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Fall grad Devon Webb finds his niche
By Lisa Laughlin
A product finds its niche when its specific features meet the needs of a specific market. In this sense, senior Devon Webb discovered his “niche” when he found a perfect fit for his interests in advertising and writing. Webb graduated this December from the school of Journalism and Mass Media (JAMM), with not only a B.S. in Advertising with English and Writing minors, but valuable experience in the field.
“I have always enjoyed working in a competitive and pitch-driven environment, and advertising certainly revolves around those attributes,” said Webb. “Writing and English minors served as a bonus to help tune my communication skills.”
And Webb got to put those skills to work as he led the University of Idaho National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) Team through the Journalism and Mass Media (JAMM) department. He worked with eleven other students to build a fully integrated marketing campaign for Nissan, and present their 32-page plan book to a panel of advertising professionals in Boise.
“This invaluable experience helped academically in the sense that it allowed for hands-on experience working in advertising,” said Webb. “It was also highly rewarding personally as it helped to build necessary confidence and a greater understanding of personal and professional opportunities.”
Webb and his group’s nationwide campaign were recognized for numerous awards and received third place within their five state district.
“It was truly an honor to be a part of this program and work with these individuals. We wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without the full support of the JAMM department and the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences,” he said.
The Ad Team advisor, Lianne Wappett, was not only impressed with the group’s success, but also with Devon’s strong role in the process.
“As president of the Ad Team, Devon exemplified ideal leadership qualities as he negotiated a team of eleven students. Devon was patient as he listened to the many ideas shared on Ad Team and challenged fellow students to be [not only] respectful, but to be excellent in the work. Devon required no less from himself as he spent countless house crafting the plans book and presentation,” said Wappett.
Webb attributes part of that leadership to the support and advice he received from the JAMM staff.
“The University of Idaho is overflowing with amazing professors and advisors,” he said. “I have been inspired by at least one or all of my professors every semester.”
One of those professors is Mark Secrist, Professor of Advertising.
“[Secrist] maintains a level of professorship that many teachers aspire to achieve. His ability to develop and lead passionate advertising students truly is at the core of his being . . . he maintains a personality that is inviting and helps drive students both personally and professionally.”
Student Media Advisor Shawn O’Neal was also influential to Webb’s Advertising experience.
“[O’Neill] has provided positive advice and support while I was attempting to lean as much as possible about the wild and wonderful world of advertising,” he said. “Both of these professors have not only been great at their jobs, they have been exceptional at instilling positive attributes in their students.”
Now that he has his degree, Webb hopes to work at a national or international advertising agency.
“I honestly can’t imagine myself working in another field. The advertising industry is something I’m extremely passionate about. On a more personal level, my post-graduation plans are to be a greater role model to my one-year-old daughter, Ayla. My education from U of I will certainly help me achieve these goals as I have gained an even greater drive to ask questions and continue to investigate the world around us.”