From Coast to Coast: JWU Students Chat with California-Based Ad Agency

Earlier this week, students at the Providence Campus had the chance to talk with associates from RPA Advertising, an advertising and marketing agency headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The special “Office Hours” event gave 15 students the chance to connect one-on-one with an RPA employee on the other side of the country for a 20-minute video chat session.

JWU students speak with RPA Advertising associates.


Office Hours is a first-time program for RPA, and they were interested in talking to JWU advertising students in particular. “It was awesome to connect with a college like JWU on the complete opposite side of the country,” said Nathalie Nagamine, a Research Analyst for RPA. “The students asked thoughtful questions and had a great curiosity for advertising.”

Oscar Chilabato, an associate professor in the College of Business, worked closely with RPA to coordinate the event. “This was a pilot, and as such there are always some glitches, but it was greatly successful from our student and faculty perspective,” said Chilabato. “Students came away very much impressed and felt as if this was completely worthwhile."

The discussions covered everything from resume-building to storytelling. One student talked at length with a female RPA employee about what it’s like to be a woman in the advertising industry. 

"She even offered me advice on how to maintain an ideal work-life balance."

“I was able to have a powerful conversation with Claire Penhorwood, who has been working on RPA’s Honda account for three years,” said Laura Zakrewski ‘19. “We discussed her career history and how she ultimately landed her current position after starting off in journalism and then switching to advertising. She even offered me advice on how to maintain an ideal work-life balance.”

JWU students speak with RPA Advertising associates.


Though most of the students who participated were Advertising & Marketing Communications majors, there was one Graphic Design student in the mix as well. Brooklyn Estremera ’20 took part in Office Hours for a chance to learn about a different industry.

“I spoke with one of RPA's analysts, Matt Youngquist,” said Estremera. “I really enjoyed getting the chance to speak with Matt — whose discipline is a little bit of a switch from mine — because it gave me some insight on what it’s like to switch gears in your career path.”

It was a little nostalgic, as the students reminded me a lot of myself not too long ago."

Youngquist also reflected fondly on the experience. “At first it was a little nostalgic, as the students reminded me a lot of myself not too long ago,” he said. “It was inspiring to hear about their passion for learning, both in the classroom and through real world experiences. And, even though Brooklyn wanted to go into design, I feel like we were still able to connect on storytelling. All in all, I would absolutely do this again.”

The agency hopes to continue having Office Hours with JWU in the future.“It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with schools easily and effortlessly,” said Rosalynn Bugg, a Senior Digital Producer at RPA.

Video chat events are providing students more opportunities to network and meet professionals from around the country, rather than just those that come to campus. We may see a lot more events like this in the future.

Photos courtesy of Manal Jakhar '20