Samantha “Sam” Halle, a second-year student at the VCU Brandcenter in Richmond is the 2015 recipient of a $5,000 annual scholarship from Spurrier Media Group (SMG), one of the leading media and research firms in both Richmond and Washington, D.C. Since 2008, SMG has contributed $40,000 to support scholarships for eight deserving Brandcenter students who intend to pursue a career in the advertising field.

According to Emily Toalson, director of development for VCU Brandcenter, the investment by Spurrier Media Group represents a level of support that is unprecedented for a small business in the advertising and media industry. “We are indebted to Donna Spurrier and her team for providing this financial boost to launch the careers of our scholarship winners over the years,” she said. “Sam Halle follows in a line of deserving recipients, and she is a lucky young lady!”

A native of Chesterfield County, Va., Halle earned a bachelor’s degree in 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in public policy and public relations, as well as earning a minor in psychology from Duke University. According to a release, “An overachiever in all aspects of her life, she was the director of her college chapter of Camp Kesem, a camp for children who have a parent with cancer.

““My father died when I was 11 and I attended Comfort Zone Camp,” she said. Comfort Zone is a bereavement camp that helps kids who have suffered the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver cope with the loss and channel their grief. “This started me on the path of wanting to learn about how people think and how to motivate them to care for something.””

Halle is a veteran of several internships, including at high-profile companies such as Ogilvy & Mather, where she enjoyed working on accounts in both the public and private sectors. During the summer of 2014, she was a member of the digital marketing and branding team at Airbnb. “It was really exciting to see how analytics are used to guide business decisions,” she said.

The scholarship from Spurrier Media Group enables her to embrace the many opportunities at VCU Brandcenter to the fullest. “It allows me to focus more on diving into projects and team activities instead of worrying about how to pay the bills for grad school,” she said. “The scholarship takes a huge weight off my shoulders. It’s incredible!”

Donna Spurrier, founder and CEO of Spurrier Media Group and a frequent guest speaker in Brandcenter classes, commented on her agency’s commitment to the scholarship program at Brandcenter. “We are delighted to help bright, talented students like Samantha take full advantage of this world-class graduate school experience. We look forward to watching her career trajectory for years to come.”

Caley Cantrell, a Brandcenter professor, noted, “The Spurrier Media Group scholarship is going to a very dedicated student. Samantha has worked hard to get everything out of the Brandcenter that she can, and I feel certain she will put this scholarship to great use.”

Long term, Halle would like to work at a nonprofit and she said that the skills learned at VCU Brandcenter will help her attain that goal in the future.

(Shown in photo left to right are Samantha Halle, VCU Brandcenter student and winner of the annual Spurrier Media Group scholarship; Donna Spurrier, CEO of Spurrier Media Group; and Caley Cantrell, professor at VCU Brandcenter. )

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