The scholarships are named in honor of Ev Clay, founder of the oldest public relations firm in Florida, and awarded annually at the PRSA Miami scholarship luncheon.

Five University of Miami students recently received the 2019 Ev Clay/Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Miami scholarship award to propel them further into their college careers.

In total, eight South Florida students were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the field of public relations at the 32nd endowment luncheon. Since its founding in 1985, and including this year’s awards, the endowment has presented $274,250 in scholarships to 161 students.

Each recipient took to the podium to thank donors, family members and professors who have helped them on their academic journey thus far. Lecturer Heidi Carr of the School of Communication was highly touted among the five UM students for being a wonderful mentor.

Junior Christopher Salomon, one of the recipients, has managed to work full-time as a director of front desk for Hilton while simultaneously enrolled as a full-time student. When finding out that he had “finally won something,” he couldn’t contain his excitement.

“When I opened the email, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Salomon. “I have to pay for tuition out-of-pocket, so this is extremely helpful. I have to thank Heidi Carr because she has provided me with great opportunities and knowledge.”

The scholarship seeks to support the brightest scholars in public relations while commemorating the legacy of Everett Clay, the founder of what is today Florida’s oldest public relations firm now led by his daughter, Dana Clay.

Kristen Kasmai, a senior majoring in public relations and a scholarship recipient said, “It’s an honor to be recognized by people who I dream of working with one day.”  

Natalie Abatemarco is a public relations major with a unique passion for costume design. She hopes to merge her love for fashion and strategic communications post-graduation.

“My minor is Spanish as well as theatre so I’m looking forward to doing more of that in the future,” said Abatemarco, who has been a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America since she was first-year student.

As Clay presented Hannah Culver-Zawislak with her scholarship, she was moved to tears as she recalled Culver-Zawislak’s touching essay and video about VIBE 305, a food truck that employs work-ready young men to become successful small business entrepreneurs.

“Thank you to the committee for selecting me and thank you [Professor] Carr for pushing me to do more,” said Culver-Zawislak, who plans to use her time giving back to the community once she graduates.

Senior Amalia Ivaldi, who is also a public relations major, wants to use her bachelor’s degree to work in the music industry one day.

“I am so appreciative that this scholarship will allow me to worry less about finances,” said Ivaldi, who has a double minor in music business and French.

Following the scholarship presentation, the audience praised and applauded the future college graduates as they stood proudly with their $2,750 scholarship checks that will be able to be used toward their education.

“This moment just makes all of the sleep that I have sacrificed worth it,” said Salomon.

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