18 January 2024 NYC Communications Experience

Over winter break, students made connections at advertising, marketing, public relations and media firms in New York City.

The NYC Communications Experience, one of Hobart and William Smith’s signature “Career Treks,” gave students the opportunity to maximize their winter break by exploring careers in advertising, marketing, public relations and media. The trek is coordinated by the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education. 

“We are thrilled to offer the NYC Communications Experience. The HWS Alum Network is embedded in really innovative and exciting firms throughout the city and we are so fortunate that so many alumni were willing to share valuable insights with our students,” says Senior Associate Director Shayne Feinberg P’17, P’20, who led the program. “Students with a broad range of interests joined the opportunity, exploring everything from social media to user experience design.”

Students were also joined by Associate Professor of Media and Society Lisa Patti. 

Career Trek

Students joined Screenvision Media Chief Executive Officer John G. Partilla III P’25, who shared insights from his 30-year career spanning across the digital, media and advertising sector. Partilla is a member of the Parents Executive Committee. 

At Merkley + Partners, where the company's chief executive officer is Alexander G. Gellert '86, students connected with Shayna Riggins ’22, who serves as an assistant account executive with Mercedes-Benz. Riggins was joined by members of the advertising firm’s employee programs team. As a student at HWS, Riggins participated in the NYC Communications Experience in 2021 and made her first connection with Merkley + Partners.

Students met two alumni who are making an impact at Peacock, including Amber Williams ’17, brand planning specialist at Peacock TV, and Tanner Poison ’19, manager of creative partnerships for the Peacock & scripted series team at NBCUniversal.

After visiting the global advertising agency Group M-Wavemaker, coordinated by media manager Liza Kiernan '20, students joined global integrated marketing communications executive Jackie Cox Battles ’05 at Weber Shandwick. At the firm, Cox Battles is the New York consumer brand practice lead, North America consumer brand. For the students' visit, she coordinated a panel with Weber Shandwick employees who recently developed ads for the 2024 SuperBowl LVIII.

As a psychology major, Conrad Palmer ’24 says the opportunity helped him identify how his academic background could be an asset in marketing and communications fields, opening new career pathways. “I enjoyed meeting successful alums and professionals in the field,” he says. “They gave me something to look forward to and opened my eyes to a field that has so much to offer. It was a great experience.”

Isabella Daniels ’27 says she is grateful for the chance to jumpstart her career journey. “As a first-year, the trip was an especially enriching and meaningful experience because it gave me the opportunity to gain early insights into the industry, understand various career paths, and build a foundation for my future professional network,” she says.