Five undergraduates honored as Most Promising Minority Students

Five students from Penn State's College of Communications were honored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in its Most Promising Minority Students Program.

The program, managed by the AAF Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism, aims to promote an advertising industry workforce that reflects society’s diversity. It connects recruiters and agencies in the industry with exceptionally talented advertising students.

Four of the Penn State students -- Shari Allen, Victoria Chu, Christopher Mendez and Kelly Togashi -- were chosen as national finalists while Christina Jean-Louis earned honorable mention status. All of the students are senior advertising majors.

This year, 50 students from 28 colleges and universities across the country were selected and received all-expenses-paid trips to New York City, N.Y., where they were honored during a luncheon at The New York Athletic Club as part of a three-day conference.

In order to be considered for the program, students had to possess a high grade-point average, complete an essay about creating a more inclusive environment in the marketing and communications field and submit a nominating letter from a faculty adviser.

Senior lecturer Ken Yednock, who serves as Penn State’s AAF chapter adviser, nominated the students.

“This was an exceptional opportunity for recognition of each of the students that can translate into future career prospects for them,” said Yednock, who joined the College of Communications in 2004. He previously served as principal and chief operating officer at GKV Communications in Baltimore. During his time in the private sector with advertising agencies, Yednock managed accounts for companies such as Keebler, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Lowe’s Home Centers, National Car Rental, Pillsbury and Royal Crown Cola.

At the conference, students dined with leading executives and minority industry pioneers, providing an opportunity for networking and mentoring. The conference also allowed students to experience the excitement of the ad business firsthand by visiting the nation’s top ad agencies, advertisers and media companies.

The contest has been in existence for 12 years. In the past six years, Penn State has produced 24 honorees, with 17 national finalists and seven honor roll selections.

In addition to attending the AAF conference, the national winners were featured in major publications and on the Most Promising Minority Students Program résumé CD, which was be disseminated to AAF corporate members and other industry leaders. A résumé CD was developed to highlight these exceptional students and their accomplishments, as well as encourage future interviews. Recruiters were specifically invited to schedule interviews with students the afternoon of the awards luncheon.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010