San Francisco dreams? Scholarships can help.

by Janet Paulson
Clackamas Community College
Oregon City, OR

Like so many of our colleagues in NCMPR, I entered the world of public relations and marketing from the newspaper world. As a journalism student at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), I had no interest in ever leaving “real journalism” for the “dark side” of PR.

Life’s circumstances change us. As a single mother working as the editor of a weekly newspaper, I began to look for opportunities that would use my professional skills, while providing better hours and stable benefits. I started work at Clackamas Community College in 2000 as the media and marketing specialist.

The media part of the job was second nature to me, but the marketing aspect was new and different. I stumbled through my first few months, trying my hand at writing a few brochures.

The following fall, I attended the NCMPR District 7 conference in Seaside, Oregon. And that’s where The Lights Went On. Wow! Each session was like a revelation – filled with fantastic, relevant information about marketing, presented by speakers who really understood the community college world. I still remember Sandra and Larry Golden discussing building the marketing plan.

I was able to attend my first national conference in Baltimore in 2004 through the support of an NCMPR professional development scholarship. The district and national conferences continue to provide the single greatest professional development for communication professionals at two-year colleges.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend an NCMPR national conference or if you have not attended in a while, I encourage you to explore the professional development scholarships and grants available to members. NCMPR offers scholarships for new members who have never attended a national conference, as well as for seasoned professionals who can demonstrate how they will benefit from attending. The grants are designated for those employed at colleges with restricted travel budgets.

The $400 awards don’t cover all of the conference costs, but they do cover a good portion. If you would like to learn more and apply, visit

This year’s conference, as you probably know, will take place in San Francisco, California, a beautiful, romantic and truly international city. The conference will be held at the historic Fairmount San Francisco, an elegant century-old hotel that is close to many familiar locales including Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square and North Beach.

Learn more about the 2012 national conference here. And if money’s an impediment to attending, apply for an NCMPR professional development scholarship or grant. We are all working so hard at our colleges; the conference will refresh, revive and inspire you to continue your good work!

Janet Paulson is NCMPR District 7 Director and public information officer at Clackamas Community College in Oregon.

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