Where are They Now?
Catching up with 2019 Media Plan Case Competition finalists
By Elisabeth Balke, WMSF Intern
The Washington Media Scholars Foundation provides a host of opportunities for students. When it comes to the Media Scholars program, finalists are given a buffet-like variety of career advancing experiences in the media and public affairs industries. Some students gain a sense of perspective and direction in their desired career field. Others make professional relationships that will lead to a first job out of college. All finalists are challenged to grow in communication skills and are equipped with a greater understanding of the purposes of media planning in issues campaigns.
As each Media Scholar is unique, so are the paths each scholar has taken after graduating the program. The stories below of seven Media Scholars from 2019 attest to that.
Suzanne Green, part of the winning team in the 2019 Media Scholars case competition, now works as a Digital Media Coordinator with National Media in Alexandria, VA. Her experience has developed into a niche for programmatic and finding digital opportunities within media plans.
“I’ve been working on winning special elections and high-profile senate races just one year out of college,” Green said. She mentions that this job opportunity came directly from connections at Washington Media Scholars Foundation.
Noah McGill, the other part of the winning team in 2019, is employed as a Data Analyst at Purple Strategies in Alexandria, VA.
“For me, the biggest value of Media Scholars is that it makes students no longer feel like an industry outsider,” said McGill. “There is so much the industry has to offer, but while looking from the outside in at all of the different job titles, media types, and company focuses, it can be hard to figure out where you fit.”
Jess Mihalczo, a recent graduate of Temple University, has realized her ability to be an advocate in environmentalism because of her involvement as a Media Scholar. In the past year, she created her own project called “Earth Day: 50 Years In The Making.”
“During Media Scholars week last year, I was inspired by so many individuals and organizations who were dedicated to making a change in the world, whether that be politically or otherwise,” she said.
In the past year, she has utilized her education and passion to work with non-profits like Keep Philadelphia Beautiful. Currently, she is seeking employment in advertising and communication with an emphasis on advocacy in Philadelphia, PA.
“If it was not for WMSF [Washington Media Scholars Foundation] I would never have shifted my career path to be more altruistic and ultimately more fulfilling,” Mihalczo concluded.
Raelie Mulvey, who partnered with Mihalczo in 2019, has recently accepted a full-time position working with Aloysius, Butler & Clark in Philadelphia, PA.
“I was an intern there for three semesters, and my experience in the WMSF qualifying round and semifinals was a huge talking point for me during my interview for the internship. It was great experience for me. I hadn’t had any real-world media planning work at that point!” Mulvey continued, “I would credit the WMSF with giving me the experience to land that first internship…which has now turned into a full-time offer!”
In addition to giving her employable experiences, Mulvey remembers her final presentation to judges in Washington D.C. being a confidence building moment. In her capstone class as a senior in advertising, her group won the pitch to work for a local nonprofit.
Andreia Benites, now an Analytics Consultant, remembers Media Scholars week as a time that she was able to refine her professional etiquette at her first networking event while in Washington D.C. After graduating from Brigham Young University Idaho in 2019, she moved to Rocklin, CA to work with Blast Analytics.
She was in contact with Blast Analytics prior to her time as a Media Scholar but she recalls Media Scholars as an amazing experience.
“It sure caused an impression on them that I was a finalist in 2019,” Benites explained.
Ritika Agrawal, a rising senior studying advertising at Iowa State University and currently an intern with NBC Universal, called the Media Scholars program a foundational, first-step of her career.
“Media Scholars week helped me navigate my career goals and aspirations, build a strong network and grow in the field of advertising and media planning,” Agrawal said.
Like McGill, she found perspective in the vast industry of media through the program. She decided to minor in data science and design studies after participating in the Media Scholars case competition.
She relates working with NBC Universal as being a dream of hers. She works with the Insights and Measurement team within the Ad Sales unit and hopes to continue a journey with them after graduation in May, 2021.
Elisabeth Balke, who was partners with Agrawal in the 2019 competition, is a rising senior at Iowa State University, studying advertising and data science. This summer, she is a communications and data intern with National Media and with the Washington Media Scholars Foundation.
“The Media Scholars experience was transformative for me,” she said. “I was empowered to make connections and decisions that narrowed down my career goals in advertising.”
One thing of great value to Balke was the ability to meet people from various companies and learn the personalities of businesses, person to person.
If you are an undergraduate pursuing a degree in a media or policy related field, consider forming a team and entering the 2021 Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Plan Case Competition. The qualifying round is scheduled to post in September 2020.