Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 04 2015

Behind the Scenes with the GMC Student Scholarship Committee

Jill Formeister, Chair, Greater Midwest Chapter Communications Committee
2013 GMC PCMA President Colleen Donahoe had a vision: create student scholarships to be awarded to two hospitality students. That vision became reality in February when the first tuition-based scholarships were awarded to Sarah Anderson and Kaley Page.

Hilary Rosenthal, 2015 President-Elect of the Greater Midwest Chapter, was tapped to implement the scholarship program and create a task force/committee. She chairs the Student Scholarship Committee.

“We decided to form a small scholarship committee for the first year,” Hilary said. “Initially, we did create a task force and went over the criteria, our goals and how the committee and program should be created and implemented. Brian Hile, Phil Ridley and Yolanda Simmons were instrumental in getting this program off the ground.” Committee members were Keri Kelly, Catherine Mills, Colleen Donohoe, and Jenna Blandi-Jurgil.

Hilary explained that her committee initially worked closely with national PCMA “as they already had many strong scholarship programs/awards in place and we mirrored some of their same criteria. We then partnered with our GMC PCMA Student Membership Committee to help get the word out and used our newsletter and social media to promote the scholarships.”

The committee met to review each scholarship application in great detail. Six applications were submitted, which she rated as “pretty good for the first time. The process was pretty strenuous for the students. It was a very tough and emotional journey (for the committee), as there were many deserving applicants.”

Hilary noted that, “The applicants really varied. We even had a hospitality student who was in college with her two daughters, and two international students. The final decision really came down to the essays and each student’s volunteer and hospitality involvement and resume.”

The committee plans to start the process earlier this year because of the winter student break. “My goal is to start accepting applications in early October and we will award the two scholarships in January, 2016, or early December, 2015,” she said. Two scholarships, each for $5,000, will be awarded again.

Hilary would like to do more outreach to the Midwest Hospitality Programs “at as many colleges and universities as we can reach. Social media and our Student Day Event really played a part in getting the word out regarding our scholarships.”