Three Members Awarded Scholarships for FPRA’s 78th Annual Conference

LAKELAND, FL (June 28, 2016) – Three members of the Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) will attend FPRA’s 78th Annual Conference at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor, FL,  August 7 to 10, on professional development scholarships awarded by the local chapter.

Sheila Skipper, assistant professor of public relations at Southeastern University; Amy Wiggins, executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra; and Erin Knothe, marketing specialist with Mid Florida Federal Credit Union, were announced as scholarship recipients by chapter President Marybeth Soderstrom at an FPRA professional development meeting on June 21 in Lakeland.

All members of the Dick Pope/Polk County FPRA chapter are eligible to apply for a scholarship which covers the $725 registration fee for the conference. Recipients are chosen by a special panel based on their current and past service to the FPRA chapter as officers, committee members and/or in other capacities.

Funding for the scholarships was derived from the 2016 Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk, a community service project of the FPRA unit that also raised $4,000 for the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway & Youth Crisis Shelter in Bartow. Staged on April 30 at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, the 2016 Carillon Classic attracted hundreds of runners from Florida and other states.

“Providing scholarships for members who wish to perfect their public relations skills by attending the state conference is a tremendous benefit that enhances the value of membership in our FPRA chapter,” Soderstrom said.

Named for Cypress Gardens’ founder Dick Pope, Sr., the Dick Pope/Polk County chapter is one of 15 professional chapters of Sarasota-based FPRA, the nation’s oldest public relations professional organization. FPRA provides professional development, networking and recognition opportunities for more than 1,300 Florida public relations practitioners.  For information on the state organization and the annual conference, visit on the web.

The local chapter meets at 7:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the Cleveland Heights Golf & Country Club. All meetings are open to the public.  Additional information is available on the chapter website at or by contacting Brad Ruhmann at or 863-662-0699