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Birmingham Native, Alabama State Student Receives Prestigious PR Scholarship


By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU

A native of Birmingham who is now an Alabama State University senior has been awarded one of the nation’s premier student communication’s recognitions.

Briana Woodley is one of ten recipients of the University of Alabama’s Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations 2022 DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Summit Scholarships.

A 29-year-old non-traditional student who graduated from Shades Valley High School in Birmingham, Ala. was awarded the scholarship that includes an all-expenses paid trip to the Plank Center’s annual conference in Chicago where she will be recognized along with the other nine scholarship recipients.

“I am just over-the-moon excited to be selected for one of the 10 national scholarships awarded by the Plank Center,” Woodley stated as she prepared for her upcoming flight to Chicago. “This summit conference will allow me to learn further from a national cadre of public relations (PR) professionals, as well as allowing me to network with them, which will help me with my career.”

Dr. L. Simone Byrd, ASU public relations professor and Fulbright Scholar and one of Woodley’s mentors, said, “Briana winning this recognition is a well-deserved accomplishment due to her scholarship and understanding of the skills involved in public relations. She demonstrates a clear understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession and that is what is needed to make it a more diverse employment field.”

In 2005, the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees established The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, which was named for public relations leader and UA alumna Betsy Plank. Its purpose is to develop and recognize outstanding performance in the profession and the classroom.

The center sponsors research, national awards, and service programs to advance the understanding and practice of ethical and responsible public relations and is funded primarily through a gift from the late Plank. In addition to national leaders in practice and education, the Center’s board includes an ex-officio position for the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, which represents more than 9,800 members in 295 colleges and universities.