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Johnson and Malecki attend advertising and public relations camp

Rachel Johnson and David Malecki

Rachel Johnson (BSJ, 2022) and David Malecki (BSJ, 2022) spent part of their summer break learning about the advertising and public relations industry from top executives at Deutsch NY’s Summer Creative, Advertising and Media Program (C.A.M.P.).

The virtual, annual weeklong program is an opportunity for students and professionals interested in agency work to network, further their development and get a crash course on the industry.

“The best part for me was hearing from ‘up and comers’ at Deutsch,” said Johnson, a graduate student in the Master of Science in Journalism program. “There was an entire session dedicated to hearing from people who just recently started working at Deutsch, and it was so refreshing to talk to people who were around my age, just starting out and really thriving at their jobs. It made me feel better about joining the ‘real world’ soon.”

The program included networking and mentoring sessions, a panel discussion on entry-level challenges, insights into the design-side of the industry and a fireside chat with Deutsch NY’s CEO Val DiFebo and COO Samira Ansari. 

A zoom screenshot of participants during CAMP

“I am very fortunate to have found LinkedIn connections with both fellow CAMPers and even those in the agency who were featured speakers,” said Malecki, a student in the 4+1 Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program. “No doubt it’s a great network I can reach out to in the future.”

The week culminated with a hackathon, where participants were given a challenge to solve by working in groups. Teams were briefed on Carla’s Hot Cocoa and tasked with finding ways to combat the notion that hot cocoa is a children’s beverage consumed primarily in colder months. Johnson was on the winning team, which was chosen by DiFebo and Ansari.  

“My team's idea was to release a series of remixed recipes in collaboration with the now-grown-up child actors from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to show that hot chocolate is a beverage that can be enjoyed by adults year-round,” Johnson said. “This was a fun brand to work with that allowed all CAMPers to flex their creative muscles.”

Advertising and Public Relations Program Chair Geah Pressgrove introduced Johnson and Malecki to the program and encouraged them to apply.

“Rachel and David are both highly talented advertising and public relations students, and I felt that Deutsch NY’s summer C.A.M.P. would help prepare them for their future careers,” Pressgrove said.

Both students were in Pressgrove and Harrison Omnicom Visiting Professor in Advertising 

Chuck Borghese’s Martin Hall Agency (MHA) course. MHA is a faculty-led, student-run integrated communications firm where students provide pro bono advertising and public relations work for West Virginia nonprofits and small businesses.

“MHA has given me the know-how to solve real-world problems on my own, including planning, flexibility and working with difficult clients or constraints that are simply not taught in a traditional classroom,” Malecki said. “I am very fortunate to have the insights from both Dr. Pressgrove and Professor Borghese, who have instilled a myriad of industry knowledge and skills. From providing advice on campaigns to resume reviews, they are always willing to talk and offer their input to best prepare us for our careers.”