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City College Hosts First AAF AdCamp in New York

Students from the AAF summer AdCamp program held at City College visit Horizon Media.

Program for high school students aims to broaden participation in advertising and communications professions

Eleven high school students from New York City and Long Island will be returning to school this fall with a new perspective on the opportunities awaiting them in the world of advertising and marketing. They participated in the first American Advertising Federation (AAF) summer AdCamp held in New York City. The program, which offers an intensive one-week industry immersion for students from diverse backgrounds, was held July 22 - 26 at The City College of New York.

Edward Keller, associate professor in the advertising/public relations program, kicked off the week with a one-hour session that introduced students to The World of Advertising. Other segments were led by industry pros from leading agencies, including Deutsch, Draftfcb, Ketchum Inc., PHD Media, and Young and Rubicam (Y&R), who traveled from midtown to engage with AdCampers here on campus.

Campers also took “industry immersion” field trips to Y&R, Horizon Media, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Deutsch for a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate. They then applied their learning developing an advertising campaign that included market research, a communications strategy, and creative executions, including a 15-second TV commercial. On Friday, campers made formal presentations to family, friends, industry professionals and representatives from organizations such as The Ad Club, the 4A’s, and AAF.
Inspired by the experience, the future Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons left CCNY mulling careers in advertising.

Breya Mesias, who had the longest commute to CCNY – two hours each way – from Amityville, Long Island, where she attends Amityville Memorial High School, called the camp an eye opener.

“I loved the visits to the agencies and how the people there broke everything down in terms of how they create ads,” the 12th grader said. “I’m glad I was in the program.”

Taquan Wilson, one of three participants from the High School for Innovations and Media in Brooklyn, also had his interest piqued by the camp. “Especially after visiting the different agencies. It’s interested me and I would consider a career in advertising,” said the tenth grader from Canarsie.  

The rest of the students and their schools were:

  • Pamela Abreu, Queens Vocational & Technical High School
  • Khalimmat Adejumo, Benjamin Banneker Academy for Communications
  • Yamilex Bueno, Convent of the Sacred Heart
  • Sarah Clarke, High School for Innovations and Media
  • Andrise Dhaiti, International High School at Lafeyette
  • Jordan Henry, Leman Manhattan Prep
  • Nikolett Jakab, International High School at Lafeyette
  • Keylee Sampson, The Dalton School
  • Raza Syed, High School for Innovations and Media

Two senior City College Ad/PR majors and AAF chapter members, Maddy Diaz and Liz Stepanoff, served as interns.

To participate in the program, campers went through a highly competitive application process administered by the federation that included submitting academic records and answering a series of essay questions. Of those chosen, 10 received need-based funding from AAF to attend.
Melissa Wong, AAF director for training and development, said the Washington-based trade association chose to partner with CCNY because of its active campus AAF chapter. AAF has conducted AdCamp programs in Chicago and Washington, as well.
The camp’s objectives are twofold, she explained. One is to recruit young students in general and help them understand what goes on behind the scenes in advertising in creating an advertisement. The idea is to engage them early in the industry so that they select the right schools if they want to pursue a career in advertising.
“The other objective is to get more multicultural representation into the industry,” she said. “As we all know, there’s a dearth of minorities being represented in the advertising field. We hope through this program that not only are we engaging more younger students – but also putting more students of underrepresented ethnicities into the industry.”
Nancy Tag, chair of CCNY’s Media and Communication Arts Department and the AdCamp’s faculty coordinator, said City College and the AAF program were “a natural fit.”

“We have here at CCNY one of the best advertising programs anywhere – and certainly in New York City, we have one of the richest advertising programs,” she said, noting that there are nearly 300 Ad/PR majors at the College.

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About The City College of New York 

Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.

Set on a striking, 35-acre hilltop campus in upper Manhattan, CCNY has produced more Nobel laureates than any other public institution in the United States. The College has been touted as one of America's Top Colleges by Forbes, one of the Best Colleges in the United States as well as one of the Best Value Colleges by the Princeton Review, and ranks among U.S. News’ top regional universities.



Jay Mwamba
p: 212.650.7580