Daija Rion ’23, Ariana Wilson ’23 earn prestigious LAGRANT Foundation scholarships 

The School of Communications has had nine LAGRANT scholars in the last five years.

Daija Rion ’23 and Ariana Wilson ’23 were recently named recipients of 2021 LAGRANT Foundation scholarships, which support ethnically diverse college and university students interested in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. In the past five years, School of Communications students have secured nine such scholarships.

Daija Rion ’23 (left) and Ariana Wilson

In celebration of its 23rd anniversary, The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) awarded a total of $175,000 through 60 scholarships, an increase over past years, per the scholarship announcement. The decision to increase the number of scholarship awards for a second consecutive year was made to ease the financial challenges students have encountered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rion and Wilson are among 40 undergraduate students nationwide to receive the financial scholarships worth $2,500 each. Other universities with undergraduate recipients included American University, Fordham University, Howard University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, University of Miami, University of Oregon, and University of Washington.

A strategic communications and marketing double major, Wilson called it “an honor and privilege” to be named a LAGRANT scholar. And she applauded TLF’s mission to help “bridge the gap among ethnic minorities within the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations.”

“It’s critical for students like myself to share our unique experiences and ensure our voices are being heard as brands’ content and messaging should be reflective of today, if they are seeking to be successful within this growing multicultural world,” Wilson said.

As she continues her education, Wilson said she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded students and marketing professionals within TLF’s network to grow her personal and professional development, including her interests in brand management and corporate social responsibility.

“It’s my desire to continue advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion and empowering students of color in the advertising, marketing and public relations fields,” she said.

A first-generation college student studying strategic communications, Rion also called it an honor to be “recognized by such an extraordinary organization such as TLF.”

Rion said the scholarship and financial assistance will allow her to focus on her career aspirations – working as a director of public relations at a primary or secondary school in a low socioeconomic area. Her goal, she said, is to help improve community relations and provide students with access to important resources.

In lieu of an in-person celebration and networking event, this year’s scholarship recipients will participate in a multi-day virtual program that includes a kickoff with KeJuan Wilkins, vice president of enterprise communications at Nike and TLF board member, as well as virtual career development and professional workshops with Procter & Gamble and Marina Maher Communications.

In 2020, Mikayla Ford ’22 received a TLF scholarship and interned remotely with Procter & Gamble Company. The previous year Elon students Arianne Payne ’20 and Maggie Cornejo ’21 were among the 39 undergraduate students to receive LAGRANT scholarships. In 2018, Elon alumna Gabrielle Beamon ’19, Ozelle Bower ’19, Anissa Cooper ’19 and Janay Tyson ’19 all received undergraduate scholarships, tying Elon for the most undergraduate recipients nationally.

The School of Communications and The LAGRANT Foundation have a longstanding relationship. Earlier this year, the two organizations successfully collaborated on the school’s bid to establish the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon. With a three-year financial commitment totaling $300,000 from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the School of Communications will host a new educational initiative to inspire high school students to embark on journalism careers.

About The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF)

Since its inception in 1998, The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) has provided nearly $3 million and 703 scholarships to continue its mission to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. With the generous support of its major donors and supporters, TLF provides scholarships, career and professional development workshops, mentorships and internships/entry-level positions to African American/Black, Alaska Native/Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate and graduate students.