TAI Student Kayla Griffis Speaks About Her Academic Experiences and Achievements

I am a junior majoring in Advertising with a specialization in Digital Media Strategy with minors in Graphic Design and Spanish. I’m also participating in the 4+1 SMU Advertising program that allows me to take undergraduate and graduate classes simultaneously in order to obtain bachelor’s and master’s advertising degrees in five years. During the 2018-2019 academic year, I received the following honors:

  • 2019 Dallas Area Alliance for Women in Media Irene Runnels-Paula McStay College Scholarship
  • 2019 Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Fellows Scholarship
  • SMU Pi Beta Phi Foundation Scholarship
  • SMU Decima Chapter of Mortar Board National Honors Society
  • Finalist for 2019 AAF Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship
  • Finalist for 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program

I applied for these scholarships, internships, and honors societies at the end of the fall semester and was extremely nervous during the application processes because of the programs’ prestige and competitiveness. Managing deadlines, requesting letters of recommendation from professors and mentors, staying on top of daily homework assignments, and studying for tests was no easy feat. Nevertheless, I was determined to submit my applications, in case I wasn’t accepted as a junior, to refine my skills and experiences before becoming a senior.

When I was first notified that I received the 2019 Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Fellows Scholarship, I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it until I spoke with a representative of the foundation who told me that my application was impressive and well-received. And while this was surprising, receiving two other scholarships–the 2019 Dallas Area Alliance for Women in Media Irene Runnels-Paula McStay College Scholarship and Pi Beta Phi Foundation at SMU Scholarship–was even more overwhelming. Additionally, qualifying for the 2019 AAF Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship and the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program were both amazing opportunities, though I ultimately decided to participate in the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program because of its focus to promote inclusion and diversity in the advertising industry. I am very passionate about this. My induction into the SMU Decima Chapter of Mortar Board National Honors Society is a privilege in itself and I am grateful to be a part of this organization that recognizes leadership, community service, and scholarship among students. As a 2019 MAIP Fellow, I will work at Digitas in Boston as a Media Buying and Planning intern this upcoming summer and am extremely excited.

SMU Advertising has provided me with amazing opportunities to network with professionals and connect with my peers as we prepare for future careers in the advertising industry. I hope to help foster a world where minorities are celebrated and accurately represented. I believe that I will make a difference in the industry, as a voice for minorities, and receiving these honors is just the beginning.

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