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  • Aya Obaid and Janice Rodriguez

Two advertising students named among the nation's most promising multicultural students

Two students from the University of South Carolina, Aya Obaid and Janice Rodriguez, were selected for the American Advertising Federation 2024 class of Most Promising Multicultural Students. Entering its 27th year, the Most Promising program is one of the organization’s premier initiatives promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the advertising industry.

Obaid and Rodriguez participated in a four-day industry immersion program in New York,  February 4-9. The program included professional development and personal branding workshops, the “Building Bridges for Our Future” Awards Ceremony and Luncheon, and Recruiter’s Expo. The Most Promising program gives advertising, media, communications, and tech companies the opportunity to connect with top-performing and high-achieving diverse college students from across the nation.

Each year, students from historically excluded communities that are members of the AAF’s 140+ college chapters apply to the program. This year’s judging panel included thought leaders with a range of backgrounds and experience and from companies such as Amazon Ads, Kinesso, Ogilvy, Snap, The Trade Desk, University of Memphis, Vox Media and Whirlpool. 

Meet the students . . .

Aya Obaid

Obaid graduated in Dec. 2023 with a major in advertising and a minor in information science. She currently works as a freelance data strategist, researcher and graphic designer for several organizations and describes herself as a "creative professional with a love for data."  She used these skills as a member of the  2023 Ad Team from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications which won the  prestigious Mosaic Award at the AAF District Three Regional Student Competition for their "You Deserve Better" campaign for the job search platform.  

In his nomination letter, senior instructor Jeff Williams said Obaid's superior academic and co-curricular achievements are just part of who she is. "I’ve watched Aya enjoy many aspects of the advertising industry and to find a student that enjoys mining big data and using it to inform the creative execution is exciting and forward thinking."

Williams also addressed Obaid's more than 500 hours of community service. "Aya's dedication within the advertising and marketing sectors is commendable," he said. "She's adept at channeling her skills for the community's betterment, always striving to make her mark truly meaningful.

Obaid on her experience at the New York immersion event...

Attending the MPMS was an amazing (jaw dropping, if you will) experience that truly transformed my career perspective. It was more than just fun; it was life-changing! 

 AAF truly placed us in the spotlight, allowing us to showcase our talents and seize opportunities. By the end of the program, I not only gained 49 new friends but also gained a major pivotal milestone, diverse connections, and a deeper understanding of the industry! Which I will forever be grateful for! I would recommend this to anybody who runs across this opportunity because it provided so much for us!

Connect with Obaid on LinkedIn.

Janice Rodriguez

A senior advertising major, Rodriguez served as a team captain for a Google Ads Search campaign in her Interactive Communication Strategies class. She earned Google advertising certifications while developing  a $10,000 awareness campaign for  Fraternity of the 4 Paws, a nonprofit dog rescue organization. Her efforts supported the nonprofit's goals by driving up donations and raising awareness through increased website traffic generated by targeted Google search advertisements focused on the local demographic.

"Janice takes the initiative while holding herself and others to a high standard," said instructor Marcia Purday. "She is a creative problem solver and out-of-the-box thinker who understands strategy and analytics. She uses her communication skills to move others toward their campaign goals."

Additionally, Purday lauded Rodriguez for her service with the Army National Guard.  "Janice's experience, particularly during state emergencies like the Black Lives Matter protests, demonstrates her adaptability and composure under pressure. Her role as a human resource specialist, responsible for tracking personnel during critical situations, underscores her organizational skills and sense of responsibility."

Rodriguez on her experience at the New York immersion event...

This has truly been one of the most enriching experiences of my college journey. I've had the privilege to connect with numerous professionals in the advertising industry and expand my network significantly. Moreover, I've had the pleasure of meeting incredibly talented peers and forming strong bonds with them along the way.

I am immensely thankful for the chance I got to visit a diverse range of agencies, including TikTok, LinkedIn, The Trade Desk, Omnicom, Energy BBDO, IPG, FCB, Sony, and Dentsu. I’m looking forward to seeing where I land in the future. Thank you to the American Advertising Federation for making this happen. I met some of the most amazing people!

Connect with Rodriguez on LinkedIn.

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