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Diversity and Dedication Chelcie Hunt embraces the opportunity to win big BY Madeline Alford


inning the American Advertising Federation Most Promising Minority Student Award is no small feat. But Chelcie Hunt, a public relations

and digital director of Lindsey + Asp, is a prime example of a top senior. This award, designed to honor outstanding multicultural students, highlights the important role diversity plays in the advertising and public relations fields and connects the nation’s top seniors with prominent players in the industry. In her time at Gaylord College, Hunt has worked with many different projects, all of which have led to innovative changes within the department. Hunt, along with fellow student Shiva Stella, crafted a pitch to create the new digital department within Lindsey + Asp. This department is one of the first student agencies to have a digital practice, giving the Web, social media and analytics students within the agency a place to call home. As a member of the Creek Nation, Hunt realizes how important diversity is to the industry. Using her multicultural background, she can create campaigns based on personal experiences rather than just research. “It makes a big difference when someone behind a campaign has had similar experiences as those people that are going to be viewing the campaign,” Hunt says. “Because of my background, I can connect to it on a deeper level so I know what this demographic will want, because that’s my life.” In her capacity as an award winner, Hunt had the opportunity to travel to New York City for a two-day program, which included industry immersion activities and visits to ad agencies. It was this unique experience that led Hunt to receive a summer internship offer with ZenithOptimedia. “The best part of the program was the chance to meet people in the industry and to get interviews with them right after the fair was over,” she says. “It was a great opportunity to be able to sit down one-on-one with a recruiter and talk to them.” Gaylord College is familiar with the AAF MPMS Award, with 22 winners since 2004. Former recipients of the award have gone on to work at top agencies like Publicis in New York City and Saxum in Oklahoma City. Such an outstanding number of award winners highlights the prestige of Gaylord College’s various programs. “Having students who are winning that level of award, along with all the other great things that we’re doing, brings visibility to the program,” PR professor Robert Pritchard says. “People associate that level of student with this program.”

Chelcie Hunt (center) receives the AAF Most Promising Minority Student Award

Hunt’s diverse background and exceptional talent to lead combined to make her the perfect candidate for the MPMS Award. As faculty adviser for Lindsey + Asp, Pritchard was one of the professors who nominated Hunt for the award. “Chelcie is arguably one of the top students in our program,” he says. “From the first time that I had the opportunity to have her in class, she’s really grown and assumed a leadership mentality.” Hunt also led a team that beta tested Adobe’s new social media monitoring program, Adobe Social. She managed weekly meetings and reported to Adobe any problems or possible improvements that she and her team found. Her persistence and understanding of the program inspired Lindsey + Asp faculty adviser David Tarpenning to nominate Hunt. “She’s very articulate and tech-savvy, so when you hear her talk or present, she just knows everything,” Tarpenning says. “It’s not just surface. She really dug deeply into Adobe Social, so that every little nuance, she was on top of it.” Along with her various responsibilities within Gaylord College, Hunt is a member of both OU Ad Club and PRSSA. Through these clubs, she has enhanced her knowledge of the industry. Part of the draw of memberships with both organizations is that members get the chance to interact with leading professionals in the industry, as well as other dedicated students. >>Continued on page 58 57

Pulse 2013  

Alumni magazine of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.