Communication institute awards scholarships for experiential learning

May 22, 2014  

In its inaugural year, the Purdue Institute for Civic Communication (PICC) distributed 27 merit scholarships worth a total of $39,050 to students involved in the organization.

Funding undergraduates' experiential learning in fields pertinent to civic communication, public affairs and policy continues to be one of PICC's primary goals, says Carolyn Curiel, clinical professor of communication and executive director of PICC.

“Our goal is to bring a fruitful learning experience to Purdue undergraduates and to put them in the room with the people who have achieved in the fields our students aspire to,” says Curiel, who is a former White House speechwriter and U.S. ambassador.

Most recently, PICC awarded a total of $8,000 through its Application Matters for Our Students (AMOS) program earlier this month. The scholarships were awarded to four students who secured unpaid internships this summer or fall in a relevant field.

Recipients were:

* Cecilia Daizovi, a senior studying public relations and strategic communication. Daizovi will intern with the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C.

* Alison Gayer, a senior studying political science and professional writing. Gayer will intern with the Center for Global Impact in Greenwood, Ind. 

* Jonathan Goodwin, a senior studying political science. Goodwin will intern at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C.

* Ahndia Mansoori, a senior studying political science. Mansoori also will intern at C-SPAN.

Also in May, PICC awarded a total of $25,750 to students who are participating in an ongoing summer-session program at C-SPAN.

In partnership with Brian Lamb, C-SPAN's founder and executive chairman, Curiel designs and teaches the class. During its two-week duration, students are visiting with key officials at the White House, U.S. State Department, Capitol Hill, the Washington Post and other centers of influence.

In April, PICC awarded a total of $3,500 to the top three students who participated in the organization's first Great Issues Debate.

During the event, students debated topics they drew at random and were judged on the quality of their arguments, their communication skills and their command of data supporting their positions.

Other merit awards PICC distributed this year included a total of $1,800 awarded to students who participated in a three-credit class during spring break.

The class, titled The Civic Communicators: Lincoln to Reagan, consisted of a bus tour through the Midwest. Presidential historian Richard Norton Smith and Curiel co-taught the class.

PICC is a nonpartisan, university-wide organization focused on bringing real-world communication leaders and students together through innovative forums and classes. Sponsored by the Bill Daniels Fund of Denver, PICC emphasizes making experiential learning accessible to involved students no matter their financial means.

Students interested in PICC's upcoming scholarship opportunities should go to its website,, and watch for the first callout of the coming academic year.

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