COM Wire – Fall/Winter 2011
By Rachel Johnson
For some, spring break is all about lying on the beach or partying. But for Nicole Sorice (’11), it was the perfect time to jump-start her advertising career. In March, Sorice and 11 other COM students spent their week off traveling around New York City, dipping their toes into the ad waters of Publicis, BBDO, Grey, McGarryBowen, Digitas and Big Spaceship. COM alums at these six prominent agencies offered students the chance to see the firms at work, get a taste of big-city advertising, and hear firsthand about real-world advertising practices.
“It was an incredible networking opportunity,” says Sorice. “Some agencies even called students in for interviews that week. It allowed us to see what real New York City agencies look like from the inside.”
For the 11th consecutive year, COM brought a group of 12 undergraduate and grad students to New York for a spring break that taught them about different agency styles and job prospects in the field. Sorice made the most of her time and now works for Publicis NY. Her fellow ad traveler, Carly Milden (’12), agrees that the trip was invaluable.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the heart and soul of New York City advertising agencies,” says Milden. “The industry professionals I met inspired me. They were very passionate; they shared their personal experiences and took us through how an agency works.” Part of what made the occasion so helpful, Milden says, was the glimpse it gave students of the strong alumni connections that already exist. “It was refreshing to see there’s a real support system in place. When we leave COM, we’re not alone.”
COM photojournalism student Scott Eisen (’13) covered the devastation and optimism evident in Georgia after tornadoes hit in May. His observations follow:
Around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, a few friends and I, all aspiring photojournalists, had just finished watching The Bang Bang Club, a movie about four combat photographers. My friend Ryan McBride had an idea: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could go down South to cover the tornado devastation?”
We thought seriously about it, then went to work trying to figure out the worst-hit areas in the South. The newspapers reported that an EF4 tornado, with winds of 175 mph, had destroyed most of a small North Georgia town called Ringgold. We decided to sleep on the idea and make a decision in the morning.
It was easy. I called Ryan as soon as I woke up. “Yeah,” he said. “Let’s book this.” The first hotel I called to arrange lodging was the Super 8 in Ringgold. The phone just kept ringing.
Ryan and I landed in Atlanta at 10:30 Saturday night. We got our rental car and headed toward Ringgold, a two-hour drive. Two exits before the one we were supposed to take we noticed that there were no electric lights on the billboards. Then we saw trees lying on their sides, and when we finally reached our exit, we drove past the heavily damaged Super 8. As we pulled into the parking lot of a hotel that was undamaged, we saw that there were no parking spaces. The hotel had become a safe haven for those who had lost their homes.
The next morning, we ventured down a street that, according to my research, had been hit. We found only some minor wind damage, so we headed toward the center of town. As we went down Lafayette Street, Ryan and I were in a state of shock. Everything. Was. Gone. Not a single building was standing, and many appeared literally to have blown away. There were houses without walls, and there were foundations without houses. We stopped and chatted with a sheriff, who told us it was OK to take pictures.
The strange thing was that the air smelled so fresh. Then we realized that the uprooted trees were giving off beautiful scents. We ran into a local woman who told us that her restaurant was the only one in town left standing. She said that when the tornado hit the McDonald’s we had just photographed, more than 40 people were in it.
The whole place felt like a war zone. On one residential road, we saw several flipped and destroyed cars. While photographing this, we heard the sound of singing. Following our ears, we found the entire congregation of a destroyed Baptist church gathered outside, worshipping. Everyone we talked to insisted that they “would be OK.” They would rebuild, they said. Life would go on.