The Plank Center Aims to Bridge the Gap Between Education and Practice

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations continues to bridge the gap between education and practice with its Fellowship for Educators Program. In the program’s eighth year, the following 10 educators have been selected to join the communications team at world-class public relations agencies and corporations.

  • Samara Anarbaeva, California State University at Chico, hosted by Deveney Communications (New Orleans)
  • Joy Daggs, Northwest Missouri State University, hosted by Harley-Davidson (Milwaukee)
  • Melody Fisher, Mississippi State University, hosted by Discover (Chicago)
  • Dane Kiambi, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, hosted by General Motors (Detroit)
  • Yi Luo, Montclair State University, hosted by American Airlines (Fort Worth)
  • Candace Parrish, North Carolina Central University, hosted by Darden Restaurants (Orlando)
  • Katie Place, Quinnipiac University, hosted by Weber Shandwick (New York)
  • Brandi Watkins, Virginia Tech University, hosted by Ketchum (Chicago)
  • Jee Young Chung, University of Arkansas, hosted by W20 Group (New York)
  • Jenny Zhengye Hou, Massey University (New Zealand), hosted by Burson-Marsteller (New York)

“Educators partake in research projects, training sessions and presentations, and assist with company projects. In return, the host organizations agree to spend up to two days on the educator’s college or university campus with faculty, administrators and students to share industry knowledge, trends and valuable insight,” said Keith Burton, vice chair of the Plank Center and principal of Grayson Emmett Partners.

Developed specifically for public relations educators, the program consists of an intensive, two-week summer fellowship, which allows the fellows to enhance their professional development, leadership growth and networking skills.

Our namesake, the legendary Betsy Plank, had a life-long dream of facilitating a relationship between educators and professionals so both would grow together. Since its inception, more than 65 educators have been selected to the program.

For more information on the Fellowship for Educators Program or The Plank Center, go to

About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

In 2005, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees established The Plank Center. Named for public relations leader and UA alumna, the late Betsy Plank, the Center develops and recognizes outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society through a variety of initiatives.

More information about the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations can be found at