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UK'S SHANEKA EDWARDS RANKS
AMONG FOUNDATION'S 25 MOST PROMISING
AFRICAN-AMERICAN ADVERTISING PROSPECTS

By Dan Adkins

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Edwards has flown to New York City for two days of meetings with recruiters and executives from leading advertising agencies, advertisers and media companies for interviews, coaching and guidance.

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Feb. 28, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Shaneka Edwards of Lexington, a senior in the University of Kentucky’s advertising program, has been selected by the American Advertising Federation Foundation (AAF) as one of the 25 most promising minority students who will soon enter the job market.

Edwards, 22, has flown to New York City for two days of meetings with recruiters and executives from leading advertising agencies, advertisers and media companies for interviews, coaching and guidance.  She and 24 other minority students represent colleges and universities in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The program was launched five years ago to assist the advertising industry in building diversity within its workforce.

“After five years and as our honorees progress, we know this program has enhanced the multicultural perspective in the industry of advertising.   Corporate America is demanding ways to tap into a culturally diverse marketplace.  These students offer companies rich talent and the promise of even better advertising,” said federation President and CEO Wally Snyder.

Edwards and her fellow awardees are featured in a special section of the Feb. 19, 2001, issue of Advertising Age magazine, which co-sponsors the “Most Promising Minority Students Program” with the federation.

The daughter of Marvin and Ruth Slaughter, Edwards said she has always had an interest in advertising.  “When I was 3 years old, I’d get on the coffee table and sing commercials,” she recalled.

However, for a time her interests included pharmacy, and she initially considered UK’s pre-pharmacy program.  “Too much chemistry” as a pharmacy pre-requisite prompted her to move toward UK’s integrated strategic communication program, which houses an advertising component.

In UK’s advertising program, Edwards has flourished.

“It allows me to be creative.  It mixes business with being creative.  I like thinking of things most people wouldn’t think of and executing those things,” she said.

UK advertising Professor Rick Roth approached her last fall about applying for the AAF Foundation’s program.

“Shaneka has strong leadership qualities, and she recognizes that marketing is a team sport.  She can lead, but she can also fit into a group,” Roth said.

“She’s going to be successful.  She’s got the determination to be successful,” he added.

Edwards is the second UK student to be recognized by the AAF Foundation program.  In 1997, Nefertiti Jenkins of Lexington was named one of the nation’s 25 most promising minority students.

Both Edwards and Jenkins are graduates of Bryan Station High School in Lexington.


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