Through a summer internship with the advertising firm Merkley + Partners, Rachel Meller ’21 dove deep into the advertising world while building a connection with its CEO Alexander G. Gellert ’86 and completing a three-week masterclass program.
The media and society and American studies double major says she learned from employees across Merkley + Partners’ strategic planning, social, media planning, account management and creative departments. The masterclass program culminated in the opportunity to deliver a new business pitch to the company’s executive leadership.
“Our goal for the pitch was to increase the awareness of Burt’s Bees products since most people only know them for their lip balms,” says Meller. “For the project I created the pitch deck, the media plan, some of the creative designs and moderated the presentation.”
Through the company’s mentorship program, Meller connected with Gellert, who hosted a session with the summer interns where he shared how his liberal arts education from HWS helped him get to where he is today in the creative business of advertising.
In addition to completing the three-week program, Meller “set up one-on-one meetings with people to learn more about their work, and to hone in on what interested me the most.” Through this experience, Meller discovered her passion for strategy and social within the advertising field.
Previously, Meller worked in the Student Activities office on campus and at the North Farm, a wedding venue in Geneva, where she created social media posts and plans, and learned more about the methodology that goes into running social accounts. She landed the internship through the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education and their FLX Internship program. She also credits her “Script to Screen” and “Cinematic Effects” courses with Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies Marilyn Jimenez with preparing her for these work opportunities.
This fall, Meller plans to continue her work in Student Activities. In addition, she’s looking forward to developing her skill set through her coursework, especially with her advisors in “Cultures of Advertising” with Assistant Professor of Media and Society Rebecca Burditt and “Storytelling with Data” with Associate Professor of American Studies Elizabeth Belanger.