Sela Betz, ’20, is on the fast track for advertising in the Robins School, and it shows, as she is one of 50 Most Promising Multicultural Students recognized across the nation by the American Advertising Federation (AAF).

“I feel appreciated and truly honored,” Betz said. “I don't think I have fully absorbed the recognition yet. My friends have told me that I deserve it and that they are proud of me.”

Betz single-handedly established Spider Advertising, the Richmond chapter of the American Advertising Federation, after her internship with TBWA/The Integer Group in New York last summer. 

“A recruiter told me that if you don't have an advertising club on campus to join, then start one,” Betz said. “That was my ‘aha’ moment because I thought to myself that I wished I knew more information about how an advertising campaign was created before I started my journey within the industry.”

Before the summer was over, she recruited ten students who would become her advertising team to establish Spider Advertising.

“I think the part about creating advertising resources and leaving a legacy at UR really grabbed students' attention,” Betz said. “I found some solid students who wanted to help me run the organization. We got funding from the Dean fairly quickly and were recognized by the student development team on the first try.” 

Since, Spider Advertising has provided hands-on workshops for students, and connected members with real clients.

“We operate as a real advertising agency to create deliverables. Working with real clients is an academic and learning experience in itself because you gain first-hand experience collaborating with teammates and growing and utilizing your skills,” Betz said.

She says starting an advertising agency on the Richmond campus from the ground up is exactly the kind of experience she needed outside of the classroom, and is thrilled to have the support of the Robins School to make that dream a reality.

“Building Spider Advertising has truly felt like creating a startup,” Betz said. “This passion project really grew my personal and professional skills because it taught me how to interact with clients, talk to students and faculty, and of course it grew my advertising skills. I am excited for what this organization is doing and where it is going.”

Jeff Carlson, assistant professor of marketing, is one of the faculty mentors for Spider Advertising, and said he is thrilled that Sela has been recognized for her hard work.

“This is a great honor for Sela and great recognition for a Robins School student,” Carlson said. "Sela is one of the most creative, persistent, and motivated students we have seen."

According to a press release, this year’s judging panel for AAF included representatives from Adobe, Octagon, Pandora, Spotify, Target, The Richards Group, and VidMob. Each year, multicultural students from the AAF’s 160+ college chapters apply for the program. Those selected will participate in a four-day industry immersion program that includes professional development workshops, site visits, Building Bridges to our Future awards luncheon and Recruiter’s Expo. 

"The Most Promising class of students is selected from multicultural talent that reflects the diversity of demographics, experience, and mindset of America. The 2020 class is comprised of exceptional talent across various disciplines who will lend their creativity and voices to inspire a more inclusive workforce,” says the AAF’s COO, Constance Cannon Frazier. 

Betz is looking forward to the program, and is grateful to everyone at UR who has made this journey possible. 

“I feel honored to be recognized but still can't believe that out of all the students that I am one of them! I am excited to continue growing the advertising resources for students on campus.”

Find out more about Spider Advertising, and our other student organizations, here.