October 21, 2020
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE) announces the 2020 recipients of the Helen Brett™ Scholarship, which was established by Robert Kolinek, CEM, CMP and named for his grandmother who was a pioneer in the trade show industry. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist individuals who are exploring the study of exhibitions and events management with the end goal of advancing their career in this field.
This year’s application process received an unprecedented number of applications, leading to a record number of 16 scholarships awarded. This is also the first year in which IAEE received applications from and awarded scholarships to graduate students.
“I am happy to report that the participation in the Helen Brett™ Scholarship program this year far exceeded our expectations,” said IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “IAEE is pleased to contribute to the ongoing education and development of our future industry leaders, and we are proud to celebrate this year’s record-breaking number of Helen Brett Scholars.”
Recipients of this year’s Helen Brett™ Scholarship are:
Danielle Bellettiere is entering her third year at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. She is pursuing a double major in Hospitality Management and Event Management and she loves making people smile. She plans on obtaining a master’s degree after graduating in the Spring 2022. She also serves as an outreach and research volunteer for the Gathering Guide, a global initiative founded by event planner Annie Lee, which compiles post-COVID event guidelines across the world. She says, “I am extremely grateful to IAEE for the opportunity that the Helen Brett™ Scholarship is giving me and am honored to receive an award in this role model’s name.
Quang Tan Phu Bui is an international student from Vung Tau, Vietnam. He graduated from Richland College in May 2020 with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management and also received a Certificate of Completion in Hospitality, Exhibitions, Event Management and Tourism. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Services Focus at the University of North Texas. He says, “Helen Brett inspires me in so many ways, but the biggest lesson that I have learned from her is that being an event planner and a business person in general is not all about you, but it is about us lifting one another up. With that, we are capable of moving forward together strongly.”
Ferdinando Johny Castro Gonzalez ignited his passion for the industry through his participation in the Richland College Campus Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management Club. As an Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2018 attendee, he connected with industry professionals and mentors who have provided him with the insight and motivation to pursue his career in the industry. He says, “I knew I found what I was looking for as a career. For me, this industry allows me to work for the betterment of communities, and trade shows have become a way of living. I am very grateful for the path I have chosen, and I look forward to helping others do the same.”
Wonhyeoung Choe is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Event Management at Iowa State University and is in the process of publishing research investigating experiential marketing technology trends in the sports event industry. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in Event Management after graduating this December. He says, “I would like to work on an in-depth, efficient and helpful study for event planners after graduate school. I am so honored to receive the Helen Brett™ Scholarship. Thanks to this scholarship, I am one step closer to my goal, and it has inspired me to help others by giving back to the community.”
Rachel Figiela is a junior pursuing a degree in Event Management with a minor in Food and Beverage Management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. with a projected graduation date of May 2021. She then plans to complete an internship to gain more experience within the event industry. Her dream is to own a wedding venue and event planning company. She says, “I am truly thankful to the Helen Brett™ Scholarship Committee for awarding me this scholarship in her name.”
Sarah Gurney is a senior at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. She is majoring in Sports, Entertainment, Event Management with a specialization in Event Management. She was recently elected Director of Membership of the student chapter of the Live Events Association in addition to President of her IAEE student chapter. She is also a member of the student chapter of the International Association of Venue Mangers. She says, “I am extremely grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of the Helen Brett™ Scholarship and the opportunity to attend Expo! Expo!. I look forward to networking with industry professionals.”
Alexandria LaRoche is a junior at California State University East Bay studying Hospitality and Tourism with a concentration in Event Management. She has eight years in the bridal event industry and more than eight years of experience in the hospitality industry. As the Director of Sales and Marketing for her San Francisco Bay Area hotel, she led her team to receive the “Sales Team of The Year” award in 2017. She plans to continue on to the Master’s Program at Cal State East Bay after graduating. She says, “My deep passion for humanity easily translates to hospitality. You are either welcoming someone into your hotel or welcoming them into your heart; hospitality is just an extension of my passion for people.”
Isabella Matei is a rising Hospitality Management student with a focus on Sports, Entertainment and Event Management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. With a passion for people and events, she enjoys planning, organizing and helping people create memories. She graduates in the Spring of 2021 and hopes to gain as much industry experience as she can to get herself ready for her dream job, which is to have her own event company based in Europe. She says, “I am very grateful for receiving the Helen Brett™ Scholarship, and I hope to be a role model to others just as she was.”
Lydia Moreno is in her second year of studying Hospitality Management and Event Management at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen School of Hospitality Management. She continues to pursue her dreams with plans to volunteer at local conventions to experience every aspect of executing exhibitions, from planning them out to producing them. She says, “My goal in the exhibition management industry is to find a way to help others provide lasting relationships and incredible experiences for all the exhibitors and attendees. Growing up in South Florida, I have experienced the lack of social equality in today’s society, and I am determined to use my passion for events as a way of promoting diversity inclusion and social equality.”
Erica Nossaman is a senior majoring in Event Management at Iowa State University. She has chosen to pursue the events industry because of its power to unite, educate, and ignite change in people and the world. After graduation in Fall 2020, she hopes to work in an event planning role within a non-profit. She has gained several professional work experiences during her time at Iowa State and enjoys volunteering at community events, including the Travel Federation of Iowa’s annual tourism expo. She says, “Helen Brett paved the way for women like me to pursue their passion in the event industry. I am extremely grateful to IAEE for investing in, and supporting, students in their education and careers. Thank you!”
Amber Pankey is a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in Meeting and Event Management at San Diego State University and expects to graduate in January 2022. In 2018, she received her bachelor’s degree from William Jessup University in Business Marketing. Her business background has allowed her to feel confident to start an event planning business one day, and her MEM masters will enable it to be even more successful. Having joined the industry not long ago, she was excited to find a community through industry associations where she has been able to connect and network. She says, “I am honored to have been awarded this scholarship and hope to live up to Helen’s legacy in the events industry.”
Summer Skyler Peggie is a first-generation college student finishing up the final semester of her bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University (CMU). She is majoring in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration, with a concentration in Recreation and Event Management, and minoring in Marketing. She believes that through her passion for environmental responsibility, she can help make the events and exhibitions industry a greener and more sustainable experience for participants. She says, “Thank you for this opportunity; it is truly an honor to be named a 2020 recipient of the Helen Brett™ Scholarship. I look forward to attending Expo! Expo! in December.”
Shiloh Schlauderaff is a senior pursuing a degree in Event Management with a minor in Hospitality Management at Iowa State University. Her focus includes the coordination of exhibitions for trade shows and conventions, festivals, and human resource management. After she graduates in Spring 2021, she plans to pursue a career in coordination or the human resource department of event planning. She says, “I love the versatility that event planning offers. Each event varies in concept, theme, location and size. It takes both practical and creative thinking to create a memorable event for guests. Event planning is never stagnant; it’s constantly changing and evolving which feels really exciting to me.”
Sandra Serrant is a meetings and events professional with more than 15 years of experience. She has planned, coordinated and executed a variety of events ranging from multi-day national conferences and weddings, to large fundraisers and other special events. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Westchester Community College and an online instructor at Ashworth College, where she teaches courses in meeting management, wedding planning and the hospitality industry. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Meeting and Events Management at San Diego State University’s Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and she expects to graduate at the end of this year. She says, “Passing on industry knowledge to my students brings me immense joy. But my greatest joy is raising my 3-year-old daughter, Sophie, who keeps me on my toes (literally!).”
Rose Margaret Stanas is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Event Management with a double minor in Fashion Merchandising and Business at High Point University. She is extremely hopeful for the future and has created a plan to oversee her own event planning business and venue, using the space to organize a wide variety of events. One of her aspirations for this space is to coordinate events where nonprofit organizations, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will be the main beneficiaries. She says, “I want to create the same ecstasy for others that the events I have attended have brought me, because we may be divided by our past experiences, but we can all be brought together through our present.”
Linda Tong is a senior at Iowa State University with a double major in Event Management and Vocal Music. She found her love for events when she grew into her knack for organization, creativity and entrepreneurship. She finds it to be a rewarding experience from the planning, to the execution, to the event evaluation. She has a diverse perspective in events with experience in concerts, guest speakers, fashion shows and trade shows. She also owns her own business called Linda Tong Planners, which has won several awards and attained a large following that supports her business journey. She says, “In the future, I hope to incorporate all types of events with my company and plan to incorporate trade shows, incentive travel and corporate meetings into my business.”
Click here for more information about the Helen Brett™ Scholarship.
Trusted since 1928, IAEE provides quality and value to its members through leadership, service, education and strong relationships. IAEE is the largest association of the exhibitions and events industry in the world, with a membership of show organizers, exhibitors and exhibition suppliers. Organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer-seller events around the world are members of IAEE, and the organization advocates and promotes the awareness of face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary medium for business development and growth. IAEE provides relevant, timely and innovative education to its members and the industry. IAEE recognizes its strategic partners: 4imprint, Convention News Television (CNTV), eShow, Freeman, GES | onPeak, Grit Productions and Expositions, New Orleans & Company, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and Risk Strategies Company | Buttine Insurance. Visit www.iaee.com for more information.
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