Meet Jaya Wilson, 2023 Frank R. Stansberry Scholarship Recipient

The PRSA Orlando/Frank R. Stansberry Scholarship recognizes University of Central Florida students who are actively engaged in their academic community and for their academic and personal accomplishments at the University of Central Florida. It is awarded to full-time sophomore, junior or senior students in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media with a major in Public Relations.

Jaya Wilson, one of this year’s scholarship recipients, shared with us what it meant to her to receive the scholarship and more about her plans after graduation.

What does receiving the scholarship mean to you?
It’s an absolute honor to be selected by the leading professional organization serving the communications industry. PRSA has already opened so many doors for me, and I’m honored to be able to have another one opened through this scholarship.

Thank you, PRSA. Thank you for the resources for students, like me, to develop and deepen their understanding of such an impactful industry. I’ve been able to create priceless connections and tap into invaluable resources that have deepened my understanding of the industry.

What interests you the most about PR and communication?
I’m all about representation, regardless if it’s found on stage or screen, in advertising, down to the people keeping things moving behind the scenes. Additionally, my passion for strategy has also deepened. The more I’ve been involved in the industry, the more I realized how much I loved audience research and positioning stories to make them feel seen through intentional decision-making and planning.

What area of PR and communication do look forward to continuing learning about?
I love strategic communication. My favorite thing about strategy is that you never stop learning, so I’d love to deepen my understanding of how I can improve my thinking and continue to move the industry forward. I’d also love to know more about Community Relations, especially regarding theatre and film. The reason I found my love for theatre was due to a community event, which led to me auditioning for my first show (where I was officially bit by the “theatre bug”). I’d love to introduce that love to other people!

Who have been some of your mentors during your time at UCF?
I want to give a huge thank you to Dr. Darius Lana and Gabrielle Jarmoszko, both faculty members at the University of Central Florida. They’ve given me outstanding guidance, taking time out of their busy lives to provide advice and opportunity, and ignited a brighter flame in me for this industry. They also strengthened my research methods, shaped my strategic and creative thinking, and set me up for success in both my career and life. Without them, there is no way I’d be stepping out into the “real world” this confident.

Also, I’ve had outstanding internship opportunities throughout my collegiate career. To those at VVI, the DAPA/Washington Pavilion, Central Florida Community Arts, Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, and Universal Destinations & Experiences: I can’t thank you enough for your trust and guidance.

What are your plans after graduation? What’s your dream job?
I’m looking to accept a position in strategy, communication planning, and/or something in marketing. I’ve always had a deep love for music, theatre, film, and the general performing arts.

My dream job would be at a performing arts center or theatre company, like The Public, or an agency that works with Broadway, like SpotCo!