IC Student Named Most Promising Multicultural Advertising Student

By Grace Collins ’23, February 19, 2021
Bianca Summerville ’21 named to the American Advertising Federation’s 2021 class of Most Promising Multicultural Students.

Integrated Marketing Communications major Bianca Summerville ’21, became the latest Ithaca College student to be selected to the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Most Promising Multicultural Students (MPMS) Program.

Part of the AAF Mosaic Center’s initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry, the program selects just 50 students each year. Summerville is the 37th IC student to be selected to the program since 2004.

It’s an opportunity given to students who are ambitious enough to turn the mentoring, networking, and virtual site visits into a key that unlocks the door to our advertising industry,” said associate professor Scott Hamula, who is the faculty advisor of the college’s AAF chapter.

“It was just so fulfilling to get that yes. Especially since I had gone from saying, ‘No, I'm not even going to bother applying because I can't write these essays’ to getting accepted in the span of a month and a half.”

Bianca Summerville ’21

Summerville’s ambitions are quite evident, as she’s involved in countless organizations both on and off campus. A Park Scholar, she’s also had an AmeriCorps internship term at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, served as a public relations consultant for the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and held executive board positions in several IC student organizations, including her current role as director of publicity for ICTV.

Through her participation in the program, Summerville participated in Most Promising 2021, four days of professional development workshops and networking events. The events, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, culminated in a recruiter’s expo where Summerville was able to connect with representatives from top advertising agencies.

Bianca Summerville holding a sign

As part of the program, Summerville was able to take part in several days of professional development.

In a small group setting, Summerville attended workshops and talks facilitated by industry leaders and advertising experts. She also learned from the other students attending, who she says all had the same motivations and values despite different lived experiences.

“One thing I really appreciated about the Mosaic Center and the MPMS program is that they truly meant multicultural,” Summerville said. “People had all sorts of backgrounds. There was just so much true diversity.”

The experience was a memorable one for Summerville, and ironically, it’s an experience that almost didn’t happen. Consisting of several essays and a faculty recommendation, applying to the program is a one-step process, which Summerville says created a lot of pressure. She credits Hamula with pushing her to apply to the program.

“I emailed Professor Hamula the night before applications were due saying that I couldn’t apply, that I couldn’t write the essays,” she said. “He wrote back and reminded me that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was like ‘Are you sure you want to back out? Because I don't think you do.’”

Summerville also learned from Hamula that the application deadline had been extended and decided to forge ahead in the application process. She turned to IC’s Writing Center and worked with a writing tutor, Vivian Goldstein ‘21, to perfect her application before submitting it. The two stayed in touch after Summerville sent in the application.

“The moral of the story is to not ever count yourself out and lean into the resources that the college provides. If I hadn’t had that support from Scott or the Writing Center, I was fully prepared to walk away from probably what was the best experience of my college career.”

Bianca Summerville

“I emailed Vivian after I found out I got in because it was seriously just as much her victory as mine,” she said. “It was just so fulfilling to get that yes. Especially since I had gone from saying, ‘No, I'm not even going to bother applying because I can't write these essays’ to getting accepted in the span of a month and a half.

“The moral of the story is to not ever count yourself out and lean into the resources that the college provides,” Summerville continued.  If I hadn’t had that support from Scott or the Writing Center, I was fully prepared to walk away from probably what was the best experience of my college career.”

Hamula, who wrote Summerville’s faculty recommendation says this award is a testament to her extraordinary abilities and potential for a career in the advertising industry.  

“Bianca has proven herself to be one of the brightest, hardest working, and nicest students in our IMC program,” he said. “[She] possesses a genuine interest in the advertising industry and was most deserving to be recognized with this prestigious opportunity.”