Until she received her official letter, senior advertising major Ashley Hendrix had no idea where her summer internship might take her.
As it turns out, that place was Los Angeles County.
In February, Hendrix received an art director internship with the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), a fellowship sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A). Now in its fifth decade, MAIP helps place students in internships all over the country; in 2017, the program assisted 211 fellows to gain job experience in 19 different media markets.
Hendrix discovered her love of painting and creation by taking a basic art class during her senior year of high school. Two years later, she found her career passion in Advertising Principles (Advertising 250), taught by Professor Eric Haley. From that point, she knew she wanted to be an art director.
“Art direction combines creativity and conceptualization,” Hendrix said. “I realized I liked coming up with my own ideas, and that led me into advertising.”
Hendrix applied for MAIP last year but only reached the semifinal stage. This time around, she knew there were no guarantees that she would land an internship even after she was named a finalist.
“It was a long wait with existential moments of ‘I can’t wait to find out,’” Hendrix said.
Nearly four months after applying, she received a letter from MAIP and learned her internship destination: the Saatchi & Saatchi offices in Torrance, California. The communications and advertising agency, founded and headquartered in London, has 114 offices in 76 countries worldwide.
Hendrix was born in Oakland, California but calls Memphis, Tennessee her hometown having lived there since she was three. This summer will be the first time she has ever visited – let alone lived – in the Los Angeles area.
Like all students, Hendrix does not know where her career path will lead, but she is happy to be taking her first steps into the world of advertising agencies.
“(Working at an agency) was one of my goals after graduating and something I see myself doing for the next five years or so,” Hendrix said. “Eventually, I might go into the client side, or I might take my creative or art direction skills and use them on my own.”
In addition to majoring in Advertising, Hendrix is also on track to minor in Business Management, Art, and Africana Studies. She said painting is still a hobby, but it also serves as a practical foundation for art direction and a counterbalance to the logic and problem solving of her other courses.
Hendrix said the business-minded focus of the School of Advertising and Public Relations, which stresses account management and strategy, has been crucial in preparing for a career following graduation.
“Especially in the creative side of advertising; they talk about how competitive the creative side is,” Hendrix said. “They might source people from graphic design, but they don’t have that strategy side and can’t connect with a client. This school helped a lot with that.”