Student Connections: Meet Alyssa Lee, 2016 PRSA Richmond Foundation Scholarship Recipient

PRSA Richmond sponsors a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at  James Madison University, Longwood University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. PRSA Richmond works with those institutions, as well as other area colleges with communications programs, to help enrich the educational experiences of those studying to enter the field.
This post features a student who was awarded a PRSA Richmond Foundation Scholarship in 2016. The Richmond Public Relations Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Richmond), annually administers the David P. Hurdle, William Dietrick and Daphne Lowell Dailey Memorial Scholarships in honor of three esteemed former Chapter members. The scholarship awards are $1,500 each, and recipients are selected by the foundation’s board of directors. Learn more about PRSA Richmond Foundation Scholarships or contact Jennifer Bartusiak, APR, at (804) 747-0422 x4429 or e-mail

Name: Alyssa Lee
University: Virginia Union University
Major: Mass Communications
Graduation Year: May 2017
Current job (title, company): Employee and Community Engagement Associate, EAB

Q: You were a 2016 recipient of the PRSA Richmond Foundation scholarship. What encouraged you to apply for the scholarship?

My professor at the time, Heidi Wilson, was a major factor in encouraging me to apply for the PRSA Richmond Foundation scholarship. She knew that I was encountering financial hardship and mentioned applying for the scholarship several times. One day I took her advance and applied and I am so thankful that I did!

Q: What did receiving the scholarship mean to you?

Receiving the PRSA Richmond Foundation scholarship meant so much to me then and now. Then, it meant that I could focus on what I should be focusing on, school work, internships, community service and preparing to secure a job after college. Now, it is a constant reminder that nothing is too far or hard to obtain as long as you apply yourself!

Q: What advice would you give you current students who are considering applying for the PRSA Richmond Foundation scholarship, or any other scholarship?

To students considering applying for the PRSA Richmond Foundation scholarship I would say, “Do it!” Often times we overthink the application process or what we will say in the essay to “prove” that we deserve the scholarship that we are applying for but I’ve noticed that if you just do it and you express yourself and your experiences within the required essays then it is done. Procrastination due to the fear of the unknown is still a weakness I am working through daily!

Q: Talk us through what you’ve been up to professionally since college. What helped you launch your career in public relations?

Wow! I have been up to SO much since the conclusion of college. I graduated May 2017 and at the time I was working for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as a Communication Assistant and Event Technician for Audience Development and Community Engagement department. I had a fantastic time at the museum and learned a great amount to propel my career. One month after I graduated I received a job offer from EAB and went for it! I still love going to the museum and assisting as an Event Technician but it is so cool to see how you have progressed on a professional level. Also, you are never too good in your career to not network. I take every available opportunity to meet new people and expand my connection in the Richmond, VA area.

Q: What advice do you have for current PR students when it comes to entering the working world and finding their first job in the industry?

I have the same advice for all students preparing for their first job in their field. Take your time! Read reviews, read and re-read the job description, network to find someone who currently or previously worked there to get a better understanding of the working culture. I always tell students it doesn’t matter about the salary so much, it matters about the day to day work you will be having to do. If you are doing what you love and went to school for then 9 times out of 10 the money will come. Turn your passion into a paycheck!
Q: Anything else we should know about you or that you would like to share?

It is possible to get a job right after college and in your field. Simply work hard, minimize the excuses and maximize your network!

Interested in learning more about how you can help support students? Have a student you think should be featured? Email Sarah Murphy, PRSA Richmond Student Relations Chair, at