Hey everyone! I’m Daniel Heard, a rising senior at Southern Methodist University from Dallas, Texas, double majoring in Creative Advertising and Marketing and minoring in Graphic Design. Since my first day at SMU, being involved on campus has been very important to me. I currently serve as the President of Program Council, an event-planning organization whose current objective is retaining a fun environment for students returning this Fall despite health concerns about COVID-19. I give campus tours to prospective students, being involved in Greek life, and have recently retired from being an RA for two years. Beyond my studies and extracurriculars, I am passionate about TV, movies, art and baking. My dream job outside of advertising is opening an ice cream shop with a bakery!
During my senior year of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study in college. Although I equally enjoyed Biology and English, my favorite subject overall was art. I had been in my school’s visual arts program since middle school. I enjoyed learning about composition and visual problem-solving. Despite my passion for art, I couldn’t see myself pursuing a career as a professional artist. That’s when I found advertising, a practical but creative intersection of art and business. When touring SMU, I was so impressed by the Temerlin Advertising Institute that I decided to remain in Dallas for at least 4 more years. I haven’t looked back since.
My Pandemic Experience
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has dramatically affected the lives of college students. For SMU, classes moved online after spring break with the intention of returning to campus in early April. Having finished the rest of the semester online, it’s funny to reminisce on how long we initially expected the pandemic to last. My friends and I all struggled to adjust to online learning and being around our families more than ever before. As president of an event planning organization, I got the opportunity to dabble in crisis management. I had to cancel several of SMU’s most cherished traditions while comforting those who had to make peace with throwing away months of planning and hard work. We did some brainstorming and came up with several virtual events to continue our mission of providing the student body with opportunities to come together and have fun, despite being away from campus. Our exec board and I faced some difficulties managing members while planning these new kinds of events. At the end of the day, I think we all learned invaluable lessons about the importance of communication.
COVID-19 also had a devastating impact on the summer internship market. It resulted in many of my friend’s internship programs that had been secured for months being canceled. I was in the midst of searching for an internship when the pandemic struck, and most agencies I reached out to either never got back to me or informed me they were no longer hiring interns for the summer. Being a rising senior, I was concerned about whether I would be able to get the agency experience I needed before I graduated. Just when I was giving up, AE sent me an email to schedule an interview! Despite all the uncertainty, I am so thankful that AE decided to bring on six interns this summer. Many, if not most agencies, have decided to not offer remote internships, but AE has taken on the challenge. I believe the question of how businesses responded to COVID-19 will be commonplace in the recruitment process. Companies like AE, who have continued to offer internships and commit themselves to give students and recent graduates opportunities to get professional experience, will set themselves apart from the competition.
An amazing summer with AE, of course! I am so excited to get to know and learn from everyone at AE! After that, I will be finishing my senior year at SMU, and looking for full-time employment in the exciting world of advertising. I am leaning towards staying in Dallas, but perhaps New York or LA will whisk me away like so many other young advertising professionals. At the end of the day, I want to work somewhere that allows me to learn and advance my skills and provide me with a supportive and motivating environment.