Department announces MarketingMel PR Scholarship


JOHNSON CITY (September 12, 2014) – The newly formed Department of Mass Communication at East Tennessee State University has established and awarded a new scholarship, the MarketingMel Public Relations Scholarship.  The inaugural recipient is Alex Quillin, an advertising and public relations major.  The scholarship fund has been established through a donation from Mary Ellen Miller to honor the fifth anniversary of MarketingMel, her public relations, marketing, and social media firm based in Johnson City.

Quillin is a 19-year-old from Blountville with a 3.8 grade point average, who hopes to graduate three semesters early. She is MarketingMel’s newest intern, and will work with her during the 2014 fall semester and the 2015 spring semester.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Mary Ellen Miller and her firm, MarketingMel. I’ve heard she is the best mentor in the area, and I want to learn everything I possibly can from her,” Quillin said.  “I’ve always heard that in order to be successful, I need to surround myself with successful people, and that’s exactly what I plan to do, starting with Mel.”

“We have a history of great community support of scholarship for our mass communication students and I’m thrilled to have the support of Mary Ellen Miller added to that list,” said Dr. Stephen Marshall, chair of ETSU’s Department of Mass Communication. “Her support acknowledging our new department is fantastic and her continued mentoring of students is a model approach to professional development.”

Miller said she was delighted to celebrate her firm’s fifth anniversary by promoting one of its cornerstones: mentoring the next generation of PR professionals.

“Since founding MarketingMel five years ago, I have made it my mission to devote myself to mentoring the next generation of public relations professionals,” Miller said. “One of my former interns, Kristen Pierce, just completed a national satellite media tour with her CEO when I was speaking with her last week. It’s been a pleasure watching these young women go on to great success.”

In addition to the scholarship, MarketingMel has a long history of supporting student learning in communication at ETSU by providing internship opportunities. Past interns have found great success in their careers and sing the praises of their experiences learning and working alongside Miller.

Sarah Kinsler (intern/associate, 2013/14) has joined Cumberland Marketing as digital marketing coordinator. “It’s been awesome!,” she says of her intern experience. “I’ve gotten to meet great people and I’ve gotten to get my hands in things I wouldn’t have been involved with without being involved with MarketingMel.”

Emma Brock, (intern 2013/14) is currently the territory manager at Nestlé Purina North America in Atlanta.  “The most important thing I’ve learned through this internship is …the value in people,” Brock says.  “Each person comes into the market with a different need, and it’s really about the relationships you form with those people and really understanding what they are asking of you and what you can proved them with.”

Pierce (intern, 2012/13) says, “My time with Mel has been crucial to my growth as a young public relations professional. She has taught me how to apply the skills I learned at East Tennessee State University to real world situations.”

Pierce serves as public relations coordinator at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Sarah Rowan, (intern, 2011/12) is the current sales manager at Visit Knoxville – Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some of my best experiences with MarketingMel other than learning and being able to experience the daily grind of PR and what real-world PR is like, was networking,” she said.  “Mel really taught me how to network and how important that is in today’s business world.”

Miller is an alumnus of the ETSU M.B.A. program. Her business, MarketingMel, is  an award-winning marketing, public relations and social media strategies firm. For more information about MarketingMel visit

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