From Scholarship to Success: How NYWICI Changed The Trajectory of My Future


Some of the best things in life come when you least expect it.

“Congratulations! You’ve won a NYWICI scholarship! You might think it’s a bit odd that as a journalism major, your donor is actually a public relations agency, but they saw you as a great fit and wanted to award you!” said a NYWICI member over the phone.

This was the sentence that completely changed my future, and directly impacted where I stand today as a two-time NYWICI scholarship recipient.

A little over two years ago, my boss and mentor informed me of a scholarship application opening for an award that she had won over thirty years ago. Lu Ann Cahn, Director of Career Services at Temple University’s Klein College and former veteran reporter for Philadelphia’s NBC10, felt that NYWICI was an amazing organization to get involved with—especially since I’m a New Jersey native-–and encouraged me to apply. Little did I know what the future would hold after hitting “submit” in spring of 2022.

At the time, I was at a crossroads personally and professionally. Despite being on-track to become a reporter for broadcast news, networking tirelessly with news directors and being highly involved with student media, I ultimately decided it was not what I wanted to pursue as a career.

I was absolutely heartbroken. I knew I was going to have to start from scratch, pick a new path, and hope it’s something I love. I was lost, confused and discouraged, and felt my bright future was starting to dim. That was, until I got the call from NYWICI.

After finding out I had received the Kaplow Scholarship, I quickly saw that all it took was a “Thank You” message to founder of Kaplow Communications and former NYWICI president Liz Kaplow to get her attention. The rest is truly history.

Liz and I got on Zoom and immediately hit it off, expressing that she wanted this to be more than a scholarship but an opportunity. She offered her and her team to me, where I spent the next two weeks that August meeting everyone from junior-level employees to EVPs, all there to share their knowledge and advice about this industry with me.

That two weeks was the fire I needed to spark a new flame in my career, where I went from feeling lost to feeling found. I heard so many stories similar to mine, giving me confidence to try new things and tackle an industry I knew next to nothing about. 

I was offered a position as a public relations intern that fall, something that was so daunting because I have never done anything in PR before. Well, they showed me the ropes and opened the door to so many new opportunities, all because of our connection to NYWICI.

Of course, the following year, I decided to apply for another scholarship because of what NYWICI has done for me and my new future. I was proudly awarded the first ever NYWICI Past Presidents’ Scholarship, contributed by past presidents and awarded to a student who has “the drive and potential to be a future NYWICI President”.

This is a tremendous honor, not only to be seen as someone who could one day lead women in the same direction I was led, but for other students to see the true impact NYWICI has from one year to the next, as a winner two years in a row. 

The first year I won, I received the call frustrated with my career and terrified of the future. This year, I received the call while walking the streets in Europe concluding my semester abroad before starting my internship with Paramount at BET Digital. If that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is—and it’s all thanks to NYWICI.

NYWICI gave me the bridge I needed to start something new; I would’ve never even considered PR if it wasn’t for receiving the scholarship. I am now a two-time scholarship recipient, well-rounded in multiple industries, and ready to take on the professional world after graduation this year, all thanks to NYWICI.

“Write your goals in pencil, not pen,” is the advice I give to any young woman afraid of what the future might hold. There is nothing wrong with having to erase and start over, especially when it starts with NYWICI.

Written by Brianna Boone, 2023 and 2022 Scholarship Winner


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