By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–D’Coryia Cunningham and Kaitlin Henderson have been awarded American Advertising Federation (AAF) Louisville Education Foundation scholarships.
Cunningham, a senior from Louisville majoring in strategic communication, has received the Louisville Advertising Federation’s annual Diversity Scholarship, a $2500 gift dedicated to minority students.
Henderson, a senior majoring in strategic communication, received the Bud Ballard Scholarship, a $2500 gift.
Founded in 1908 as the Louisville Advertising Federation, the AAF-Louisville strives to grow and enhance Greater Louisville’s network of all marketing communications professionals, offering educational programs, industry connectivity and professional growth resources.
The AAF-Louisville has awarded 37 scholarships since 1999.
As a part of her successful application process, Cunningham submitted an essay that articulated an understanding of, and need for, a more diverse and inclusive workforce for the benefit of the community in general, and for the Louisville advertising and communications industry in particular.
Cunningham has worked full-time while also enrolled full-time at IU Southeast.
“This scholarship will allow me the ability to work fewer hours and focus on being the best student I can be in my last semester at IU Southeast,” Cunningham said.
A vocal artist since childhood, Cunningham shifted her focus to promoting music while still in high school. Inspired by her late father’s example of a passion for music, a strong work ethic and resilience, Cunningham has excelled in using strategic communication to broaden the reach of her artistry.
“Strategic communication is the way the world moves around,” Cunningham said. “As people, we are continuously trying to use effective communication to stand out amongst peers, co-workers, and more. Even if you’re not trying to build a brand’s visibility, as a person you are still continuously trying to highlight the best version of yourself.”
As part of her award application, Henderson contributed an essay indicating why she was interested in a career in advertising, outlining her career goals and aspirations, demonstrating how she might contribute to the industry, and stating how the scholarship would help her achieve her goals.
With a passion for people and a growing interest in sustainability (her minor), Henderson found a home in strategic communication, where the power of advertising and a brand’s message to shape perceptions and behavior hold the promise of generating positive change in the world, a central career goal.
“I want to find a position with a company that aligns with my sustainable values and help the brand grow and reach people who can generate change,” Henderson said.
Henderson plans to apply the scholarship toward an internship in the advertising field. Like Cunningham, she appreciates the opportunity afforded by the scholarship to fully devote herself to gaining necessary insight.
“Without internship experience my dreams of changing the industry will remain dreams,” Henderson said. “I need to really be immersed in the industry to understand how to successfully generate the change I wish to make.”
On behalf of the Strategic Communication program, Professor Tammy Voigt recognized the students’ accomplishment with admiration.
“The AAF only awards two of these gifts each year, and in 2020, IU Southeast students have snagged them both,” Voigt said. “It is a privilege to have them in our program.”