Thokozile smiles on Brooklyn Bridge.

Thokozile Zimba ’19

Written by Thokozile Zimba ’19, a senior from Zambia who spent her final Morehead-Cain summer working in the advertising industry in New York City

It’s difficult to understand what an advertising awards show company is if you’ve never worked in one or entered a competition. And there are myriad ways to enter and interact with the ad world.

My Private Enterprise summer internship with the Clio Awards helped drive home my desire to be a part of creating the kinds of ads that win awards. I got to read articles, meet professionals, and watch ads that all inspired me to take a shot at being an ad creative. On top of all that, living in New York for the summer proved to me that I thrive in metropolitan environments in which diversity is available and celebrated.

This summer, I worked as a social media intern for the Clio Awards: an awards show company dedicated to recognizing creativity in advertising. My job consisted of scheduling social media posts and writing copy for our various social channels. My biggest project was creating a social media strategy for the 60th Anniversary of the Clios, which I presented to my supervisor, the head of marketing and the president of the Clio Awards.

My favorite part of the internship was my supervisor. Janie Sircey ’15 wanted me to learn, and I felt that every day. She trusted me and gave me real work to do. I felt like a colleague more than just her intern. Having the opportunity to do so much hands-on work is what taught me the most over the summer. I also enjoyed sitting in on a judging session and watching advertising executives discussing one another’s work.

But when I think back on the summer, my favorite story isn’t one from work. During the World Cup Final, I went with my Airbnb host to a French bar/cafe to watch France play against Croatia. The whole room was filled with French fans (and one German lady who offered to share her fries with us). Every time France scored a goal, the room would roar with energy. When they finally won, it turned into a large party with people dancing and hugging. It was a good way to bond with my housemate, meet some new people, and watch my favorite sporting event with people who don’t call it soccer.

The Morehead-Cain Summer Enrichment Program is tailored to provide scholars with the opportunity to explore their passions in ways that work best for them, and that is what this summer did for me. In addition, thanks to the Discovery Fund, I’ll also be able to return to New York in October to work at the 2018 Clio Awards Show. The more hands-on experience I have in social media management, the better equipped I will be to tackle the ever-changing world of media and journalism.

The Morehead-Cain has taught me that when you have ample resources available to feed your curious mind, you should be sure to use them.