Four BYU seniors in the School of Communication's advertising program — Lorien Pereyra, Pablo Perez, Erin Gazdik and Jessica Nugent -— were selected for the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program class of 2019 by the American Advertising Federation (AAF).
Each year, the AAF selects around 50 students nationwide for its program and connects the students with the top industry professionals at an exclusive recruiting expo held in New York City. The students can also participate in an extensive professional development workshop and are honored at an awards luncheon.
Many of the students who participate in the program have attributed their success in obtaining a job after graduation to this networking experience.
Pereyra said that finding a career where she can be influential is a great opportunity to make advertisements more authentic.
“Advertising has to be reflective of the population it is trying to market to. When we don’t include diversity in the creation of advertisements, we are pretending to have lived, shared experiences that we don’t have.” Pereyra said.
Hometown: The Bronx, New York
Multicultural Heritage: Parents are both from the Dominican Republic
Graduation Plans: Headed to the RP3 ad agency in Washington, D.C.
Perez said the opportunity he had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds pushed him to learn and to improve his own advertising skills and enhanced his perspective.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Multicultural Heritage: Half Columbian, a quarter German and a quarter Uruguayan
Graduation Plans: Continuing to work in the advertising industry
Gazdik said this opportunity was particularly special to her because it reminded her of all the things she learned from her Japan-native mother before she passed away from cancer last semester.
“It was difficult to talk about my mom in my application,” Gazdik said. “But she was also my inspiration. She knew how to combine two cultures in one home and how to understand others’ experiences.”
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Culture: Mother is Japanese, father is Caucasian
Graduation Plans: Bound for the Media Arts Lab in Los Angeles, advertising for Apple
Nugent said although she hopes for good networking experiences, she has learned a lot about herself as well.
“I used to only want to accept my white half, but both sides make my voice unique and valid,” Nugent said. “And many mishaps or controversies in advertising could be avoided if teams had those unique voices.”
Hometown: Spanish Fork, Utah
Multicultural Heritage: Father is Jamaican, mother is Caucasian
Graduation Plans: Interning at the MullenLowe ad agency in Boston this summer