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The scholarship is awarded at the discretion of PRSA Maryland’s Executive Board to a student who demonstrates excellent academic credentials and the potential for a successful public relations career.

Kathleen S. Kelly, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA was a tenured professor of public relations at the University of Florida, from which she retired in 2019.​ She has been a member of PRSA since 1978 and was active in the Maryland Chapter for many years serving as chapter president 1986-87. In spring 1991, at the 30th Best in Maryland Awards event, the Maryland Chapter named Kelley “PR Professional of the Year” and renamed its annual undergraduate scholarship to “The Kathleen S. Kelly” in honor of her contributions to the Maryland Chapter of PRSA and public relations education. Click here to read more.


  • To honor the outstanding achievements of an individual public relations student.
  • To encourage all students to strive to high levels of performance and participation as they prepare for careers in public relations.
  • To connect PRSSA chapters and public relations students to PRSA Maryland.


  • A one-time award (amount determined by board).


  • College-level student with sophomore or junior status.
  • Enrollment in college or university in Maryland; or a resident of Maryland attending college outside of the state.
  • Concentrated study in an area of communications with the intention to pursue a career in public relations.

Selection criteria:

  • Excellent academic record (minimum 3.0 GPA overall and grades of B or better in all public relations, English and/or writing courses.)
  • Commitment to public relations as demonstrated by:
    • campus public relations activities
    • membership in PRSSA and/or other career-related student organizations
    • public relations work experience (paid, volunteer, internship)
    • other involvement in campus and/or community organizations
  • Financial need is not considered in selecting the recipient.

Selection procedure:

  • Call for applications, along with deadline and selection criteria will be announced by:
    • letter directly to all PRSSA faculty advisors and Maryland college communications departments
    • information on PRSA Maryland Web site
  • Applications will be reviewed by the PRSA Maryland Education Committee
  • The Education Committee will narrow the field and make a recommendation to the Executive Board of PRSA Maryland.
  • The PRSA Maryland Executive Board will review committee recommendations and make a selection.
  • Education Chair will notify scholarship recipient

Application procedure:

To be considered, the student must submit the online application below along with the following documents:

  • A 500 word or less essay in response to one of the following topics:
    1. Why have you chosen public relations as a career?
    2. Describe a public relations project or program you have managed (as part of an internship, for a student organization, as a volunteer or for a class project).
  • An official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended
  • A comprehensive student resume covering criteria areas – see Selection criteria above
  • Two recommendations (one from a professor and one from an internship supervisor or other source). Reference letters must specify the relationship to the applicant (i.e., professor, employer, internship supervisor, etc.) and should address the following:
    1. What qualities does this candidate exhibit which indicate potential success in the public relations field?
    2. In what capacity have you observed the candidate’s skills? Specific examples would be most helpful.
    3. Why do you believe this candidate is deserving of a competitive scholarship award? How does he/she stand out above other candidates?
    4. Do you have any concerns about this candidate’s qualifications for the public relations field?

Please contact us at info@prsamd.org for more information.

  • List any additional college or university and years attended
  • Attached the following documents: 1) official transcript(s) from all colleges or universities attended, 2) student resume, 3) two (2) letters of recommendation. *See above for criteria.
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