SIU Carbondale advertising student earns prestigious internship

Mea Roedell is the third SIU student to be selected for the highly competitive Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship Program. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

She might have started her journey into advertising shy and without much experience, but Southern Illinois University Carbondale journalism major Mea Roedell is quickly advancing in her burgeoning career.

Roedell, a junior from Germantown Hills, Illinois, was selected to participate in the 2024 Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Student Internship Program. She will join 21 other selected college students this summer in a 10-week internship program with various media organizations, advertising agencies, or client and supplier companies in the United States. Roedell is just the third SIU student chosen for the internship, which dates to 1989.

“This is an amazing opportunity that I am beyond blessed to be chosen for,” said Roedell, who graduated from Metamora Township High School.

She credits Bridget Lescelius, an associate lecturer in the College of Arts and Media’s School of Journalism and Advertising, for presenting her with the opportunity to apply. Lescelius is also faculty adviser for Saluki AdLab, a student-run advertising organization where Roedell is part of the leadership team. Roedell’s application included writing a product brand analysis and providing insight into whom she considered her heroes.

“It was a comprehensive process that showed not only my qualifications, but also reflected my experiences and aspirations,” Roedell said.

Great opportunity for students

Lescelius noted this is the second consecutive year an SIU Carbondale advertising student has been selected for the internship. Senior Monserrat Muñoz was a 2023 selection; the first SIU selection was in 1999. The internship program will pair Roedell with a mentor who will help her apply to different opportunities, Lescelius said.

“Advertising students need professional experience and a solid portfolio if they want to start a career in advertising,” Lescelius said. “This internship gives them that experience and connections needed to land a job – and not just a job, a career that if fulfilling both professionally and financially.”

‘Everything clicked’ with advertising

Roedell said she always knew she wanted to have a career in the business world, and after initially considering fashion design and marketing, her adviser suggested majoring in journalism with a specialization in advertising. Roedell took a few advertising classes “and instantly fell in love with it.”

“In those classes I met amazing people who recommended I join AdLab,” she said. “I reached out to Bridget Lescelius, and the following semester I joined the group and it felt like everything clicked for me.”

In addition, Roedell is a student worker on campus as a receptionist for the Career Development Center and Student Employment. That experience has also been valuable for Roedell, who helps students find on-campus jobs and for alumni, jobs after college.

“I absolutely love working there,” Roedell said. “Everyone there has helped me so much, especially in this internship process. They helped me look over my resume and cover letter and just being a second eye in doublechecking all my work. I greatly appreciate everything they continue to do for me.”

Supportive environment

Roedell credits the university’s “collaborative and supportive environment” from faculty, Lescelius, the Career Development Center and her adviser in being “instrumental in shaping my academic and professional journey.”

She decided to attend SIU Carbondale because of her dad, Matt, a 2005 alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“My dad has always been someone I look up to, so following in his footsteps to go here was very special to me and something I always wanted to do,” she said.

After she graduates in May 2025, Roedell hopes to work for an advertising agency or a company brand and be part of the creative team.

“Both directions would be a dream for me,” she said.

Program successes

Before returning to SIU Carbondale as a faculty member in 2017, Lescelius’ career included years as an advertising and marketing executive at various agencies. Lescelius said it’s amazing to watch students become enamored with advertising, too.

“Everything that is happening in our ad program right now is phenomenal — an upward trajectory,” she said. “Winning awards, our students receiving national recognition, traveling to New York City for agency conferences, the success of our recent alumni and their willingness to help and mentor our current students — it’s an embarrassment of riches, and a testament to our students who show up and work hard.”

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