Kean University advertising and design students win coveted mentorships

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UNION, NJ — Five Kean University Robert Busch School of Design seniors have been awarded virtual mentorships at top advertising agencies in the United States and Canada through a program run by a New York–based nonprofit that works with advertising and design professionals throughout the world.

The students — Melissa Tito, Kedemah Reid, Yash Patel, Gisell Padilla and Melissa Ostrander — have begun the six-week Mentor & Creative program operated by One Club for Creativity. The organization supports the global creative community through education, professional development, awards and more.

“This is an incredible opportunity to include on my resume. I will also be able to build off this project further for my portfolio,” said Ostrander, a graphic design major from Hopatcong who has a mentorship with FCB Toronto. “I’ve learned to embrace any opportunity to have professionals critique my work. It’s the only way to grow and learn.”

In the program, the Kean students work with industry professionals on advertising briefs — the research and background information that form the foundation of advertising campaigns — and other curriculum. They also will receive career advice and portfolio reviews from recruiters and other experts, and learn how to pitch an advertising plan.

“Internships are valuable, providing on-the-job professional training and experience. Mentorships go a step further, providing not only professional experience, but a connection with a professional who is a mentor and a trusted advisor who can offer insights, guidance and an objective perspective,” said distinguished professor Robin Landa, who teaches advertising and graphic design.

Before the start of the program this week, the students connected with their teammates — students at universities around the world — and reviewed the creative briefs on which they will collaborate.

“It is interesting, to say the least, and I am very excited to see what ideas my teammates and I develop,” said Reid, an advertising major from Woodbridge who received two mentorships, at Wieden+Kennedy, an international agency headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and dentsumcgarrybowen in New York.

Through guest speakers and the annual Kean University Thinking Creatively Conference, students at Robert Busch School of Design interact and learn from professionals in their fields throughout their college careers.

“Professor Landa has created and leads a world-class course of study in advertising, which places Robert Busch School of Design among the best programs globally. That makes it possible for these advertising students to compete and win a place among the highest tier of their peers,” said Rose Gonnella, associate dean at Michael Graves College, where the school is housed.

Robert Busch School of Design has a well-established program of internships and practicums for its students to give their careers a jumpstart after graduation.

“We have an extremely high job placement record, because we ensure our students are nimble thinkers who can develop concepts and execute, who know theory and have tech skills, and are knowledgeable in advertising and design theory, art direction, advertising and graphic design practice, branding, UI/UX, immersive technologies, motion design and more,” Landa said.

The students in the One Club mentorship program said they expect to gain new perspectives and practical skills to further hone their own design approach.

“I desire to learn more about the way creatives work together in a professional sense and the creative process at the core of a successful design solution, and create a strong network,” Reid said. “The most rewarding part is knowing that I will have work to show for it after, to add to my portfolio.”

The mentorship program runs through Friday, Nov. 20. For more information on Robert Busch School of Design and its programs, visit the RBSD website.

Photos Courtesy of Margaret McCorry

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