Nate Walinder

Get to know some of our College of Media students! Nate Walinder is a Class of 2022 (Winter) advertising major.  

What is one Media class you felt was most valuable for your major and why?
I strongly recommend both ADV 305: Advertising Technology and the Digital World, and ADV 490: Advanced Special Topics in Advertising. Both classes are great and equip students with specific skills that relate to the digital advertising industry. Additionally, in terms of the core curriculum, ADV 498: The Sandage Project was a great way to apply all the skills I developed from my classes and helped me develop a stronger set of communication skills. These classes taught me about different programs, platforms, and companies that we as advertisers need to know about. More specifically you get to learn about programs like Salesforce, Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, and how they all work. I think that as students who are about to enter the workforce, understanding how those tools work together is essential for advertising majors. 

What drew you towards joining AAF, and why would you recommend others join?
AAF (American Advertising Federation at Illinois) was one of the very first RSOs I was introduced to during Mediapalooza my freshman year. Seeing how interesting and dynamic the RSO was motivated me to want to get involved right away. My freshman year I was in RSVP and Midnight Oil, and during my sophomore year I ran the RSVP agency. Finally, both junior and senior year I’ve been president of AAF. I always tell people that being in advertising versus being in advertising and AAF is a big distinction. Being in AAF gives you a lot of opportunities and opens doors for students to not only practice what they learn in class by working with real clients, but it also allows students to network with amazing people. People in AAF gain real-world experience and additional skills that will later help translate those professional experiences into a summer internship and eventually land a full-time job. A lot of the things we learn in class can be very abstract, so being able to visualize them in the real world through AAF is a great opportunity. 

What advice would you give to an undergraduate student within the College of Media majoring in advertising?
I know it’s cliché but get as involved as possible! Four years are going to go by fast, and you’re going to realize that what you’re doing as a freshman and sophomore is going to make a big difference when you’re trying to get an internship junior year or trying to show your experience for a full-time job senior year. Companies want to see your experience and want to know that you have communication skills and know how to work in teams. Additionally, start advocating for yourself early on by creating a LinkedIn profile as soon as possible! Building connections will be very important and will help you land those internships!  Lastly, everything is very data-focused now so I think everyone should consider taking classes like ADV 200: Data Literacy, or even explore classes in Informatics or Business Data & Innovation. As everything continues to shift into digital spaces, these additional classes could help you become a more well-rounded person. Even if you are a creative-focused advertiser, there will be an element of creativity within data, whether that is data visualization or understanding how to place a digital campaign somewhere. There will always be an aspect where you analyze metrics or look at data. So don’t be afraid to expand your skill set outside of your comfort! 

—Interview by Emilia Mancero, New Voices Intern

Nate Walinder