SCOM Student Receives the Dr. Jay Rayburn Scholarship from the Florida Public Relations Association

Public Relations (PR) rising senior and Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) student chapter member Christopher Schulze received the Dr. Jay Rayburn Scholarship from the FPRA during the FPRA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, on August 7.

FPRA provides two scholarships annually—the Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC, Scholarship and the Dr. Jay Rayburn, APR, CPRC, Scholarship. Alongside the outstanding honor and recognition, the two chosen students receive $1,500 each for education-based expenses.

Dr. Rayburn taught at FSU’s School of Communication (SCOM) from 1985 until his retirement in 2020. Schulze’s recognition continues to honor Dr. Rayburn’s legacy.

Before transferring to Florida State University (FSU) to join the PR program, Schulze attended George Mason University. During his time there, he took an Introduction to PR course, which influenced his decision in pursuing a career in client-based industries.

Schulze learned about the scholarship through his Crisis Communication professor, Dr. Elizabeth Ray. “[Dr. Ray] encourages us to strive for the best, and actively informs us about internship, professional, and scholarship opportunities, which is how I ended up applying for the Dr. Jay Rayburn Scholarship,” Schulze explained.

When talking with CCI, Schulze revealed that Dr. Ray’s Crisis Communication course was notably one of the most crucial classes he has taken. Not only did this class help him expand his PR skills, but it helped him think outside the box and speak about topics that were important within the industry.

“Dr. Ray’s demeanor and ability to sculpt a classroom environment where everyone works together is truly remarkable and I believe I owe much of my success in winning this award to Dr. Ray and her efforts.”

During the conference, Schulze got the opportunity to learn about the history of FPRA, hear from past FPRA presidents, and witnessed the new president accept her role. As he prepares to begin his application for various law schools this fall, Schulze believes that this scholarship will not only help him reduce financial stress but motivate him even further.

Florida Public Relations Education Foundation (FPREF) Chair April Salter, APR, CPRC (left) and Christopher Schulze. Photo credit: the Florida Public Relations Association