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It's Business Unusual. Renaissance® Schaumburg
It's Business Unusual. Renaissance® Schaumburg
It's Business Unusual. Renaissance® Schaumburg

Helen Brett Scholarship

Each year, scholarships are awarded to individuals who are exploring the study of exhibition management with the end goal of advancing their careers in this field.

The 2017 scholarship application deadline has passed. We look forward to reviewing applicants and will make an announcement on recipients in the coming weeks!

Interested in applying but missed the 2017 deadline? We will start accepting applications for next year in March 2018.

2016 Scholarship Recipients

Sarah Chung

Sarah Chung

Sarah is interested in pursuing a career in the meeting planning and trade show business. She recently graduated from Richland College with honors in Associate in Applied Science in Travel, Exposition, and Meeting Management and certificate in Hospitality and Tourism.

Recently, she was accepted to University of Las Vegas to further advance her education. She has been an executive assistant to Mr. Verne Packer helping him put together the Builder Remodeler Expo Show in March 2016 and has been very active in the TEMM club as a co-chair of Silent Auction for the Scholarship Luncheon for the last two years.

“Winning this Helen Brett scholarship means so much to me because it has given me the opportunity to further my education. This gives me the motivation to be the best as I can be and help others as those who helped me. Trade shows have always been very fascinating to me because one day nothing is ready but magically everything is beautiful structured and ready to go. The smallest details goes unnoticed.”

Jordan Lacey

Jordan Lacey

Receiving the prestigious Helen Brett Scholarship is Jordan Lacey from Johnson and Wales University. Jordan is a senior honors student in the Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management program. Jordan recently wrote and published her senior honors thesis about the Glass Ceiling for Minorities in The Hospitality Industry. Jordan’s internship experience includes The Big Apple Circus, Beyond The Stars Dance Convention, YouNow, and The US Open. Jordan is the founder of her own non-profit organization, Light The Candle, and strongly believes in giving back to the community around her.

“I got my first job in the exhibitions/events industry at the age of fifteen, as an event host I learned quickly that this was the industry for me. My parents always taught me that if you are going to do something, do it BIG. So I did just that. I got an internship every year, accelerated my way to college and I am not done yet with my plans. I have plans to enter the New York City venue scene and make a difference.”

Mackenzie Thompson

Mackenzie Thompson

Mackenzie Thompson is a second year student at Johnson and Wales University (Providence campus) studying sports/entertainment/event management. Part of WISE (women in sports and events), IAEE, and vice president of our MPI student chapter.

“I hope to be planning events that bring people as much excitement as I felt from creating them. I’m all about adding a unique twist, something that people have never seen before. As my freshman year came to a close I became much more familiar with the idea of a career in the sports field. Because of this award I will be able continue closer with IAEE and MPI to see what luxury suite directors are really all about.”

Helen Brett Scholarship

The Helen Brett scholarship was established by Mr. Robert Kolinek, CEM, CMP and named for his grandmother, Helen Brett, who was a pioneer in the exhibition industry. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist individuals who are exploring the study of exhibition management with the end goal of advancing their career in this field. The scholarship serves to promote the exhibitions and events industry by attracting college level students into the field of study and encouraging their pursuit with financial support.

Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis based upon pursuit of a degreed major focusing on exhibition and/or event management. If within a hospitality program, focus of study should be the exhibitions and events industry or those programs which are viewed by IAEE as particularly relevant to this field. Up to four scholarships may be awarded.

“My grandmother, Helen Brett, was one of the first female trade show organizers in the industry.  As a third generation family business owner I am very proud to continue her legacy through awarding scholarships to those who share my grandmother’s passion for trade shows.”

– Robert Kolinek, President & CEO, Helen Brett Enterprises

Robert Kolinek

Helen Brett Scholarship Criteria


  • Must be a full time student enrolled at an accredited college, university or junior college
  • Must be enrolled in a degree program focusing on exhibition/event management
  • Minimum 3.0 grade point average on 4.0 scale
  • Completed Helen Brett Scholarship Application
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation by faculty and/or from exhibition industry leader
  • Official transcript
  • One page essay submission (500-1,000 words) on an explanation of your goals and desired roles in the exhibitions and events industry
  • Consideration to attend Expo! Expo! in San Antonio, Texas, 28-30 November 2017

The Scholarship includes:

  • Up to $5,000 in tuition assistance
  • Consideration for potential candidates to have an internship experience at the Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition


Scholarship Application

More information and form requests for the scholarship program can be obtained at the CEIR Foundation headquarters or by contacting Peggy Johnston at (972) 687-9202.