2018 Scholarship Recipients
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 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 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.