In the final roundtable of the spring 2022 semester, the Collegian Alumni Interest Group (AIG) sponsored a Zoom forum with two outstanding advertising and public relations specialists who discussed how the Collegian experience and Penn State education contributed to their work in advertising and public relations agencies.

Chioma Aduba

Chioma Aduba, EVP of Business Leadership for McCann in New York City, and Ken Byers, co-founder and brand strategist at Confidant, a firm with offices in Nashville and New York City, spoke to two dozen Collegian students in a forum moderated by Ben Serfass, a wrestling reporter for the news staff and a sales director on the business staff for The Daily Collegian.

Aduba, who ran track and field for Penn State and graduated in 2004, said that as a journalism major, she learned how to construct a sound argument. “And that is a lot of what we do in advertising,” she said. A journalism education makes the student great at transmitting ideas, she said, and that helped her transition to advertising because she had the communication skills required.

Ken Byers

Byers, who graduated in 2001 from the school of communication with an advertising focus and a minor in business, said team projects at school helped him handle team projects in the workplace, where it’s essential to navigate among people with different backgrounds and opinions.

Aduba urged students who are graduating to reach out to alumni and ask about jobs, and Byers endorsed that approach, saying, “Don’t be bashful. Reach out, and once in a while you will find people who love helping and connecting people.”

Aduba said she did not know all the jargon when she started at an advertising firm in New York City, but she said she knew she could work hard and believed she was equipped to handle it because Penn State taught her to learn fast.

Byers told students that they didn’t have to work for a firm in New York City. “Figure out where you want to be,” he said. And, he stressed, “Your first job is not your last job. . . .Use it for what it can do to help you get a better job.”

Serfass, a junior majoring in advertising with a minor in digital media trends and analytics, also talked with Aduba and Byers about networking, interviewing and internships. To watch the video, click here.

Barbara Stack

I started my journalism career at The Daily Collegian, where I covered cops, "radicals and minorities," and served as editorial page editor. After graduation, I worked as a reporter and feature writer for two community papers, The Tribune-Review and the Beaver County Times, before being hired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I worked for the Post-Gazette for 27 years as a reporter, assistant city editor and editorial page writer. For a decade I covered issues regarding children and families, and a series of stories I wrote, along with a court case I persuaded the Post-Gazette to pursue, led to an order opening to the press and public dependency hearings in Pennsylvania juvenile court. In 2007, I began working as a blog writer for the United Steelworkers Union, composing blogs and op-eds that were published in the name of the union's international president. I am now retired and working as a consultant for The Pittsburgh Foundation's communications department.