Temple Students deliver "Postcards from Home"
By Alixandra Rutnik on Jun 29, 2021
One Club Member Kathy Mueller advises students on their Senior Class Showcase
Back when I was studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, I loved sending postcards stamped “Par Avion” to my friends and family back home in the States so they could get a visual of my travels– (besides Instagram, of course). But in the era of the 2020 pandemic, Temple University seniors stamped “from home" on their interactive postcards to give future employers an image of their personality and of their creative work.
One Club Member and Professor at Temple Kathy Mueller is the founder and advisor for the annual Senior Class Advertising and Public Relations Showcase. This year, six Temple students crafted “Postcards from Home” for their virtual Senior Showcase theme– a typical in-person-networking event for graduates that went online for the second year in a row.
The student team involved in the brilliant execution of “Postcards from Home” consists of Account Managers Natalie Chadwell and Austin Powers; Art Directors Lilian Broyles, Alexandra Cahanap, and William Lewis; and Copywriter Katelyn Kemmerle.
We talked to Professor Mueller and these ambitious grads about their semester-long project– Postcards from Home, which hey, by the way, is a perfect resource to find and hire new talent.
So Postcards from Home is a website that features all of the Senior Class Advertising and Public Relations Student graduates of 2021 at Temple… what sparked this idea?
Katelyn Kemmerle: When we started planning for this event, we knew we wanted the showcase to embody this unique point in time. Our classes, internships, and lives were moved into our own homes. We sat on the couch to watch "Tiger King," took long walks when the weather was nice enough, and set up a makeshift work-from-home area in the coziest corner of the house. Through much deliberation, we decided on the perfect theme to tie it all together — Postcards from Home.
Postcards capture those small, slice-of-life moments that connect us all. So, our goal for this year’s event was to give our students the opportunity to show off what they’ve been doing over the past year — new pets and plants, a favorite coffee mug, or a quarantine hobby.
William Lewis: It’s really kind of funny how we ended up on this theme. We had come up with five or so concepts, and admittedly this was the least baked of any of them. All of our ideas drew on the shared experience of being at home and stuck in a new normal that didn’t feel normal at all– but when we looked closer and went deeper into Postcards from Home, we found that it struck a chord that none of the other ideas did.
"All of our ideas drew on the shared experience of being at home and stuck in a new normal that didn’t feel normal at all– but when we looked closer and went deeper into Postcards from Home, we found that it struck a chord that none of the other ideas did."
Can we get some background info on Temple's Ad & P.R. Senior Showcase campaign?
Lilian Broyles: The Senior Showcase is an annual networking event organized by the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University, but this is not like other networking events. The idea of the Senior Showcase is that instead of the students seeking out employers, the employers approach the students – essentially a reverse job fair. Since the inaugural Senior Showcase in 2015, the department has taken great pride in the event and grown it to be one of the most anticipated held by the college. The professors provide an opportunity for all of the graduating students to showcase their amazing portfolios and personality to employers with potential post-grad job offers.
"The idea of the Senior Showcase is that instead of the students seeking out employers, the employers approach the students – essentially a reverse job fair."
Prior to the pandemic, the event was hosted in-person on campus at the end of the spring semester. For the 2020 and 2021 Senior Showcase, the program pivoted from an in-person event to the virtual space, through the development of a website that presents each student from the graduating class.
The behind the scenes video is really awesome and the website is great too! Seems like a lot of work… how long did it take you guys to put this all together?
Katelyn Kemmerle: This project took us the entire semester to pull together. From the early stages of conception to finding a clear inspiration and direction, and then making our ideas come to life, it was about a four-month process. Our video and GIF content was shot over a course of two days, and Alex is the wonderful creative mind behind that entire process. She produced, shot, and edited all of our video and GIF content!
William Lewis: This project took all semester, but it went by much faster than any of us anticipated. After we chose a concept and creative direction, we got into planning. We’re talking color palette, typography, photo styling, tone of voice, logistics, licensing, promotion, the list really goes on forever. Then we got to the execution– this involved on-site and studio photo and video shoots, and hours of video and photo editing, web design and development, data input, and making our promotional calendar. After everything was created and the website was ready to launch, it was like the past few months had gone by in a blink.
What are some key features of the Senior Class Showcase that future employers should know about?
Katelyn Kemmerle: The website houses just about everything an employer could need from an applicant: resumes, websites, social media platforms, and a small glimpse of someone’s personality. My favorite part about the site is that each postcard is unique. Each of the 2021 graduates really took their own spin on the prompt and made this year’s showcase shine.
"The website houses just about everything an employer could need from an applicant: resumes, websites, social media platforms, and a small glimpse of someone’s personality."
You can browse approximately 140 recent graduates by their concentration: account management, art direction, brand strategy & research, copywriting, media planning, and public relations. You can also meet the winners of our department awards.
Which “moments-from-home” are your favorite?
Alexandra Cahanap: The "moments from home" GIFs are meant to romanticize the activities with which we are all too familiar as a result of quarantine– playing endless board games, catching up on leisurely reading, learning TikTok dances, and baking bread. My personal favorite is the “Stonks for Dummies” GIF.
"The "moments from home" GIFs are meant to romanticize the activities with which we are all too familiar as a result of quarantine– playing endless board games, catching up on leisurely reading, learning TikTok dances, and baking bread."
Lilian Broyles: As Alex said, we’re trying to focus on the little things in life you learn to love and appreciate, which we all probably experienced while stuck at home in quarantine. We barely ever noticed the calming act of making coffee or the simple happiness we get from watering our plants when our lives are constantly on the move and focusing on a million different things.
Instead of mulling over the stress of living during a pandemic, we want to shine light onto the leisurely fun times we’ve had. All the GIFs are absolutely gorgeous! It’s so hard to choose any over the others, but my top three are the charcuterie board (I hilariously, vehemently pushed for the pomegranate seeds to be incorporated on it), the pink retro phone, and the ticking time clock GIFs.
Katelyn Kemmerle: The moments from home are also really relatable and grounding for both the featured students and potential employers. Everyone has lived through this unique moment in time together and participated in all of these fun trends and hobbies. My personal favorite GIF is the typewriter that says “Hire me please.” Every time I watch it, I feel like I can hear the “ding” of the typewriter moving to the next line.
William Lewis: It’s so hard to choose a favorite, especially since these moments were pulled from our own experiences during the pandemic and it’s really special to show that in a way that's creative and elevated. If I had to choose though, I’d pick the charcuterie board (so much fun to make and even more fun to eat), the sequence of baking and slicing banana bread (also very yummy), and of course, the “Stonks for Dummies” GIF, because we couldn’t resist memeing at least one.
What was the most rewarding and the most challenging part of this project?
Alexandra Cahanap: The most rewarding part of this project was seeing the content gel together– the graphics interacting with the site, the colors taking shape in the GIFs, the student-submitted photographs displayed on the pages.
On the other hand, the most challenging part was definitely working remotely on a team that so clearly enjoyed one another’s company. I think we can all relate to that on some level.
Katelyn Kemmerle: From the beginning, I think we all had a really clear idea of how we wanted to see the “Postcards from Home” theme play out. It was so rewarding to watch it all come together piece by piece and to see our hard work pay off in the end. I definitely agree with Alex — the hardest part was working remotely, especially after seeing how well we worked together throughout the whole process. Being a part of a team that is passionate about the project we’re doing was incredibly rewarding.
William Lewis: I think the most rewarding part of this entire project, on top of creating stellar work that we’re all incredibly proud of, was getting to work with a passionate, talented, and dedicated team of students and faculty. We didn’t all know each other coming in– and we all know that group projects are the bane of college student’s existences– but this was the dream team.
As for the most challenging part of this project, I have to agree with everyone else — collaborating virtually on a project like this was not ideal, but I think we made it work and took it in stride.
Any post grad plans?
Alexandra Cahanap: Now that the world is opening up, I am taking the summer off of school and work and road-tripping the U.S. for three months.
Katelyn Kemmerle: I am lucky enough to have been offered a full-time position at Great Big Digital, a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia, as a Communications Specialist. I’m excited to get a head start on my career this summer, and hopefully make it down to the beach a few times.
William Lewis: I’m really excited to have graduated! It’s a little bit weird to not have something that I need to do every waking moment of the day now, but I’m sure I can get used to that for now. I did the most that I could with my time at Temple and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I’m taking some time off in the summer, and then I’ll start working full-time at a healthcare marketing agency as a graphic designer.
Kathy, what was your role in advising this team’s Ad & P.R. Senior Showcase campaign?
Kathy Mueller: I founded the showcase in 2015 and have served on-and-off as the creative advisor, in the years since. It takes a village—my colleagues provide other aspects of advising and support. An alumna from the last year’s team was a very generous consultant during website development. It goes to show how much our students, alumni, and faculty care.
"I founded the showcase in 2015 and have served on-and-off as the creative advisor, in the years since."
I met with this team twice per week on average. I sincerely cherish the time I had interacting with them and all of the teams that have come before them.
In this role, I get to know students on a level that is simply impossible in class. We collaborated virtually, but surprisingly that didn’t seem to impede connection. I watched this team bond with one another. Team members consoled each other in the face of personal loss and celebrated the joyful moments. They championed each other’s ideas and laughed together. It was beautiful.
What are your thoughts on what these students have created? Any words of send-off?
Kathy Mueller: I am over the moon with what these students have created. We asked them to capture the unique moment we are all living and working through, and they just nailed it. The campaign honors the optimism and energy of our graduating seniors in the most delightful way.
To these extraordinary young professionals, I’d like to say, “Thank you for your dedication to excellence. I am so proud to be affiliated with each of you and the work you have done. Congratulations on graduation!”
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The "Postcards from Home" Team
Copywriter Katelyn Kemmerle
Art Director William Lewis
Art Director Lilian Broyles
Art Director Alexandra Cahanap
Account Manager Austin Powers
Account Manager Natalie Chadwell