Meet Our 2022 Scholarship Winners
We were gratified—once again—this year to review the impressive applications of the talented public relations and communications students who applied for recognition in our Philip N. McCombs Scholarship Program. We received applications from students attending California State University East Bay, San José State University, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco and UC Davis. This year’s Scholarship Committee (consisting of PR Round Table Board Members Sally Haims, Brenda Kahn and Paul Rose) selected five students to receive scholarships in the amount of $1,600 each. We are proud to introduce you to our five chosen winners, including Baneet Bains, Erin Brown, Nick Garcia, Claire Murphy and Hur-Ali Rizvi.
Thank you to all the organization’s members and supporters for helping us to raise $8,000 to award scholarships to these deserving students.
(Please scroll down to view the video of the scholarship winners, who were introduced at our May 19, 2022, virtual event.)
A junior at the University of San Francisco (USF), Baneet Bains plans to graduate in June 2023 with a bachelor’s in communications and a minor in public relations. She wants to work in a large public relations agency. Passionate about sports, ethics and media, her goal is to diversify the PR field and to create greater awareness about important issues through storytelling.
A South Asian first generation Canadian from Vancouver, BC, Bains is bilingual, and speaks English and Punjabi. As a National Collegiate Athletic Association Track & Field 2021 regional qualifier, and a member of the USF division women’s track and cross-country team, she devotes about 30 hours a week to practice, conditioning and competition while carrying a full academic course load. Baines also works in Game Operations at USF, managing game presentations and operations during athletic events, and is a social media intern with the USF Office of Marketing and Communications.
Bains currently serves as chapter president of the USF Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She is also public relations officer for Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society.
Erin Brown is a rising senior at USF, majoring in communication studies and minoring in media studies, and a scholar in the Eugene Muscat Scholars Program. Following graduation in May 2023, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in public relations and to use her knowledge of the subject to support nonprofit work and to help spread awareness regarding physical health as well as mental health.
Shocked to learn during interviews about the low level of diversity in public relations, she has set a goal to support and inspire diversity within the field. “I believe it is crucial to have diversity within the public relations industry to expand conversations and build stronger relationships with clients,” she says. “In light of the rise of social activism about racial injustices, diversity and talking about race is encouraged in all aspects of life to not only stay up to date with current issues, but spark a conversation and change within the world.”
Brown has experience as a communications associate at The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health. At USF, she serves as a resident advisor, volunteering in the SHaRE mentoring program. Further, her duties include work as an office assistant for the USF Food Pantry. Brown also enjoyed a social media/digital marketing internship at the Kae Whitaker Media Group. She is a member of the Black Student Union, PRSSA and Lambda Pi Eta, a communications studies honor society.
A first semester senior at the University of San Francisco (USF), Nick Garcia plans to graduate in December 2022 with the double majors of communications studies and French studies. He is on the Dean’s List and is an Honors College Getty Scholar.
Garcia says he fell in love with politics at the age of 16, when he joined his first presidential election campaign. His long-term goal is to work at the intersection of politics and PR—in-house at either an advocacy organization or directly for a politician or political committee. He plans to use his education and experience to employ public relations to help improve the lives of constituents and engage new voters.
Garcia interned in the district office of former California Assemblymember David Chiu (now City Attorney of San Francisco). He served as a fellow at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund in Denver, and was a social media and marketing coordinator at The Jean van der Meulen Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Other internships were with Tenoch Flores Strategies in San Francisco, BerlinRosen in New York and Storefront Political Media in San Francisco. Garcia also served as a communications intern in a study-abroad program in Paris, France, at the Institut International du Froid.
Claire Jane Louise Murphy graduated summa cum laude in June 2022 from Santa Clara University (SCU) with a double major in journalism and history, and a minor in philosophy. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in communications and aspires to become a journalist or work in another news/media related capacity. She credits her courses and a PR internship at Segal Communications last spring with how highly she values the role public relations plays in the professional world.
Murphy is an award-winning journalist, working at The Santa Clara, SCU’s student-run newspaper, where she also contributed as a news reporter and content contributor. She received a Jean Donovan Fellowship at the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education to intern at The Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill, NC, and worked at her university’s Alumni Association for four years as a marketing and communications specialist. She also served as an alumni council member, a data analyst for SCU’s media research lab, and was a member of several honor societies, including Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society, of which she served as president. Murphy was also the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team president and traveled throughout the state competing with her teammates.
“This scholarship creates the opportunity for me to facilitate civic engagement and continue to prioritize authentic and transparent communications. We have the ability to shape our own democracy when we value the role we play within our community,” Murphy wrote in her application for the scholarship.
A June 2022 graduate of UC Davis with a major in communications and a minor in technology management, Hur-Ali Rizvi was on the Dean’s Honors List and received a community service award. He looks forward to a career in public relations in the fields of healthcare and technology, two fields that interest him because their services and products empower consumers. He wants to help address future pandemics and social justice issues with the goal of doing purposeful work that benefits communities.
For the last year, Rizvi has served as public relations director at KDVS 90.3 FM, a Davis radio station, where he maintained the station’s social media platforms and facilitated outreach with numerous organizations throughout the county. He has had a variety of PR internships, including content marketing intern at human-id.org and a project management internship at Launchpad Project Management in Davis. He was recently offered the position of integrated communications intern at Real Chemistry, a healthcare marketing agency based in San Francisco.
Rizvi’s extracurricular activities included volunteering at ASUCD’s Food Pantry. He also served as chapter editor of the Sigma Chi fraternity newsletter, marketing and publicity intern for Diablo Valley College’s Drama department, and media manager of the DVC Photography Club.
~By Molly Walker
Watch the recording of the event on Youtube: