SPOTLIGHT: SBPM student wins AAF recognition

GW senior Erika Emeruwa is an all-around excellent marketing student with amazing promise in advertising. Her talent did not slip by the American Advertising Federation, which recognized her as one of the “Most Promising Minority Students of 2001” last week.

Considering Emeruwa’s impressive credentials, it is no surprise that the AAF chose her as one of only 25 students nationwide. As a sophomore Emeruwa co-founded GW’s chapter of the NCAAP, and she served as the chapter’s president for two years. In January GW honored her with one of three Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. awards. The annual award is offered to students who have made significant contributions to their communities by encouraging peace, multiculturalism, nonviolence, personal integrity, community and ethical or religious reflection.

Emeruwa also served as a Multicultural Students Services Center ambassador, organized educational forums and helped serve meals at the Calvary Women’s Shelter.

Professor Lynda Maddox, who teaches marketing and advertising at GW, nominated Emeruwa for the AAF award.

“Erika stood out in class,” Maddox said. “She was creative, good in a group, had great written and oral skills. She showed a lot of promise in advertising.”

Along with the award, Emeruwa received a trip to New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for a two-day program to meet the top advertising executives in the country.

“I’ve made some excellent contacts, and I must stress excellent, who are eager to help mentor and guide me for the future,” Emeruwa said.

The honor is part of the AAF’s attempt to increase diversity in the field and an effort to bring together industry leaders and future leaders, Maddox said. Emeruwa said the award offers companies the chance to increase the diversity in the field.

“Many companies don’t realize they need this diversity and how few minorities there are in the field,” Emeruwa said. “Fifth- and sixth-year alumni are still reaping the benefits of this award. It’s very good and promoting change.”

Emeruwa received another surprise on her trip. She was chosen by AAF members to represent the other 24 students at a luncheon speech.

“A woman called me up and was just talking to me normally and all of a sudden she asked if I would represent the group at this luncheon,” Emeruwa said. “I was so surprised. First I get this award and then I get to represent these 24 awesome kids. It was just the icing on the cake.”

During the convention, two other students gave speeches, but none in front of an audience of more than 400 people with their face plastered on a big screen television, like Emeruwa’s speech. Many in her position would have legs of jelly as they stood to speak before the top executives in the field, but not Emeruwa.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” she said. “I was just so psyched. It was just an awe-inspiring experience.”

GW’s School of Business and Public Management has become noted for students receiving awards and recognition. Emeruwa is just one of many students and faculty this year to be recognized for their work in and out of the classroom.

“We have a good business school,” Maddox said. “We place an emphasis on experiential learning and expose our students to the real world. They have the qualities and qualifications businesses are looking for.”

Two other GW students received AAF recognition. Chia-Wen Liu, a senior with a double concentration in marketing and sports management, and senior Jenine Alston, with a concentration in marketing, were both named to an honor roll of students recommended for the award. Although they were not invited to attend the two-day conference, their names were available for the top executives.

Emeruwa said she leads a relatively normal life when she is not accepting awards and providing leadership at campus events. She is a classical violinist and pianist. She said she shops, talks on the phone, does schoolwork and hangs out with her friends. If nothing else, she enjoys life to the fullest and takes advantage of all the opportunities presented to her, she said.

Unlike most seniors, though, she does not feel stressed about her future after graduation.

“This awe-inspiring experience and being around the top industry people has provided me with a lot of confidence,” Emeruwa said. “I met a lot of people and the prospects are looking good for post-graduation.”

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