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Welcome Back ADPR Students

Welcome back to Rocky Top!

The faculty and staff in the School of Advertising and Public Relations welcome you back for the spring 2019 semester.

We have a lot of exciting activities planned for the new year including the AdClub New York City trip, an internship and job fair, AdClub and PRSSA meetings, UT Social Media Week, and a three-day trip to Atlanta's top public relations and advertising organizations.

We love to hear about your internships, study abroad experiences and your classes. I hope you will stop by the office to say hello.

Here are some important dates for spring 2019:

January 15             Welcome Back Coffee - ADPR suite, 9:30-11:30 a.m. get snacks and coffee

January 21             MLK King Jr. Day, University Closed

February 1            ADPR Scholarship Applications Due, see emails to follow

February 11           CCI Annual Research Symposium, in the Communications Lobby

February 13           Jumpstart Your Major, mandatory for all 310/340R students, see emails to follow

February 26-28     UT Social Media Week, see emails to follow

April 10-13           ADPR Development Trip to Atlanta, see emails to follow

April 19                Spring Recess, University Closed 

April 15                CCI  Honors Convocation for award and scholarship winners

May 9                   CCI Graduation


Maureen Taylor

Professor and Director

School of Advertising & Public Relations

Big Orange in the Big Apple

Matt MeyersFinding the right career path as a college student is a tough journey and looks different for everyone. For Matt Myers, a senior studying advertising, his journey included attending the advertising trip to New York City. 

 The AdClub is a student-run organization that hosts an annual trip to New York City to provide students the opportunity to tour advertising agencies, network with industry professionals and explore the city. Myers decided to attend the trip to New York because he wanted to better understand agency life, build relationships with companies and decide if he truly desired to pursue an advertising career in New York after graduation.

One aspect of the New York trip that makes it unique to other university trips is the freedom offered to the students during their week in the city. Although there is a schedule to tour specific agencies, students are given the opportunity to explore New York throughout the day, try new restaurants, and interview with companies on their own. Myers spent his free time attending a Broadway show and interviewing for summer internships.

For Myers and many other students in attendance, one of the most eye-opening parts of the trip was discovering the endless possibilities that advertising has to offer. “I discovered careers that I never knew were possible,” said Myers. “We met a woman whose sole job was brand activation. This trip opened our minds to career opportunities that we didn’t even know existed.”

One of the main reasons that students are given the opportunity to tour agencies is to expose them to the culture of each organization. Myers explains, “Every agency has a specific personality. Instead of just wanting a job after college, it’s important to understand the culture. This trip taught me how to ask questions about the organization’s dynamic, so I can find the best place for me.”

The New York trip gave Myers and many other students the clarity they were hoping to find. After graduating this spring, he hopes to move to New York and begin his career in agency life, specifically in entertainment marketing.



Interim Director of ADPR Announced

Sally McMillan: Interim Director of the School of ADPR, written by Cara Hunter

Dr. Sally McMillanAfter 20 years at the University of Tennessee serving as a faculty member, associate dean in the College of Communication and Information and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sally McMillan will serve as interim director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations starting on June 1, 2019.

McMillan did not always plan on pursuing a career in academics. After changing her major many times, McMillan graduated with a degree in English from Southern Adventist University and went on to teach high school students for two years. After realizing that teaching at a high school level was not her calling, she went on to work in book editing and receive a master’s degree in public relations from the University of Maryland. Later, she moved to Wisconsin with her husband where she was hired by a software development company. Starting in the public relations department, McMillan quickly moved up to vice president for sales and marketing and later president of the company. However, McMillan questioned whether she wanted to work in technology for the rest of her life.

Because she had enjoyed adjunct teaching at the college level and had a passion for research, she decided to attend the University of Oregon, where she received a doctorate in mass communication and society. Upon graduation, McMillan taught advertising at Boston University but quickly realized that she did not want to live in Boston forever and applied for a faculty position at the University of Tennessee. McMillan started as an assistant professor and taught for five years before being recruited to serve as the associate dean in the College of Communication and Information. Five years later, she was recruited to be Vice Provost for Academic Affairs where she focused on developing a strategic plan for undergraduate students.

McMillan took advantage of her time in an administrative role to create positive change for undergraduate students. She helped develop One Stop and uTrack and revised curriculum to make it easier for students to graduate on time. Her work, along with the work of many others is reflected in the fact that the four-year graduation rate increased by 22 percent in 10 years.

In 2015, McMillan left her administrative role to return to teaching. She has taught an assortment of advertising and public relations courses and researches a variety of topics. When asked about which career achievement she is most proud of, McMillan states, “Being able to do research that helps students succeed in college has been the most rewarding. Teaching is great because I can work directly with students to help them learn, but being able to step back and research structural changes that can improve student success is the work that I feel can make the most broad-reaching difference.”

McMillan Award

Throughout her many years as a communication practitioner, technology executive, professor, researcher, and administrator, McMillan’s list of achievements does not go unnoticed. This past October, McMillan was awarded Alumna of the Year by the Southern Adventist University Alumni Association for her outstanding professional contributions to the fields of education, administrative leadership, communication and research. McMillan plans to take her experience and love for students into her new role as interim director to continue leading the School of Advertising and Public Relations in the right direction. See more about her award here.

Spring Advertising and Public Relations Intern

The School of Advertising and Public Relations is hiring an intern for the Spring 2019 semester. This is a paid internship for registered University of Tennessee students. Applications are due to by November 5, 2018. 

School of ADPR Marketing/Communication Intern


Duties Include:

Social media ad creation

Social media campaign creation

Social media strategy

Brand building

Streamlining website

Content creation

Work with coordinator and social media intern

Attend weekly meetings

Skills Needed:

  • Social media analysis
  • Google analytics (Preferred)
  • Adwords (Preferred)
  • Strong writing skills
  • Research
  • Design
  • Strong communication skills


  • Degree-seeking student currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Passion for design, content creation and social media
  • Strong writing and social media skills
  • Strong initiative to complete independent work
  • Demonstrate a desire to learn about the School of ADPR and its students

About the School of ADPR:

Located in the College of Communication and Information, the School of Advertising and Public Relations houses two fo the most popular majors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Advertising and Public Relations programs offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. The programs are nationally and internationally recognized and accredited for the quality of their scholarship and instruction. 

Our program offers opportunities beyond the classroom that involve professional internships across the nation, study abroad in various countries, and school sponsored trips to network with industry leaders and alumni in New York, Nashville and Atlanta. With its nationally recognized educators and wide-ranging opportunities, the School of Advertising and Public Relations continues to be a program of excellence at the University of Tennessee, preparing students and scholars to become innovative leaders in their respective fields. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If interested, email resume and cover letter along with examples of your social media posts or portfolio to with the subject line: Student Intern

Student Spotlight: Brandon Boatwright

Doctoral Student Spotlight: Brandon Boatwright by Cara Hunter

Brandon BoatwrightOn October 10, the Howard Baker Center hosted the US senatorial debate between Representative Marsha Blackburn and former Governor Phil Bredesen. While the debate took place, the university’s Adam Brown Social Media Command Center provided live social media analysis of the sentiment of the debate.

 Dr. Courtney Childers and Brandon Boatwright oversaw the social media analysis of the debate. Boatwright is a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information and the assistant in residence of the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center (ABSMCC).

 A career in academia and research was not on Brandon Boatwright’s radar when he majored in journalism as an undergraduate student at Clemson University. During the early years of his education, he had full intentions of becoming a sports writer. It wasn’t until an internship caused Boatwright to be working long hours and late nights that he realized sports journalism was not his passion.

When Boatwright decided to go back to Clemson for his master’s degree in communication, technology and society, he was given the opportunity to teach. “When I was in the classroom with the students, I realized this is where I want to be,” recalls Boatwright.

 After teaching at Clemson for four years, Boatwright came to the University of Tennessee to pursue his doctorate while continuing to follow his passion for teaching and research. “UT had everything I was looking for in a school,” says Boatwright. “I found myself conducting research with some of the best faculty members I have ever met, using innovative resources to study public relations and making an impact on the engaged undergraduate population that I teach on a daily basis. I found a community at UT.”

 Research is one of the many hats Boatwright wears on campus. He spends a lot of his time supporting research of various faculty members. “The ADPR community is awesome because I get to work with people who are much smarter than me every single day,” states Boatwright. He specializes in research that focuses on how an organization takes a stand on controversial issues, its decision-making process and the implications for the publics they target.

Boatwright also spends a lot of his time working in the social media command center. After working in Clemson’s social media listening center, this role of various tasks is familiar to Boatwright. Depending on the day, Boatwright is either working on the ABSMCC blog, giving demonstrations about the software to various courses so they can incorporate it into the classroom, analyzing the sentiment of social media posts regarding current events or facilitating research for other faculty members in the college. “It is such a robust tool, and it’s so rewarding that I get to help students feel confident and competent while using it,” says Boatwright.

Boatwright’s time at UT has helped him expand his skill set while discovering his true passion for teaching and researching. “I don’t think I would get a better doctorate education anywhere else,” states Boatwright. “UT was the best place for me.”

#SheCan Campaign Comes to Life

#SheCan Campaign Comes to Life written by Cara Hunter

When students spend an entire semester working on a project, they long for their ideas to be utilized for a real organization. For Alexandria Dodson and her fellow group members, Kayley Green, Maci Mays, Madi Mayfield, Bridgette Givand, Madeleine Constantine, this dream became a reality.

Dodson is an alumna of the School of Advertising and Public Relations and graduated from the University of Tennessee in December of 2017. During her final semester at UT, Dodson completed Public Relations Campaigns, a course that brings together all the skills that public relations majors have learned over the years in order to create a campaign for a real client.

Dr. Courtney Childers taught campaigns that semester and was tasked with choosing the client. The campaigns professors are often approached by a local nonprofit or small business looking for new ways to improve its communication efforts. Dodson and her fellow classmates were presented with Girl Talk, Inc. as their client for the semester. Girl Talk is a local nonprofit, founded by UT alumna Denetria Moore, that exists to empower young women to become their best selves by reducing the likelihood of teen pregnancy and helping them to advance educationally.

After recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, Girl Talk was looking to expand in donations and volunteers in order to serve more girls in the community. After learning more about their client, the various campaign groups worked towards creating a campaign that would help Girl Talk reach multiple audiences.

While all of the groups created campaigns that would benefit the client, Dodson’s group went above and beyond. By taking the time to interview the parents of girls being assisted by Girl Talk and going to the school programs to interact with the girls, Dodson better understood the client’s needs.

Dodson’s group’s campaign consisted of a new website, various branding materials, and a social media campaign titled #SheCan. “We wanted to focus on getting people inspired by the message of Girl Talk,” recalled Dodson. “Everyone talks about what she can’t do. We wanted to talk about what she can do.”

Following the campaigns groups’ final presentations to the client, Girl Talk immediately began implementing Dodson’s ideas into their organization. “Their project was bold and really captured the mission and vision of Girl Talk. #SheCan summarizes why we do what we do,” said Moore.

This social media campaign continued to transform when Girl Talk presented its #SheCan 2018 Fashion Show Gala consisting of professional women and Girl Talk girls walking the runway with poise and confidence.

“It was so rewarding to see our ideas come to life. #SheCan is so much more than a hashtag. It is a movement to empower young women,” said Dodson.

2019 MAIP Application

MAIP LogoThe 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) connects aspiring diverse entry-level advertising professionals with prestigious advertising agencies. Learn more about the 2019 MAIP Student Application.

Please review the Agency Department/Position Descriptions to help you determine the areas of greatest interest to you. On the MAIP application, you will be asked to indicate your top choices.




  1. Review the #MAIP2019 Application Checklist to make sure you have everything you need.
  2. Submit your $25 application fee on this page.
  3. Once you submit your payment, you will receive a link directing you to the next step of the application process.
  4. 2019 MAIP application and all required attachments must be submitted online via MAIP Alumniq (you will receive the link once you’ve made payment). Hard copies of the application will not be accepted.


APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, October 26, 2018. Recommendation letters due Friday, October 19, 2018.

If you encounter any issues while submitting your application online, please contact Gloria Lin at



More MAIP stories:

Tristiny Bell

Laura Gamo

Joshua Oliver 


ADPR Alumni Win UT Award

On Friday, September 7 two alumni from the School of Advertising and Public Relations won awards at the UT Knoxville Alumni Board annual event. Alumi Award Winners

Among them were: Chris Grabenstein (BS/JEM ’77 & an emeritus member of CCI’s Board of Visitors) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Erin Hauck (BS/AD '07) received the Alumni Promise Award.

Please see the full story here.




Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Beth Foster

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Beth Foster

Dr. Beth FosterWith 12 years of dedication to the University of Tennessee and its students, Dr. Elizabeth Avery Foster has been promoted to Professor. With a desire to form meaningful student relationships while conducting public health research, Foster positively impacts the lives of all individuals she encounters.

Despite her new promotion, Foster did not always plan on pursuing a career in academia. Originally a marketing major, she decided to change her career path to public relations because she was more interested in managing relationships. Foster completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia before going on to receive a master’s degree in communications at Wake Forest University. At this point in her education, Foster had full intentions of being a lobbyist in Washington D.C. due to her interest in public health. However, her plans began to transform when she was given the opportunity to teach and research during her graduate program. “I realized how much I loved getting to know the students and their unique personalities. It was so rewarding to teach them skills that I knew they would use in their careers,” said Foster.

She went on to complete her PhD in mass communications at the University of Georgia. “After graduating, I took my first job at UT, and the rest is history,” Foster jokingly recalled. While teaching at UT, Foster pursues her passion for public health by conducting research on a variety of topics, including Zika virus and the opioid epidemic. The university’s proximity to the health disparities in East Tennessee fuels Foster’s desire to make a change. “I have this sense of responsibility to make life better for those people. I love doing research that could make a social difference,” said Foster.

While Foster’s research continues to impact communities around the world, positively influencing students’ lives is her priority. Her contagious enthusiasm and caring personality cultivate a welcoming classroom environment that encourages students to discover their passions in the field of public relations. When asked about her favorite aspect of teaching, Foster states, “My position is a huge privilege and a huge responsibility. Our students have incredible initiative, but they are faced with more pressure than ever before. I try to provide some balance by supporting my students while pushing them to get out of their comfort zone.”

Although Foster has reached one of her biggest goals by being promoted to Professor, her work is not done. She plans to focus more of her energy on studying public health issues at a deeper and broader level with the hope that she will continue to use her platform to positively impact individuals around the world, while simultaneously inspiring this same passion for public relations within her students.

Cara Hunter Joins ADPR as Social Media Intern

Cara Cara HunterHunter joins the School of Advertising & Public Relations as the new social media intern. Cara is currently a junior at the University of Tennessee while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations. In addition to her internship, Cara spends a large portion of her time as the assistant vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Council and as the sisterhood chair for Phi Mu while  simultaneously completing academic and extracurricular work for the Chancellor’s Honors Program
While working with ADPR, Cara plans to bring a positive and refreshing voice to various social media platforms. She hopes to utilize her personal connection to the program to create a meaningful presence on social  media that encourages ADPR students to engage and enjoy.


Dr. Maureen Taylor Named to Pretigious ICA Fellow

Maureen Taylor

Dr. Maureen Taylor, became the Director for the School of Advertising and Public Relations in 2015. This summer at the International Communication Association (ICA) conference she was name was the ICA Felllow. This distinction is one of the top in the field of Public Relations.

“I’m humbled and honored to be named an ICA Fellow,” said Taylor. “Becoming part of this legendary group of communication scholars, provides me with even greater inspiration to contribute, serve and lead.”

The faculty and staff of The School of Advertising and Public Relations, would like to congratulate her on this occassion. For more information, please see her featured on the College of Communications and Information website here.


Laura Gamo ('18) Featured in Torchbearer Magazine

Laura GamoLaura Gamo was born in Colombia and moved with her family to Florida when she was six. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 2016, she started her master’s studies in UT’s School of Advertising and Public Relations as the graduate assistant to the Chancellor's Honors Program. Laura received an award from the Sammie Lynn Puett Endowment in Public Relations.

“I am finding my truth through words,” says Gamo. “As a woman of color and an immigrant to this country, I’ve become a unique hybrid as a student, an individual, and a professional. Having struggled to learn a new language and integrate myself into a host culture, I know the value of communicating with others and expressing ideas. More importantly, I recognize the need to empower and activate the voices of those who might be underrepresented or misunderstood."

"I am extremely grateful for the assistantship that is enabling me to work toward these goals.”

In 2017, Gamo was selected from candidates across the country for a Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) fellowship by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. In addition to her full-time paid summer internship at R/GA in New York City, she participated in a virtual training series and in weekly agency-sponsored professional development workshops focused on the host agencies’ culture, work, skills, and expertise. As of January 2018, she is a public relations intern at The Tombras Group in Knoxville.

To read the rest of the story visit here.

Previous story on Laura Gamo ('18).

Carol Poston Pays it Forward

Carol PostonEach spring, when Advertising students are awarded the Carol Poston Scholarship they gain something much more valuable than a scholarship. They gain a lifelong mentor.

CCI BOV member Carol Poston (AD ’81) is committed to paying forward all of the support and professional development she gained while at UT. Carol is the Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing Services at LifePoint Health in Brentwood, Tennessee.

“I had a great experience in the Department of Advertising, and I am proud to help anyone who is graduating from UT,” said Poston.

Read the rest of the story here.











Joshua Oliver ('18) Advertising Student Spotlight

Oliver and Poole Joshua Oliver dreamed of many careers as a kid growing up in Memphis; architect, actor, and ultimately, ad man. He found his home in the UT School of Advertising and Public Relations with a major in advertising and a minor in business with the guidance of a teacher/mentor at White Station High School.

Oliver will graduate with his degree in May and travel to New York City for the second summer in a row to participate in the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP). Upon completion of his internship, he hopes to land a full-time position in the advertising industry.

“I hope one day to be in a position to give back to my Mother,” said Oliver. “She raised us in a single-parent household that was filled with joy, laughter and music. She was my inspiration to come to UT as a first-generation college student. Her unyielding support has encouraged me throughout my college career. She even earned her degree back in Memphis while I was in Knoxville working on mine!”

Oliver knew he had found his home with a career in advertising during the Spring semester of his freshman year. “I had a class with Professor Eric Haley where he outlined for us in his third lecture the structure and job functions within a typical ad agency,” remarked Oliver. “I saw myself there. Every single job he outlined within an ad agency was something I could be enthusiastic about.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Joshua Oliver MAIP.

Joshua Oliver Biography.


Chancellor's Citation Awards

The School of Advertising and Public Relations had numerous students recognized during the 2018 Chancellor's Honors Banquet. This banquet held on April 17, 2018 honored students from across the campus. Congratulations to each of our winners. To see a full list of winners from across CCI, visit here.

Extraordinary Campus Leadership and Service (see

  • Kiah Albritton, Public Relations

Top Collegiate Scholar  (see

  • Madison Mayfield, Public Relations

Extraordinary Academic Achievement (see

  • Mary Ann Baker, Advertising
  • Matt Batson, Advertising
  • Austin Byerly, Public Relations
  • Ayla Eubanks, Public Relations
  • Joan Hargett, Advertising
  • Madison Mayfield, Public Relations
  • Jarrod Nelson, Public Relations
  • Whitney Padgett, Public Relations
  • Hannah Price, Public Relations

Extraordinary Professional Promise (see

  • Caroline Beach, Advertising
  • Austin Byerly, Public Relations
  • Ayla Eubanks, Public Relations
  • Mike Folks, Advertising
  • Laura Gamo, M.S. in Communication & Information
  • Madison Mayfield, Public Relations
  • Katie Mitchell, Communication Studies
  • Jarrod Nelson, Public Relations
  • Josh Oliver, Advertising
  • Lauren Parrish, Advertising
  • Kathryn Truppo, Advertising
  • Xiaojia Zeng, M.S. in Communication & Information

ADPR Goes to Nashville

ADPR Nashville Group Earlier this month, 25 UT advertising and public relations students traveled to Nashville to network with alumni and learn about various types of advertising and public relations opportunities.

Students were accompanied by Maureen Taylor, director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations, and Lauren Ziegler, school coordinator.

“UT’s School of Advertising and Public Relations has so many great alumni who are passionate about helping current students,” Taylor said. “These types of trips help build relationships among students and alumni.”

Students were introduced to the strong alumni network in Nashville. The students met with a panel at the Country Music Association to learn about the work that goes into CMA Fest. The panel featured members of CMA’s marketing team, including UT alumna Mary Overend, the senior marketing manager.

Read the rest of the story on UT Campus News.

Patrick Wells ('14) Featured in Torchbearer

Patrick WellsSweet Success

by advertising student Andrew Kochamba.

As Southern traditions go, having a MoonPie with an RC Cola is right up there with biscuits and gravy or football on Saturdays. In 2017, Patrick Wells (’14) launched MoonPie into the national spotlight with his viral work on the brand’s social media.

Though the graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate treat is a classic snack brand (which has expanded to multiple flavors over time) its digital strategy was due for an update.

Working for the Tombras Group, an advertising agency with a Knoxville office, Wells helped launch a campaign for MoonPie to attract millennials.

“Our approach was to simply be different and find a way to do it that seemed effortless from the outside,” Wells says. “A lot of brands still rely on the soft sell, but people see past that now, so we’re either a blatant ironic oversell or no sell at all. It’s such a fun brand, and it would be an injustice to be anything but fun.”

To read more please follow this link.


Alumni Spotlight: Kaily Groover ('16)

Alumni Spotlight: Kaily Groover

Kaily Groover

Less than a month after graduating from the College of Communication and Information, Kaily Groover is a Paid Media Account Coordinator for Cohn & Wolfe in New York City. Hear from Kaity below:

In my new role, I will be elevating her clients’ paid media strategies, executing digital advertising practices and using innovative tactics to bolster the reach of earned and owned media. As part of the application screening process, I took part in a series of Skype interviews and had to submit a large final project. The project included creating an original 14-month paid media campaign consisting of eight different strategies and a $250,000 budget. There was stiff competition for the position and I am so grateful that both my experiences and education at UT equipped me with the skills needed to get to the Big Apple. The knowledge I gained from both Dr. Cho's PR 470 cases class and Laura Mansfield's PR 420 writing class were central in preparing me for this application process and, ultimately, this industry. Both professors aimed to replicate a real life experience in the classroom, and encouraged my classmates and me to focus on crafting excellent products rather than on working toward a desired letter grade.

Additionally, I really appreciated getting the chance to participate in a U.S. Diplomacy Lab with Journalism Professor Stuart Brotman for the U.S. Department of State. Through that project, I was able to provide analysis and recommendations on how U.S. embassies can and should use social media to reach public diplomacy goals. I also interned in Sydney, Australia with the CCI Global Scholars Program, assisting media and public relations for Sportscraft’s unveiling of Australia’s 2016 summer Olympic outfits.

If I had one piece of advice for underclassman, it would be to insert an internship experience into their schedule as early as possible. I am confident that the five internships I held during school contributed to my preparation and success in finding a job. During my senior year, I worked as an account coordinatorat a boutique agency. Due to previous internship experience and some self-taught skills, I quickly became the “go-to” person for the agency’s paid media initiatives. My most successful and enjoyable project was a holiday influencer and paid social media campaign, which tripled the client’s year-to-date (YTD) sales over a five-week period.

I am delighted to start a job that will intellectually challenge me in a city I've dreamed about. Cohn & Wolfe has earned many accolades in the communications industry and holds a strong focus on innovative approaches— something I really appreciate. I’m looking forward to representing UT's PR and Advertising department in the Big Apple and beyond!


Student Spotlight: Joshua Oliver

Student Spotlight: Joshua Oliver

Written by Laura Gamo, MS Student in the School of Advertising & Public Relations

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your experience this summer. Laura Gamo, Tristiny Bell, and Joshua Oliver

I am a senior here at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, originally from Memphis, TN. I am majoring in Advertising with a double minor in Business Administration and Psychology. I hold various leadership positions across campus, and at the core of those organizations, I have an opportunity to advocate for and create inclusive environments for conversations about difference and diversity. Whether that is facilitating workshops as a Diversity Educator or planning events for the Black Student Union, I can utilize my passion for diversity and inclusion to serve these organizations and the surrounding community.

I saw the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, or MAIP, as an opportunity to continue this work, specifically within the ad industry. From the second I learned more about advertising, early in my college career, I fell in love with this industry. When I was selected as a MAIP 2017 Fellow, I was honored and ready for the challenge. I had the privilege of working for TBWA\WorldHealth where I worked as an account manager, helping to launch a new pharmaceutical biosimilar injectable. I did not have much of a background in healthcare, but I did have a deep understanding of how to bring people together. I made sure to channel my passion for inclusive collaboration to learn the full scope of an account manager’s function in the agency setting and ideate around ways to communicate patient’s experiences to health care professionals.


Q: What was the highlight of your experience this summer?

The highlight of my summer experience was definitely all of the people I met and the new relationships I made. Being a part of a network of people who value representation and diversity and are pushing the boundaries around the normal makeup of the industry is inspiring! I was empowered to be bold and daring, to be completely myself, when I saw people in the same career and on the same path doing just that! With such courageous examples to follow, I could focus on the work, make plans for launching my career, and show how dedicated I am to advertising as a discipline, a career, and a personal passion of mine.

 Q: What agency, workshop or other professional experience stood out to you?

The 2017 MAIP Fellows and I had the opportunity to sit through a panel discussion at R/GA where I heard Vice President of Content and Partnerships Jessica Greenwood share about how she fell into Strategy as a discipline, and talked about what makes good strategy. I cannot recall verbatim what she said; however, Jess alluded to the fact that a strategist’s role is to find human truths that represent the people we want to reach in order to tell their story.

Listening to her speak, gave me a greater sense of purpose to strive to guide and elevate the flow of humanity in everything I do and in every project or campaign I am a part of. When Jess spoke about this truth-telling and ability to take human experiences about brands and products and tell those stories, I saw my purpose come alive in her words. That moment reiterated a personal truth— that advertising was meant for me.

 Q: What first made you interested in advertising?

When I was leaving high school and headed for college, I did not know what I wanted to do. I told a teacher who was trying to help me decide on a major that the only thing I liked about school was presenting things. So she encouraged me to take classes in marketing, but when I did, I hated it. I went back to her, hoping she would have some new advice and she encouraged me to major in advertising when I got to college. So, I did, and on the first day of Advertising Principles with Dr. Eric Haley, he described the roles and positions that an advertising agency is comprised of. In that moment, I saw everything I had ever wanted to be growing up being used in an ad agency, and after getting chills and tearing up a bit, I left class that day knowing I had just found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to conquer that helped shape your path?

The biggest challenge I have conquered so far is showing up to spaces and being completely present and certain in my identity, skill, and potential. I have faced so much adversity along the way, but the biggest challenge is when the shame, worry, or concern from that adversity blocks you from being present and grabbing a hold of your dreams. When I put those things to rest and truly embraced my identity, skills, and potential I was able to walk with my head high and face challenges like moving to NYC for two months and offering ideas during brainstorming sessions at my agency, or pitching in front of agency executives.

 Q: What, in your opinion, is the best and the worst thing about our industry?

The best thing about the advertising industry to me is the privilege to carry human truth in our hands, hearts, decisions, strategy, and creative executions. And having the privilege to do all of this on behalf of clients who are coming up with innovative things that embrace, elevate and attach to a person’s identity daily. The worst part about our industry is that we often rush the process of uncovering, developing and using these human truths to meet deadlines or launch accounts or win new business. This often leads to getting the story wrong and dropping the ball when we attempt to share the experiences of our consumers. More diversity in the industry, in agencies, in brainstorming rooms, and in front of clients is one important way to right the wrongs of the ad industry. 

Q: Do you have any plans on returning to New York soon?

I do! I actually just came back from an all-expense-paid trip to New York City a few weeks ago. Airbnb and Vice recently partnered to host custom-made tour experiences in different locations around the world. The two companies chose 100 participants to on an adventure, and I was one of 30 people chosen to take a deep dive into the Big Apple and learn about the history of vogue in Harlem! The tour was led by dancer, visual artist, advocate for people living with HIV, and now friend, Kia LaBeijad from the House of LaBeija. Kia volunteered her time to lead a historic walking tour through Harlem, a voguing master class, and a night on the town. I left this experience reenergized, compelled and inspired to be intentional about showing up to spaces, embracing my full identity, walking in my truth, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same thing. I cannot wait to go back!

I plan on going on the New York trip with the School, led by Dr. Haley, in January and again this summer if I am chosen to be a MAIP 2018 Fellow (fingers crossed). NYC has always been a place I have had my eyes set on, so honestly, I feel that whenever I am not there I am planning on returning!

PR Students Travel to Atlanta for Networking

Students at Sun trust parkSixteen UT public relations students traveled to Atlanta last week to network with alumni working in the field and learn about various types of PR opportunities.

While the School of Advertising and Public Relations offers a trip to New York every year to advertising students, this was the first trip tailored specifically to public relations students.

Students were accompanied by Maureen Taylor, director of the school, along with Associate Professor Beth Foster and School Coordinator Lauren Ziegler.

“Exposing our students to ‘real world’ public relations is an important supplement to their classroom experience,” Foster said. “The trip also provides important networking opportunities for students while allowing them to learn best practices for entering the field.”

The students met with alumna Snigdha Dhar, the digital and social media manager at Melt Sports and Entertainment Marketing, and Melt founder and CEO Vince Thompson. Melt, whose clients include Coca-Cola, is a full-service ad agency focusing on sports, entertainment, and culinary clients.

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