Public relations graduate honored with scholarship, internship program

Carly Mathews

A new scholarship and internship program has been created in the public relations major in honor of a recently passed WKU graduate.

McKenzi Loid was a 2008 graduate of Bowling Green High School and a 2012 graduate of WKU with a degree in public relations. After graduating from WKU, Loid worked as an account manager at the Guthrie Mayes Public Relations firm in Louisville. In 2016, she moved to Pittsburgh and worked with the Walsh Group as a public relations manager on the state’s public-private Rapid Bridge Replacement project.

On June 27, Loid was killed in a car accident in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Those close to Loid have created a scholarship and internship in her honor.

The scholarship will be given to a student selected from the public relations major, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. The Walsh Group, along with Loid’s family and friends, founded the scholarship to help inspire other young public relations majors through her memory, Jessica Carver, vice president of the College Heights Foundation, said.

The scholarship is monitored by the College Heights Foundation, a scholarship fund dedicated to the purpose of administrating funds donated by alumni, corporations, organizations and other friends to deserving students.

Carver said despite never having met Loid, she has heard “what a wonderful person she was.”

“Many others have expressed what a wonderful and hardworking person McKenzi was,” Carver said. “We’ve had donations from her family and friends, and that just helps to show the impact that she had on others.”

The scholarship will be a mixture of endowed and non-endowed funds, to help make sure that the scholarship is able to be made available continually, Carver said.

In addition to the public relations scholarship, an internship is also being developed by the department in conjunction with Loid’s high school, Bowling Green High School.

The internship will allow for a WKU public relations student to work with Bowling Green High School’s journalism department to expand the program with public relations principles. The internship will also include a $1,000 stipend for the semester. The internship will allow for one student to work each semester, in both the fall and the spring, Carver said.

The internship applications will be available until mid-November. The scholarship was awarded for the first time this semester to public relations and sociology double major, Allison O’Brien.

O’Brien, a senior from Elizabethtown, said she was originally shocked when notified she had been chosen for the scholarship, and that the award was very “humbling.”

“I’m very honored to have been chosen for this scholarship,” O’Brien said. “Everything that I hear about McKenzi makes me believe that she was a hard-working and dedicated person, and I’m happy to have been chosen in the sense of those ideals.”

Reporter Carly Mathew can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].