Laura Gamo, M.S. student in the School of Advertising & Public Relations was recently named a MAIP finalist. The MAIP fellowship supplies the field of advertising with highly skilled multicultural students. The highly competetive fellowship allows students across the country the ability to work with advertising professionals through a 22-week program. According to MAIP, “By combining real-world work experience, training and development, and networking opportunities within the industry, MAIP participants gain a valuable professional credential to better position themselves in the marketplace. Simultaneously, the program offers advertising agencies the opportunity to access top talent and strengthens the 4A’s efforts to enhance the workforce diversity of our industry.”
Founded in 1917, the 4A’s is the national trade association representing the advertising agency business in the United States. It is a management-oriented association that offers its members the broadest possible services, expertise and information regarding the advertising agency business. Forty-three years ago the 4A’s began the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program with a mission to lead an industry evolution by providing the highest quality, diverse talent and to provide the advertising industry with unparalleled, developed diverse talent.
Laura a fellow with the Chacellor’s Honor Program shared her story with us:
Q: What do you do with the Chancellor’s office:
As a graduate assistant for the Chancellor’s Honors Program, I am in charge of planning, managing and executing many of our student’s co-curricular requirements. I’m also in charge of collaborating on communicative efforts such as fliers, newsletters, etc. for our events and courses.
Q: What are some of the things that have helped get you to where you are that could help other students?
I think maintaining a positive attitude and having a passionate and active pursuit of my goals has been really important. In my experience, hard work, diligence and a little faith are crucial to success.
At the same time, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help and support of key mentors and peers in my life. Finding a mentor that has been where you wish to be or that can help guide you along the process is essential. Because I’ve felt the impact these people have had in my life, I also hope aim to be a bridge builder to those overcoming similar disadvantages and challenges.
I’ve heard it said that it’s possible to grow wings while still staying rooted in who you are and where you came from and I think that’s super important. I’ve learned to understand who I am, to find empowerment in that and to recognize how I can use that to understand and communicate with people having similar and different identities and experiences.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to conquer that helped shape your path?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced has been learning to understand, integrate into and navigate in a culture and society different from the one my parents were familiar with. At the same time, the challenges and barriers I have faced have allowed me to develop a perseverance, resilience and strong work ethic that any industry or employer can appreciate.
By far, my parents are my loudest cheerleaders and ultimate role models. Their sacrifice and decision to leave everything they knew to come to the United States in order to give my siblings and I a greater sense of security and better opportunities is an important foundation, and something I cling to in each of the endeavors I undertake.
Q: What are you got most excited about regarding your new job?
I’m really excited about the chance to work with a different group of undergraduate students! Especially as we continue to communicate with, and influence the perspectives and decisions of, different audiences. I believe I can be a part of innovative and constructive developments as we—as a program and as a University—move into a new stage of leadership and execute strategic efforts toward becoming a Top 25 institution. I’m also excited to be able to perform tasks that are centered on communication strategies and strategic cooperation with groups on campus and in the surrounding community.
I’m really relieved to find that my supervisor and everyone in the office is great—it’s an awesome environment! But if I’m being completely honest, I’m most excited that I’ll be getting to work alongside two other fellow Tar Heels and Carolina graduates, Dr. Virginia Stormer and Ph.D. candidate Matt Baylock.
Q: What are your interests in PR?
As a woman of color, an immigrant to this country, I’ve become a unique hybrid as a student, an individual and a professional. Having struggled to learn a new language and integrate myself into a host culture, I know the value of communicating with others, expressing ideas and influencing opinions. More importantly, I recognize the need to consider the voice of the minority and empower and activate those who might often be underrepresented or misunderstood. The realization of the power and influence of communication, along with various other life experiences, has given me a passion for public relations and strategic communication functions, for international and intercultural relations, and for the ethical considerations that accompany each of these.
My research interests include the role of nongovernmental organizations and social/digital media on policy and on quality of democracy around the globe.
In my studies and in my personal life, I aim to serve the needs of diverse students and individuals in the surrounding community; encouraging a greater sense of community immersion and consideration and understanding of various worldviews.