Georgia Southern Communication Arts Department Introducing New Scholarship for 2023-2024 School Year
By: Isabella Kicklighter, Multimedia Editor
The Georgia Southern University Communication Arts department is introducing a new scholarship available to students during the 2023-2024 school year.
Who’s the creator?
Kathryn Potter, a Georgia Southern University public relations alumni is the creator and donor behind the Cochran-Potter scholarship.
Potter attended the university and graduated as a public relations major. She then went on to work in hotel communications work and now owns her own public relations agency for hotels in Washington D.C.
During her time at Georgia Southern Potter was able to create a mentor relationship with her professor, Pam Bourland-Davis. “She was my first mentor and I always felt so lucky to have her as an advisor,” said Potter.
Bourland-Davis was the former department chair for public relations and is now a professor in the communication arts department at the university.
“I still go to visit Kathryn in Washington about once a year, I'm glad to see how she has created her own agency from her skills she learned as a student here,” said Bourland-Davis.
During her time as a department chair and professor Bourland-Davis has counseled numerous students through the department and watched them go on to develop in their careers.
“Working with students is all about opportunity, helping them to see the best in themselves,” said Bourland-Davis.
The Cochran-Potter Scholarship
When creating this scholarship, Potter had the goal of making this the most beneficial scholarship possible. She made sure that students who received the scholarship did not have to worry as much about the financial burdens that are attached to receiving a degree.
“I was fortunate that my dad paid for my college and I have always appreciated that,” said Potter. “Our goal is to make it so this scholarship gives that same opportunity to the receiving student.”
Potter's father’s influence has even inspired the name of the scholarship in his memory. Cochran, his maiden name, being the first part of the official title of the scholarship.
As of now the scholarship is still being drafted and the official amount and details have not yet been determined. According to the draft provided by Potter, the estimated amount for the scholarship yearly will be $5,000 and it is expected to be available to qualifying students by September of 2023.
In order to qualify for this scholarship a few requirements have also been drafted. Including but not limited to 3.0 or higher GPA, majoring in public relations, ability to apply degree program/studies to practice, all of which are stated in the endowed fund agreement draft.
“The most impressive applicants tend to be the ones who apply what they learn and showcase their work,” advised Bourland-Davis.
When asked what applying students should know about the scholarship application process Bourland-Davis said, “It’s really about students demonstrating what they are learning and applying it while still having a solid GPA.”
The overall goal of this endowed scholarship is to allow students to graduate from the university debt free.
Other scholarships in the Communications Department
The Communication Arts department provides nine different scholarship opportunities for students in the department, most of which are funded by families just like the Potters.
Pamela Sears, Communications Department chair shared more information about the scholarships at the university and how those who may be interested can give back to the department.
“To contribute to the Department or its scholarships, visit the CAH donation page, designate your gift to Communication Arts, and, if there is a specific scholarship you would like to support, include its name and account number,” said Sears.
Sears added that donors can also create their one scholarship much like Kathryn Potter has. “The process can take anywhere from 5-10 years for the scholarship to be available to students and fully approved as well as fund the scholarship based on the amount,” said Sears.
Scholarship creators are able to customize each part of the scholarship from deciding what students can benefit from the scholarship to the agreed-upon amount awarded through the scholarship. All of which must be discussed with Sears and other members of the department.
Creating scholarships is not the only way that alumni can ensure that students receive benefits in the department.
“Funding is always helpful for the department as the government continues to cut the budget,” said Bourland-Davis.
Additional ways to give back to the communication arts department as an alumni include foundation accounts held by each program at the university. These accounts make it so donations can be made directly to the program and used to fund anything from new equipment to study abroad trips.
All of these additions to the department ensure that there are opportunities available for students to pursue their degree as well as hone their skills from their degree programs and showcase those skills through various applications which can then be put on their resume for future career opportunities.