In Awards and Achievements, BYU AdLab

The American Advertising Federation named seven BYU students among the most promising multicultural students of 2021

Behind the scenes of project Blindspot. Courtesy of Kofi Aidoo

One week. A dozen professional companies. Fifty of the most promising multicultural students in the nation, and only a few minutes for each student to make an impression and possibly land a full-time job.

This is the experience winners of the “Most Promising Advertising Students 2021” will participate in this year. 

I’m beyond excited to network and connect with recruiters from agencies that have set the gold bar in the advertising world,” said Lillian Maero, one of the winning students. “I’m just starting to wrap my head around the fact that they are looking to hire at this event and that lucky someone could be me.”

Lillian Maero

The Most Promising BYU Advertising Students

Every year since 1997, the American Advertising Federation has recognized students from universities across the nation who exemplify hard work and creativity in advertising. The BYU School of Communications is proud to have seven students selected for the award  — the most students from any one university this year.

“We are so grateful to have these extraordinary students recognized by the AAF as most promising multicultural students. They are being recognized not just for their multicultural background, but because they are so talented in their area of study and expertise,” professor Jeff Sheets said.

Behind the scenes of an advertising project that Joseph Nugent and Rebekah Baker worked on. Courtesy of Josh Lee

The seven winners from BYU are Kofi Aidoo, Rebekah Baker, Evelyn Harper, Hali’amai Kealoha, Lillian Maero, Joseph Nugent and Donna Wilson. Each student is a senior graduating this year and had to submit a letter of recommendation with five essays to be considered.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of my professors, the support of my friends and family, and the countless hours of hard work,” said Kealoha. 

Inspiration from the World Cup 

Kofi Aidoo, left, with peers

Before becoming a winner of a national awards contest, Aidoo was a student trying to decide what to study. After changing his major several times, he applied for and jumped into the advertising program. His interest in advertising was inspired by Nike commercials for the World Cup because they were motivating for both players and individuals. 

“Now I hope I can help create work of a similar magnitude that can influence and shape culture,” Aidoo said.

After graduating, Aidoo hopes to work as a strategist at an ad agency where he

Joseph Nugent

 can help inspire both creative and strategic ad campaigns for brands. 

Influencers of Advertising

Professor Jeff Sheets knows that these students haven’t been waiting around for the world to tell them there are problems. They have been bringing their perspectives to the forefront of advertising to make improvements.

Nugent is another winning advertising student who hopes to create work that tells diverse stories and connects to people on a personal level.

“The beauty of storytelling, especially in advertising, is that it opens our hearts to perspectives that can be hard to understand,” said Nugent. “Sometimes a beautiful piece of art can get a message across better than an argument. As a person of color, I hope I can represent these perspectives in a positive way.” 

Nugent and the six other BYU winners will have the opportunity to share their perspectives during the networking event at end of the semester.

“This most promising multicultural student award serves as a springboard for these students to enter the industry,” said Sheets. “The networking event is a platform for them to showcase their talent in ways that no one else gets to do.”

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