Two undergrads selected in 'Most Promising Minority Students' program

December 08, 2008

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) has honored two students from the College of Communications 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 today’s diverse society. It connects recruiters and agencies in the industry with exceptionally talented advertising students.

Both students — Ashley Brunson-Jones from Lexington, S.C., and Melissa Chen from Colts Neck, N.J. — were chosen as national finalists and are majoring in advertising/public relations.

This year 40 students from 28 colleges were honored and selected to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to be honored at a luncheon Feb. 4 during the AAF Minority Conference at The New York Athletic Club.

“Penn State was fourth overall in the number of recipients of this award,” said Penn State’s AAF chapter adviser Ken Yednock, a senior lecturer who served as principal and chief operating officer at GKV Communications in Baltimore before joining the University faculty in 2004. “We have had multiple national award winners in each of the past four years and continue to be very competitive with other strong advertising programs around the country.”

In order to be considered for the program, students had to complete a 250-word essay, provide a resume and possess a minimum 3.2 grade-point average overall and a 3.22 grade-point average in their major. Their submissions were then judged and voted on by the AAF chapter in Washington, D.C.

At the conference, which runs from Feb. 3-5, 2009, students will dine with leading executives and minority industry pioneers, providing an opportunity for networking and mentorship with corporations and agencies.

The conference will allow students to experience the excitement of the ad business firsthand by visiting the nation’s top ad agencies, advertisers and media companies. This invaluable experience allows students to network with seasoned professionals and receive advice on a how to obtain and maintain a successful career in the ad industry.

“This is a great program for students,” said Yednock. “The advertising industry is committed to increasing diversity in the work force and the AAF award supports this commitment from the industry. It is also a testament to the excellent advertising program we have here at Penn State.”

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, Royal Crown Cola and more.

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

Since its inception in 1997, the Most Promising Minority Students Program has enriched the lives of almost 400 outstanding multicultural students and is considered to be the premier award program with which to recruit minority college graduates in the areas of advertising, marketing, media and communications.

The contest has been in existence for 13 years. In the past five years alone, Penn State has produced 20 honorees, with 14 national finalists and six honor roll selections.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009