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Gaylord’s Hidden Gem

Gaylord Extra: September Edition

Gaylord’s Hidden Gem

By Luke Hackett, Gaylord College Class of FA 2024

One of the institutions that has defined the Gaylord experience for many students is the college’s very own, student-led advertising and public relations agency, Lindsey + Asp.  

Founded in 2009, the firm specializes in youth culture, connecting brands with Gen Z audiences, which gives students the opportunity to learn how real agencies work before leaving the four walls of Gaylord. Lindsey + Asp’s Executive Director and Faculty Advisor, Armand McCoy, put it more gracefully:    

“It's learning by doing. By having students engage in hands-on experiences and reflection, they are better able to connect knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations.”   

For those interested in joining Lindsey + Asp, members are typically sophomores, juniors and seniors, but even freshmen in their second semester can apply. Although, at the end of the day, McCoy wants members that “are passionate and interested in strategic communication, stay up to date with it and have opinions and unique insights relating to it.”    

If this criteria fits, students should apply to join Lindsey + Asp in either late April or November of each year. After applications are carefully reviewed, chosen students will go through an interview and hopefully be selected to participate in Lindsey + Asp during the following semester.    

After the semester begins, students are divided into account teams that resemble those of actual agencies. These teams include roles such as account leads, digital leads, researcher leads and creative leads.    

Account leads serve as the liaison between clients and Lindsey + Asp, which entails pitching to clients or overseeing the implementation of strategy. Digital leads handle everything digital for a client, whether that be managing their socials, websites or newsletters.    

Researchers also play an essential role in Lindsey + Asp, as every major communication effort is based on research. Finally, creatives can be copywriters, photographers, videographers or graphic designers who create the deliverables for clients.    

 And as college students become more advanced year-over-year, the skills that Lindsey + Asp develops within students are more valuable than ever as employers' expectations are higher than ever. In fact, one U.S. Gallup Poll concluded that only 11% of business leaders believed college graduates had the skills and competencies that their businesses needed.    

Another survey, conducted by the Hechinger Report in 2021, found that employers rated the ability to work in teams as the most important skill for college graduates, but these same employers felt that only 48% of college graduates were very well prepared to do so.    

This phenomenon of students completing rigorous university programs but still lacking skills that employers want can mostly be attributed to the lack of experiential learning happening across American universities. However, Lindsey + Asp, with support from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has set the curve for what employers should expect.   

One reason that students in this program are so successful is because they do not develop these skills in a vacuum. Lindsey + Asp members have and do real work for real clients that range from Spotify to Carnival and even the U.S Navy.    

It is these clients that make the Lindsey + Asp experience so valuable for students, as the expectation for real results requires students to develop skills that allow them to succeed in the workforce. McCoy watches this happen every semester, as students develop the ability to adapt and communicate as a team, which eventually leads to the development of a product that satisfies each client’s needs and the final evolution of students that are more than ready to enter the workforce. 

Armand McCoy.

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