Texas State student and faculty member journey to New York
Manuel Garcia | February 21, 2019
Texas State University advertising graduate DeMornay Harper (B.S. ‘18), was honored by The American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program, which took place Feb. 11-14 in New York. The program connects the advertising industry with the nation’s top 50 multicultural college seniors.
Texas State Assistant Professor Jenny Buschhorn, who serves on the American Advertising Federation’s National Education Executive Committee, encouraged Harper to apply to the program.
“She just shined as far as her ability to really understand advertising and be enthusiastic and passionate about it,” said Buschhorn, who taught Harper in the School of Mass Communications and Journalism’s Advertising Campaigns course. “She’s also just an incredible human being… she had that fire and was ready to roll.”
With over 25 years in the advertising industry, Buschhorn quickly realized Harper had what it takes to be successful.
“She can talk to people, understand what is going on and get a clear vision of what that person is looking for from a company. In advertising that is what you are looking for, trying to understand how the target audience interacts with your product and what’s going on in the world, and then know how to create a relationship with them and for your product. She just has that personality that is able to connect and understand things.”
As for the AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program, Buschhorn says it excels by building up students and helping them find jobs at major ad agencies. From resume and interview development to a recruiting fair, Buschhorn says diversity in the industry is a strong movement in today’s climate.
“It has been difficult in the past to hire minorities in those jobs because up until the past 20 years or so, that’s not who was coming out of college… these programs were established to help [students] grow from the bottom up.”
Buschhorn says the recruitment fair gives her the opportunity to share Texas State’s story on diversity. By sharing data with industry leaders, like a recent study from Forbes that shows 34 percent of the student enrollment population is of Hispanic or Latino descent, Buschhorn attracts new clients and projects for her students. In the past, her students have worked with companies on research projects that end up as implemented national campaigns.
As for Harper, the journey to being accepted into the AAF program was no walk in the park. After an unexpected computer crash that forced her to re-write five essays in a short amount of time, Harper knew she was supposed to apply. Before heading to New York, Harper took time to reflect on her experience being in Buschhorn’s class.
“Jenny knew we were capable of so much more, and by doing that, she challenged us to really go into areas of our mind that we hadn’t, and think outside the box,” Harper said.
After being accepted into the program and talking with Buschhorn, Harper had serious thoughts about traveling for her career.
“With this program, I have seriously thought about living in New York, which is something I never thought I would be considering. The furthest I ever thought of moving to was Austin, Texas. I’m a Texas girl through and through,” says Harper, a Texas native from San Antonio.
Today, Harper has a different perspective on her future career destination and says because of her age, she has the whole world ahead of her and believes that nothing can stop her.
When asked what advice to give inspiring young students who are struggling with internships or wanting to apply to a specific program, Harper gives some words of encouragement.
“In this stage in our lives, it’s easy to lose yourselves and be someone you are not…Don’t forget your truth…make sure you’re not trying to sound a certain way to come off as something else…trying your own voice, whatever that is, is essential.”
“Liberated hymns of an insightful mind #freedomfound,” is the saying that Harper picked for her mantra. By being part of this lifelong network of select individuals, Harper says she feels liberated about her future. Inspired by music and space, she refers to “hymns” like sitting in church and having the choir fill the atmosphere.
“Invigorating and inspiring” are the words Harper used to describe her trip to New York. Crazy 12-hour days filled her week as she visited as many as three ad agencies in one day. What touched her the most was hearing stories from her peers about how some are first-generation college students, and the path they took in order to be where they are now.
For Harper, her career is off to a great start. Since her trip, Harper has interviewed with a handful of ad agencies from the program, and says the interviews went well. As a member of the AAF’s select group, she will be able to tap into this network of alumni for the rest of her life. Harper credits a lot of her early success to her internship at Kendra Scott and the mentorship and friendship that Buschhorn provided. She gives herself credit for finding her own voice, and encourages others to do the same.