Student Spotlight: Nichole Wierschem
- How did you first become interested in Digital Advertising and what led you to coming to LSU to study Mass Communication?
I originally wanted to do fashion photography advertising out of high school. I had loved photography and was pretty decent at it. So my mom told me I should double major in Advertising and Photography to cover my entire field. Shortly after taking my first advertising class sophomore year, we had a guest speaker in one of my classes. Hunter Territo. He gave a presentation about the industry and just how much advertising affected every single one of us. By the end of the presentation, I knew that advertising in it’s main form was what I wanted to do. I credit him to getting me on the path of advertising and from that moment on, I have never looked back. It’s important to me to do something you love for the rest of your life in your career, and I’m very lucky to have found that passion and love for advertising when I was 19 years old.
- You spent this summer as one of the 19 AAF Stickell Interns, tell me about your internship experience and how it’s helped you in your career development?
I was selected as one of the 19 AAF Stickell Interns. This means I was selected as the 2015 Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Award, outstanding member of Louisiana State University’s student chapter of the American Advertising Federation. After being awarded this title, my application was put up against over 50 students across the country. After winning it ranks me among meaning I am one of the top 19 AAF students in the United States. During the summer of 2015, I had the honor of spending my Stickell Internship with the prestigious The Richards Group (TRG), in Dallas, Texas. While I was considered a Brand Management Intern, I did not limit myself to only working on those specific job asks. I wanted to make every minute of this experience count. I tackled creating and photographing content for social media channels, played the role of a food stylist in creating playful plates for kids, and dove deep into digital strategy by creating monthly content decks and attending strategy brainstorms. When I left my internship, I had a new appreciation and understanding of digital media. It really taught me what I wanted to do in advertising and gave me a new surge of motivation to finish out my time at LSU and get that first job!
- You also won the Saurage Research Academic Distinction Scholarship from the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston, tell me about the scholarship and how you came about receiving it?
The scholarship is a merit-based scholarship. Dr. Windels showed me the scholarship and told me I should apply. I have to write a few short essays and get some letters of recommendation. I found out a few months later that I had won the scholarship. Susan Saurage, the President of a Marketing Firm in Houston, funds it, and was for 2,500 towards tuition I was completely shocked that I won but all of my hard work in and outside of class really helped me win it. It was actually funny because at the ceremony, I found out my grandparents knew Susan! It was like a mini Louisiana reunion!
- You’re president of the LSU Student Advertising Federation, planning the upcoming New York trip, and have increased membership in the student organization. What has your experience as president been thus far?
It has been a TON of work. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I became president of the club when it was at a complete low. I think we had about 4 members. We managed to get over 40 people to become members of the club, over 18 kids to NYC and bring in some incredible speakers over the past year. I have loved getting to meet all the upcoming students and talk and interact with them. I remember being in their shoes just a few short semesters ago so I have always loved helping those with the same drive as myself. It’s also shown me that I am a good leader and it has proved to me that I can make anything happen if I really work hard for it. It’s shown me the passion I have for helping others and teaching other about the industry I truly love and that LSU’s Advertising program is one of the best programs in the country.
- What are your plans and goals after graduating?
As of now, I plan on moving to NYC to get a job at an advertising agency working on Social And Digital Strategy. Eventually my goal is to open my own agency in Dallas Texas that has a large focus on non-profit work. It all a dream at the moment, but I’m planning on making it a reality here soon.
- Who has been your greatest influence or supporter throughout your journey?
I would have to pick 3 different people. The first would be my family. They are all engineers and analytical people so for me to go into advertising was a bit of a switch. They completely had faith in me and have helped support every dream I have had since. The second would be my professors, especially Dr, Jeong, Mrs. Ritter, Dr. Windels and Hunter Territo. They all greatly helped me achieve my best in every possible way I could and without them I wouldn’t be where I was today. And lastly my peers. They have provided endless encouragement to me and always made me want to do my best for every single project.
- Best experience(s) at Manship?
Our NYC Trip to visit Advertising Agencies. I managed to get 18 college kids to NYC in one piece and visit 5 agencies. It opened our eyes to the endless possibilities in our field and we made some incredible memories I will never forget. It would not have been possible without the help of Manship.
- What you’ll miss most upon graduating?
My friends I have made. Some of my best friends were made in my Advertising classes, and not getting to see them everyday is going to be hard! Also my teachers and mentors. They have helped me so much over the past few years with advice and not having that opportunity to stop in their office is going to be missed.
- Do you have any advice for incoming or current students?
Work hard. Don’t underestimate the power of connections and the connections your professors have. And make sure to make some great friends in your concentration. They will come in handy one day.