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.

Deadline to submit applications is 1 June 2019.

Scholarship Application

2018 Scholarship Recipients

Courtney Daniels

Courtney is a sophomore studying Sports Entertainment and Event Management at Johnson & Wales University (JWU). From a young age, Courtney had a fascination with the planning and execution of all types of events. Courtney competitively figure skated starting at the age of eight. In August of 2017, she achieved the United States Figure Skating Association’s double gold medalist status, the highest level in figure skating. Courtney spent most of her summers prior to this intensely training at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York.

“It’s important to note that figure skating has had a huge impact on my life as it took up much of my free time and required a great deal of dedication. This accomplishment not only required constant dedication and perseverance through difficult challenges, but showed me the meaning of hard work and the rewards that come with it. I have overcome many physical and mental obstacles from this sport and become a much stronger person as a result.”

As a freshman at Johnson & Wales University, Courtney joined the Live Events Association and began volunteering in several events, including Newport’s Bridal Expo and the Flames of Hope weekend run by Rhode Island’s largest non-profit breast cancer foundation, the Gloria Gemma Foundation.

In November 2017, Courtney was nominated to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program. Students, faculty, and staff were asked to select a small group of students they felt showed initiative and potential for positively impacting the community. Courtney was humbled and honored to be chosen as one of them. Throughout a six-week series of workshops, she learned about leadership skills and techniques that helped her become a more effective participant in the Johnson & Wales community. Additionally, she was nominated to attend the fifth annual Leadership in Multicultural Contexts seminar, where students explore their own identity in relation to bias, privilege, power, allyship and how it relates to possibilities for leadership.

Courtney’s goal as a sophomore this year is to broaden her knowledge within the field of event management by maintaining her 4.0 GPA at JWU and working with both corporate and non-profit organizations to gain invaluable experience.

Rita Ellis

Rita is a rising sophomore specializing in Event Management within the Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management major at Johnson & Wales University. Ever since a young girl, she has had a passion for executing events that create memories to last a lifetime. She believes that one thing we all have in common regardless of our background is the pursuit of happiness and that it is the common thread that binds us all together. Rita’s passion for events sprouted from her volunteer work at Maureen’s Haven Homeless Shelter. She has been volunteering at the shelter for 7 years now and describes the satisfaction from decorating and coordinating themed events as unequalled. Rita states that, “The reception and contribution of happiness is the ultimate goal, and achieving this happiness comes as a direct result of hospitality. Hospitality and happiness are interchangeable in that both aspects have potential to impact someone’s life, creating a milestone of a lifetime.”

Rita is enrolled in the Honors Program and SHARP (Special Honors and Rewards Program) and thoroughly enjoys the education and hands-on experience she is receiving at Johnson & Wales University. She is consistently volunteering for events in the New England area and focuses on attention to small, yet nonetheless important, details. She is on the Executive Board of the Live Events Association, as the Director of Membership, and is an active member of the Student Advisory Council for the College of Hospitality Management.

Rita wishes to follow in Helen Brett’s footsteps and have a random act of kindness spiral into a lifelong legacy of success and advancement in the exhibition and events industry. She is extremely grateful and appreciative for receiving this scholarship and is confident that this award is a big stepping stone toward her future goals. “I realize that through my own drive and determination I can make big accomplishments and I thank the Helen Brett Scholarship Foundation for their assistance in not only paying for my education, but for opening my eyes to all the exhibition and events industry has to offer.”

Thanh Vo

Thanh Vo is an International student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She came to the United States in in the Fall of 2015 as an exchange student from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Production and Management.

She started a new major and is pursuing her Applied Associate Degree in Science in Hospitality, Exhibition, and Event Management at Richland College.  She has produced various events for her school and participates in many clubs and activities including, the HEEM (Hospitality, Exhibitions & Events Management) Club and HEEM Scholarship and Silent Auction and was the Social Media Student Chair in 2017 and 2018.

She is currently working as an Administrative Student Assistant for District Conference Day at the Dallas County Community College District and a summer intern for US India Chamber of Commerce. She is responsible for contacting and creating general session tools with over 2,000 employees and staffs, creating communication emails and guiding street team volunteers to assist the Chancellor and speakers and the flow of the on-site conference.

Besides school and work, she also participates as a student leader with two honor society groups. She is the Chapter President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and Vice President of Scholarship of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). Her responsibilities with NSCS and PTK are organizing chapter/officer meetings, facilitating the growth of the chapter to Platinum status and planning a new member induction ceremony scheduled for the fall of 2018 for more than 200 honors students each event.

She will be graduating in May of 2019 from Richland College and plans to transfer to The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to obtain a double major in Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management; Concentration in Meetings and Trade Shows and Bachelor of Science in Business Administrative; International Business.

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, 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! in Las Vegas, Nevada 3-5 December 2019

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

Deadline to submit applications is 1 June 2019.

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.