Nedal Ahmed didn’t expect to receive the e-mail that announced she received a prestigious award from the American Advertising Federation that included a trip to the Big Apple.
“When I found out, I was really excited,“ she said. “I’ve never been to New York City.“
Ahmed, who graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, was selected for the federation’s Most Promising Minority Student Program, the premier award in the advertising industry. As part of the program, she was one of 50 students who visited New York City. The students networked and interviewed with advertising professionals.
“New York was a great experience,” she said. “I met some wonderful people. The companies that were there provided us with some really great opportunities. I think that AAF (American Advertising Federation) did a great job in setting up this program.”
Her professor, Dr. Sheri Broyles, told her about the program. Ahmed was apprehensive but forged ahead with Dr. Broyles’ encouragement.
“Even outside of class, she continues to push you,“ she said of Dr. Broyles. “She takes a real strong interest in the students.“
Ahmed took Dr. Broyles’ Advertising Concepts class, which she said is the toughest in the program.
“But we never learned as much as we did,“ she said. “She introduced us to so many parts of advertising that we hadn’t been exposed to before. A lot of the classes are about planning. But she also spent a lot of time teaching us the history...By far, it’s been the best class that I’ve had.“
Thanks to the opportunities afforded her at UNT, Ahmed landed her dream job soon after graduation as a copywriter at Tracy Locke.
“I just think copy writing is fun,“ she said. “I think it’s smart. I love the challenge of coming up with a new idea every day.“
Experienced faculty members were key to her success, she said.
“The most valuable benefit of my education at UNT was having teachers who were either working professionals or had a lot of connections in the industry, which meant that the information we learned was timely and relevant.”
The networking opportunities were invaluable, she said. She first stepped foot in Tracy Locke for a shadowing class, but that quickly evolved into an internship and eventually her current full-time post.
“My teachers at UNT took an interest in their students on a level beyond the classroom and tried to make sure we graduated as skilled, desirable professionals,” she said.