Graphic design senior selected for American Ad Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program

Carlos Velasco
Carlos Velasco

Graphic design senior selected for American Ad Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program

calendar icon21 Nov 2017    

Lincoln, Neb.--Carlos Velasco, a senior graphic design major from Shelby, Nebraska, is one of four University of Nebraska–Lincoln students and one of 50 nationwide selected for the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program.

The other three Nebraska honorees are College of Journalism and Mass Communications students Anna Fobair, Wellesley Michael and Julia Nguyen.

“This is a fantastic way to jumpstart my career search, to network with people from across the country, to represent my University, and all in all, a really great honor to be selected,” Velasco said. “I don’t think that four years ago, I’d ever imagine advancing so much as an undergraduate student to even be competitive in something like this. It’s really humbling and exciting. I really do have to give a huge shoutout to Amy Struthers who nominated me for the award. She’s been a fantastic supporter, mentor and professor for much of my time at UNL.”

Professor of Advertising Amy Struthers, the faculty advisor for Jacht, said Velasco was a designer and creative director for Jacht. Through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ Jacht Ad Lab, students learn the ins and outs of running an advertising agency by handling the accounts of a variety of real-life clients.

 “Bilingual, with one foot in the U.S. and the other in Mexico, Carlos brought a valuable and important perspective to the team that helped diversify the experience for students, faculty and our clients,” Struthers said.

Begun in 1997, the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program connects the advertising industry with the nation’s top multicultural college seniors. This premier event provides opportunities to recruit fresh talent to further prepare the advertising industry’s best young prospects and to help the advertising and media workforce better reflect the diversity of today's society.

“I really love that this honor is specifically recognizing multicultural students,” Velasco said. “It is really difficult for multicultural, especially first-generation students, to figure out how college works, and much less a lot of the professional parts of it as well. It is also really important in industries like design and advertising for there to be more representation and diversity. I hope also in my career it can speak to my commitment to not just design pretty things, but that I do want to make a difference and do important work.”

Velasco and the other honorees will travel to New York City in February, where he will attend workshops, visit advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments, have mentoring sessions and interview for full-time positions.

“Carlos Velasco is consistently innovative in his approach to projects and celebrates collaboration,” said Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Colleen Syron. “He strives to demonstrate world-class student creativity, honors level academic aptitude, service to the community and the profession, stands by strong moral character and remarkable personal ambition. His senior Capstone project, Mercado Bardas, is an experiential concept store that will examine the cultural and retail value of the designed object. To ensure his Capstone would be nothing but the best, he combined his research with a semester abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris.”

Velasco is studying this fall in Paris, getting a French language certificate program at the Sorbonne and conducting his thesis research.

“I want to eventually work in the fashion/lifestyle areas, and French knowledge is so appreciated in this area,” Velasco said. “Paris is my favorite place in the world—it’s a city where visual culture is so important, a place where there’s always things happening, and where you really have some of the most impressive and interesting art events happening. I have been working on researching the perception of value for my thesis and this place has been absolutely amazing. I’ve gained so much inspiration, I’ve opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and doing things, and new ways of approaching problems.”

Velasco said Paris and Europe as a whole is an interesting place to be culturally and socially as a designer and while doing his thesis work.

“I’m happy being able to really analyze and observe the world through a more mature eye and to be able to look at things like political posters in Barcelona and tie them to cultural event posters in the Paris metro,” he said. “The difference between the urban setting of Paris versus the relaxed setting of Lincoln is extreme but, especially as I near graduation, being in this city is one of the most amazing and important things I could imagine doing. I genuinely wish I could live and work here forever.”

Velasco served as the UNL AIGA student group president in 2016-2017. He has won multiple awards at the AIGA Nebraska Design Competition and is this year one of two AIGA Designing Opportunity student scholarship recipients.

“It has been a delight to teach and mentor Carlos,” Syron said. “He is a testament to the strength of the program and to the strength of the University. I am so excited for the community and state, as we watch obvious future successes.”