Established in 2020, the PRSA Chicago Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program is designed to attract, recruit and retain people of color to the practice of public relations and communications.

Two Annual Renewable Awards
Each at $3,000

Two individual awards, each in the amount of $3,000, are presented to talented communications students of African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native or Pacific Islander ancestry who are juniors. The award will include a paid summer internship at a Chicago agency affiliated with PRSA Chicago between the Diversity Fellow’s junior and senior year. The award is renewable for the Fellow’s senior year based on attaining a 3.0 GPA.

Following graduation, the Diversity Fellows will be considered for additional employment opportunities at PRSA Chicago member agencies. Membership in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is preferred, but is not a requirement.


A quick, interactive guide designed to help you understand the application process better and fill out the application form.


A quick, interactive guide designed to help you understand the application process better and fill out the application form.


Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be registered as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited four-year college or university in Illinois.
  • Be enrolled in public relations studies, journalism, communications or courses preparing for a career in public relations.
  • Be enrolled in their junior year of studies.
  • Have a minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Be of African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native or Pacific Islander ancestry.

 To apply for this award, submit the following:

  • A completed online application process found here.
    • Full name
    • Race/ethnicity: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native or Pacific Islander
    • Gender
    • Address
    • Contact information: address, email, phone
    • University name
    • Major and minor
  • A 500-word essay that explains why the applicant feels they are a top candidate for the Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship and how they uplift Diversity and Inclusion within their university and among their peers.
  • A recommendation letter of no more than two pages from a faculty member or advisor.
  • An official transcript of all college/university courses completed that clearly indicates current overall GPA.

All materials should be error free and thoroughly proofread. All application materials must be posted to the electronic portal (click here) by January 31, 2022. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be judged by members of PRSA Chicago, public relations educators and professionals using the following criteria:

  1. Writing skills as demonstrated throughout the application and essay
  2. Recommendation letter
  3. Academic achievement in overall studies, with an emphasis on industry applicable courses
  4. Awards or honors received for academic or extracurricular achievements, with an emphasis on PR or communications recognition

Applicants will receive notification by March 2022 and fulfillment of the scholarship funding will occur by April 2022.

The Importance of Diversity in PR

PRSA Ethnic Makeup of the PR Industry in the US

PRSA Chicago is committed to educational development

Diversity Fellowship Program helps attract and train diverse professionals

The Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship pays tribute to the meaningful contributions that she has made as a leading African-American pioneer in the PR industry, as well as her deep dedication to diversity for more than 30 years.

About Michelle Flowers

A visionary public relations and marketing entrepreneur, Michelle Flowers Welch is an award-winning expert in the field of multicultural communications. She founded Flowers Communications Group, one of the nation’s top multicultural integrated marketing agencies, in 1991.  Her firm was named to Forbes America’s Best PR Agencies 2021 list.  One of her firm’s core values is focused on cultivating the next generation of multicultural communications practitioners. In support of Flowers Welch’s lifelong commitment to diversity in the public relations industry, Flowers Communications Group is a founding sponsor of the PRSA Chicago Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program.

A strategic, innovative thought leader, Flowers Welch serves as a trusted senior counselor to clients and an inspiring mentor to young professionals. Before she discovered her love of agency life, her career included PR roles in corporate, nonprofit and government sectors. She began her career in agency public relations at Golin/Harris and later joined Burrell Communications Group to pursue her desire to work in ethnic marketing.

Flowers Welch holds a master’s degree in advertising from Northwestern University and is a magna cum laude graduate of Winston-Salem State University. Her firm has received more than 100 industry awards for communications excellence. A charter inductee into Northwestern University’s Medill Hall of Fame, Flowers Welch is the recipient of the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a member of the PR News Hall of Fame, and was named PRSA Chicago’s 2017 Distinguished Senior Leader.  A member of The Economic Club, she currently serves on the boards of The Salvation Army, PRSA Chicago and the PR Council.

In 2021, she was named as the PRSA Chicago Diversity & Inclusion Team Champion, as one of Chicago United’s Business Leaders of Color, among the PRNEWS Top Women in PR and to iHeartMedia’s Women Who WIN Class of 2021. Michelle was also recently inducted into the PR Week Hall of Fame.

Let Us Unlock Your Fullest Potential

The Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program is in partnership with PRSA Chicago. Click here to learn more.

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Michelle Flowers PRSA Diversity Fellowship