to reality. But her aspirations and hard work had begun well before she received this coveted award presented at the recent PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia.
Those of you who follow this blog, know that its author believes in preparation, goal-setting, and intentionally pursuing rich and diverse experiences in order to position oneself for employment and success. He also believes in the power of mentoring, of helping others achieve. To that end, he has provided hundreds of tips for those seeking a career in public relations and established the Ron Culp Scholarship for Mentorship, which is a unique scholarship for a special PRSSA student who has helped other students in their career and professional development and who demonstrates the desire and ability to mentor in the future.
This year’s recipient embodies those qualities. “Hundreds” probably describes Kelsey best: hundreds of hours devoted to helping students get acclimated to college; hundreds of hours serving in campus leadership roles, in representing the School of Communication during admission days, in reaching out to local public relation professionals in order to enhance the professional and personal development of her PRSSA chapter members, and certainly in creating and implementing special events for the University.
Kelsey also has spent hundreds of hours in gaining experience that will serve her well at work and in life as well. She worked at the Foundation for International Education in London, was a social marketing fellow at Ketchum in DC, a public relations intern at Spectrum Science Communications, a marketing and communications intern at the National Children’s Museum, and a social media/marketing intern at Relish all in the Washington, DC area.
This list of internships is impressive, but equally so is her desire to be of help to other students. She is a marketing and communications tutor at the American University Academic Support Center, a student staff assistant in the School of Communications Undergraduate Advising Office, a student ambassador for the School of Communications, a member of the Ambassador Mentor Committee, and a high-energy president of PRSSA who has a “way of creating and marketing fantastic ideas that stick,” according to one of her professors.
Another wrote, “Kelsey is a model student, a passionate humanitarian, and an exceptional communicator. She is well-respected, enthusiastic, welcoming, talented and well-deserving.”
As one of the PRSA national board liaisons to PRSSA, I had the honor of presenting the Ron Culp Scholarship to Kelsey. As we talked about the award and its generous funder, we talked about the importance of mentoring – of how finding a person whose wisdom and life’s experiences and desire to share and ask questions can make all the difference in one’s life. We also talked about the intangible value and tremendous personal satisfaction of helping someone else succeed.
After reading Kelsey’s application and letters of support and after meeting her in person, I have no doubt that she will continue on the path of amazing accomplishments, surrounding herself with good people, finding mentors to help her in each step of her career, and always seeking to help others. She is an exceptional recipient of the Ron Culp Scholarship for Mentorship.
Geri A. Evans, APR, serves on the National PRSA Board of Directors and is PRSA Liaison to PRSSA. She is President of Evans PR Group in Longwood, Florida.