2019 Summit Scholarship Winners


The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations awarded eight diverse public relations students scholarships to attend its 2019 Summit on Diversity and Inclusion held in Chicago on Nov. 8.

The scholarship recipients selected were:

Daniel Baires

Daniel Baires is a research-driven senior at NC State where he studies public relations and journalism. He is a lover of laughter, with a passion for equality. Daniel, the incoming President of the PRSSA Chapter at NC State, is excited to intern with French/West/Vaughan this fall. He has a penchant for telling unique stories and hopes to use his skill set for good. He hopes to engage in continuous learning and looks forward to new adventures ahead.







Therese CastroTherese (Reese) Castro is a first-generation Filipino American from Dallas, Texas. Currently, she is a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Public Relations degree, Sociology minor and also a Business Public Policy certificate. She is a firm believer that everyone’s stories deserve to be told and as a queer woman of color, she has a unique point of view that often isn’t told in mainstream media yet. It is a goal of hers to get that narrative the representation it deserves, in any format possible. In the future, she hopes to use her Public Relations degree to work in Diversity and Inclusion in the entertainment sector. Her dream is to be able to highlight more queer women of color in the entertainment industry.




Giana Darville

Giana Darville is senior at Oakwood University studying public relations and minoring in political science. As a 2018 LAGRANT Foundation scholarship recipient, Giana co-created a PR campaign promoting inclusion and diversity on college campuses that earned the PR Council’s 2018 Student Innovation Award. Giana serves as a Truth Initiative Ambassador and is creating a yearlong video project that addresses today’s most critical tobacco-related topics. Giana is also a 2019 Thurgood Marshall College Fund Apple HBCU Scholar and spent her summer interning in Corporate Communications at Apple’s world headquarters. Previously, Giana worked with the Allen Entrepreneurial institute by hosting YALI Washington Mandela Fellowship recipients (an international program started by President Barak Obama), creating multimedia content and working with Atlanta-area media and political leaders to advance entrepreneurial initiatives. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Giana is passionate about great food, expressive fashion and combining creative communication with inclusive PR tactics to overcome obstacles.


Gisselle Garcia

Gisselle Garcia is a senior at the University of Florida majoring in public relations with a concentration in political science. Garcia is a first-generation Mexican-American born and raised in Florida. She is a founding executive board member of the first chapter of the Hispanic Public Relations Student Association (HPRSA).

Last summer, Garcia and seven other journalists traveled to Puerto Rico to share stories about the state of the island nearly a year after Hurricane Maria. The bilingual multimedia news special Life After Maria won 1st place in the Spanish category for the Best Natural Disaster Coverage by the Society for Professional Journalists.

This past summer, she was a public relations intern at Linda Costa Communications Group in Winter Park, FL, assisting in hyper-local and national media outreach. Garcia currently serves as the co-research manager at the Agency at UF, a student-led strategic communications firm. She plans to graduate in Fall 2019.


Gernise Gregoire

Gernise Gregoire is passionate about developing ideas, implementing them and making an impact in the world as a servant leader. She is a faith-driven Haitian American from West Palm Beach, FL and currently majoring in public relations with a concentration in business at the University of Florida.

Gregoire serves as the founder and president of the second National Black Public Relations Student Society in the nation where she advocates for diversity and inclusion in the public relations field. She is also a former Bank of America student leader intern and recently completed her employment as an executive communications intern at the National League of Cities where she contributed to raising the voice of our nation’s leaders.

From freelance photography, videography, graphic designing and writing, Gregoire has a love for cultivating creative work and enhancing multiple brands and images including The Miami Herald, Essence Festival, National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters and more. She is a Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Scholar, National Achievers Society Scholar and a Community Foundation Scholar.

Gregoire hopes to expand her knowledge in such a dynamic field and become a successful business owner.


Marco Ramirez

Marco Ramirez is a senior at the University of Central Arkansas double majoring in communication and public relations. He is involved in UCA Speech and Debate, Latino Student Association, Association of Future Alumni, LEAD Team and President Leadership Fellows. Marco is recognized nationally for his leadership and academics, and is a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar. Marco currently interns as a public relations fellow with the Conductor through Facebook Career Connections, where he is helping with the mission to provide entrepreneurial support through consulting, mentorship, access to capital and maker training. Marco wants to work in public policy and further his commitment to community outreach initiatives in Arkansas. Marco holds Arkansas State Championship titles in Communication Analysis, Persuasive Speaking, Communication Analysis and Dramatic Interpretation.



Annabelle Schmitt

Annabelle Schmitt is a 21-year-old senior at Penn State University studying Advertising and Chinese. Two years ago, she launched Mixed Hues, an intersectional feminist fashion blog dedicated to empowering womyn through radical self-love and social justice. As a pansexual mixed-race Taiwanese woman of color (quite the mouthful), Annabelle hoped to inspire womyn like her struggling to find their power in a world that’s determined to put them down. Since then, she’s dedicated herself to exploring issues of mixed race Asian American identity, race, gender, sexuality, and more. Through her work, she hopes to inspire womyn to shed the negative beliefs that white supremacist heteropatriarchy feeds us from birth.





Tamarra Thal

Tamarra Thal is a passionate public relations student at the University of Florida. On her campus, she can be found working as the PR Director for the nation’s second National Black Public Relations Student Society and as an Account Executive for The Agency at UF. Tamarra is also involved off-campus, currently working as an Ambassador for the truth campaign. This past summer, she had the opportunity to intern for IBM on the Corporate Communications team. Her achievements include being a Gates Millennium Scholar, a LAGRANT Foundation Scholar and a Frank Karel Fellow. This past February, she gave a 7-minute talk at the Frank Conference, where she discussed the harmful effects of labeling marginalized communities. During her free time, Tamarra loves watching horror movies, dancing and trying new food!