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Helen Brett Scholarship

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

2022 Scholarship Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Irene DeLinggo

My name is Irene DeLinggo, and I am a student at Iowa State University majoring in Event Management. I came to Ames, Iowa, in August 2021 from my hometown Jakarta, Indonesia. In my high school years, I was given the rare opportunity to be part of various committees for school events, such as student organizations that spearhead one of the significant events in school – the annual school cup. This was an excellent opportunity for me to be exposed and develop my skills in managing an event and to encounter the kind of challenges I am likely to face in the future. Currently, I am the President of the Indonesian Student Association and the President of the PCMA Student Chapter at Iowa State University, and I have worked on my club’s event plannings, promotions, and external communications. One of the main reasons for my enthusiasm to pursue this industry is my satisfaction from working towards something tangible. Through this industry, I can grasp the natural flow of my creativity and the ideas that make events a rousing success. I consider it a work of art – the art of creativity, organizing, and putting all the ideas into a masterpiece’s great reality. I am ardently passionate about this field which gives me the right reasons to aim higher and pursue my aspiration to succeed in this specialization.

Kelly Fong

I am a senior at Washington State University majoring in Hospitality Business Management with three minors in Events Management, Human Resource Management, and Graphic Design. I have chosen to pursue events due to the fast-paced nature and being able to bring a group of individuals together and put a smile on their faces. After I graduate in May 2023, I am hoping to work at a hotel as an event coordinator. Eventually, I would like to own my own event planning business and utilize my graphic design skills to be able to create websites, logos, invites, etc. for my clients. I am beyond grateful and thrilled to be a recipient of the Helen Brett scholarship! With the help of IAEE, I am able to continue learning all about the events industry and gain experience without having to worry about finances. Thank you to IAEE for investing in me and my passion!

Veronica Goodstein-Loughrin

I am currently working to obtain my Associate Degree in Event Management at Madison College. I realized that I wanted to become involved in the event planning field upon completing planning for my own wedding in 2018. I was so excited when I discovered that Madison College offered a program for Event Management. Initially I went for the Event Management for the Business Professional certificate, but soon realized that there was so much more that I wanted to learn. As an older student, I must juggle a full-time job with school so I am only able to attend part-time, and therefore it will take longer for me to get my Associate Degree than I would like. I was fortunate to get a part-time job this summer doing day of wedding coordinating, which allowed me to get some experience in one aspect of the field of event management. I am not sure exactly which route that I want to go career wise upon graduation, or hopefully before, but I am hopeful that the next couple of semester’s help to guide me in the right direction for me. I am very grateful to receive the IAEE Helen Britt Scholarship which will help me to cover some of the costs of classes for the upcoming semester. The Helen Britt Scholarship has helped many students in the past and I am honored to be one of the current students receiving assistance.

Jessica Hay

Jessica is a Junior in Grand Valley State University’s Hospitality Tourism Management program. Her degree focus is in event management and tourism, along with a minor in business. Jessica began working in the hospitality industry when she was 15 years old and has performed a variety of different jobs since. She served as the 2021- 2022 Vice President of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter at her college and helped to plan a plethora of different events during the school year. Post-college, Jessica hopes to obtain a job in the event planning industry either as a corporate event planner, a venue wedding and special event planner, or for a general event planning company. Further down the line, Jessica has dreams of eventually owning and operating her own venue to host a variety of special events.

Samuel (Harrison) Jones

*Awarded a 2022 Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exhibition Internship

Samuel (Harrison) is a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, majoring in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Design & Management. Harrison discovered his passion for meetings and events through his involvement in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where he participated in the planning, organizing, and execution of many events. Upon graduation, he hopes to pursue a career as either an event planner, or as the manager/coordinator of the events and event spaces for a large property. Regarding this scholarship, Harrison said “I am grateful for the opportunities that the Helen Brett Scholarship provides to students like myself, who are pursuing careers in this specific sector of the hospitality industry. To the IAEE and the founders of this scholarship, thank you for your generosity and dedication to the next generation of event professionals.

Quang Huy Le

I am an international student from Vietnam attending Dallas College Richland Campus, majoring in the Hospitality, Exhibitions, and Event Management industry.  During my education at Dallas College Richland Campus, I have had a chance to participate and worked with many mentors, professors, and people who are very professional in this industry. And I got inspiration from learning about their ambition and effort, I truly admire their determination and hard work. Last fall I completed an internship at a restaurant in Allen, Texas. I was taught how to supervise the logistical parts of restaurant service and contribute significantly to the company’s reputation for customer service, and I think I’m doing very well in understanding the calculation of the system. Besides that, I and my manager were working on the sales systems together to improve the consumer experience and streamline corporate activities such as sales and cash flow. I find myself could fit in any working environment in this industry since it is very inspirational to me.

Callie Main

Callie is a Junior at Purdue University pursuing a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management with a minor in Event and Meeting Management. From a young age, she has been all about planning events and making them come to life. This led to her involvement in many different clubs, ministry outreach, and city development where she used her passion to help plan a variety of events and projects. She has worked hard to gain as much industry experience as possible, as this past summer she interned under a corporate event planner. She says “I have always been passionate about bringing people together and making visions come to life. HTM has given me the knowledge and opportunities to gain confidence and pursue a career in the industry. I am very appreciative the IAEE Helen Brett Scholarship Committee is investing in my education and me as I continue to learn and enter the event planning industry. Thank you!

Natasha Pasui

Natasha is a senior majoring Event Management at High Point University in North Carolina. In high school she discovered a passion for planning and design. After coordinating her first wedding, she knew she had found her calling. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in weddings and other formal events. She has also gained professional experience with a formal events company and as a venue coordinator. Natasha says, “I am so honored to be chosen as a recipient of the Helen Brett Scholarship. I cannot wait to continue my journey in events. Thank you to IAEE for investing in my generation. Becoming event planners is not always easy but we have the ability to make an impact on so many people’s lives just like you have made on ours.

Skye Richardson

*Awarded a 2022 Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exhibition Internship

I am a senior at Georgia State University pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration and minor in Marketing. I was the Communications Chair for Georgia State’s IAEE student chapter for over a year, and now I am the Vice President. I love being involved in the School of Hospitality, such as volunteering to work the Homecoming float and traveling to attend hospitality conferences. Some of my experience in the hospitality industry involves working at Chuck E. Cheese for two years, starting as a Party Host and then advancing into the Birthday Coordinator position. Additionally, I was the Events Intern at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for the Summer of 2022. My long-term goals are to receive my master’s degree in Global Hospitality Management and become an Events Coordinator for a fashion company. I am grateful to be a recipient of the Helen Brett Scholarship because this money will help me continue my education in hospitality and bring me one step closer to my educational and career goals. Thank you!

Maddy Thibodeaux

*Awarded a 2022 Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exhibition Internship

Maddy is a senior earning her B.B.A. in Hospitality Administration from Georgia State University. Upon graduation, Maddy hopes to pursue a career working for large events such as conferences, trade shows, or conventions. Her recent experience includes interning for the 33rd and 34th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference in Atlanta, Georgia – a national conference for hotel investors with 1700+ attendees. She had the opportunity to intern for the International Society of Hospitality Consultants annual conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Maddy is grateful for the opportunities presented to her during her collegiate years and looks forward to her career ahead in the events industry. She says, “The Helen Brett Scholarship helps me to remember that everything I work towards serves a purpose. I believe my purpose is belonging in this industry

Graduate Students

Hailee Austin

Hailee is currently in her first year of graduate school at East Carolina University. She is obtaining her Master of Business Administration degree with a certification in Sports Management. She is currently interning with ECU Athletics Pirate Hospitality and REVELxp, where she is learning to manage premium seating and hospitality in the sports industry. Hailee is also involved on campus as the Vice President of the Women in Business Club as well as a Senator for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. Hailee’s previous experience involves interning at Hillwood Country Club and A Touch of Southern Events; as well as working in ECU’s College of Business Dean’s Office as a Graduate Assistant and working at ECU’s Campus Recreation Center as a Facility Manager. Upon graduation Hailee plans to pursue a career in professional sports hospitality. Hailee says, “I am extremely grateful to have been selected for a Helen Brett scholarship, Helen Brett paved the way for so many women in the hospitality industry, and I hope to do the same in sports hospitality. Thank you to everyone at IAEE for giving me this opportunity.

Maria Ziyi Wu

Maria is a graduate student and in her first year at Iowa State University (ISU) for the distance program of Event Management. She received her double bachelor’s degree with honor from the University of Huddersfield (HUD) and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST), and her passion for the Event Industry was rooted in her event planning experience of the campus concert in high school. During her spare time, she volunteered at locally large-scale events, including the 10th China Flower Expo and the 21st Children Baby Maternity Expo, to enhance her practical skills and techniques. Moreover, Maria is committed to the sustainable development model of China’s event management and event higher education as academic goals. After completing the master’s degree, she plans to study as a Doctor of Philosophy in event economy and management and strive to develop innovative research paradigms. She says, “It’s a great honor for me to be eligible for the Helen Brett scholarship, and I always believe the power of females will become a pillar in the event industry.

Ph.D. Candidates

Jihye Park

Jihye is a Ph.D. student at the University of Central Florida (UCF), majoring in Hospitality Management. She received her master’s degree in hospitality management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) as well. She has over seven years of experience in the MEEC (Meetings, Expositions, Events, and Conventions) industry. With her industry experience, she currently pursues to be a researcher who investigates the use of technology in the MEEC industry. In particular, her research interests are consumer behaviors using innovative technology in the MEEC industry and revitalizing the destination in tourism. Jihye says, “ I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Helen Bret Scholarship. This great award brings me a great sense of pride and motivation to conduct research that contributes to our industry academically and practically.

Emily Zirbes

Emily is a Ph.D. candidate at Iowa State University in Hospitality and Event Management. She received her MBA in International Business. The founder of EZ Global Link, Emily has built her professional persona over the last several years as an international consultant skilled in business development, marketing, and event management. Emily is an avid volunteer serving as a technical editor for several peer-reviewed journals and a mentor for multiple international non-profit organizations. Emily spends her professional time engaging in academic research and serving as an educator for courses in international business and hospitality management. Having traveled and taught across the world, Emily brings with her a seasoned and global perspective both in the classroom and in industry. She says, “It’s a scholarship opportunity like this that helps graduate students like me get closer to achieving my professional and academic goals that would have otherwise been too far out of reach.

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 undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at an accredited college, university, junior or technical 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! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition

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

Closed for the 2022 Year.

More information and form requests for the scholarship program can be obtained at the CEIR Foundation headquarters or by contacting Marsha Flanagan, M.Ed. at (972) 687-9218.