The following was written by Julia Kien, a public relations student and a participant of the Silicon Valley trip.
AdPR students kicked off 2019 by visiting several leading technology companies in Silicon Valley to learn about their upcoming innovations and to network with industry professionals.
The third annual trip included stops at Twitter, Verizon Media’s Innovation Center, Facebook/Instagram, Adobe, Google and eBay. An alumni mixer in San Francisco also connected students to UGA graduates living around the Bay Area.
Suzy Deering, chief marketing officer at eBay and UGA alumna, and her team sponsored the trip and helped organized the three-day visit for Grady College students and faculty.
Students were treated to presentations about industry innovations and trends, followed by Q&A sessions with company employees. They were also given tours of each company’s campus. This year, the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning were addressed by professionals at each of the companies. Machine learning, a form of AI in which computer systems use data to learn and improve their performances on various tasks, as well as new communication technology that will be possible with 5G technology, were discussed.
“At its core, Facebook is a machine learning company,” said Adam Carmin, an eCommerce Industry Manager at Facebook.
Aprajita Jain, a brand marketing evangelist at Google, introduced students to Google’s culture of innovation, called “10x Thinking.” This culture is rooted in the belief that innovation happens when you challenge yourself to make something 10 times faster, better or cheaper. Dana Lam, a senior advertising major who was on the trip, said this discussion resonated with her.
“My favorite part of the trip was meeting with Google and learning about 10x Thinking,” Dana said. “I plan on using this mindset to guide me in my future projects.”
Students were also given advice on taking their next steps after graduation. eBay’s Suzy Deering urged students to step outside of their comfort zones in order to grow.
“Be willing to be uncomfortable. When you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to learn, grow and create some kind of contribution,” Deering said.
The Silicon Valley trip provided the opportunity for AdPR students to see how advertising, public relations and communications play vital roles in the technology industry.
“It was an exhausting three days, but I learned so much,” said Patricia Irizarry, a senior public relations major. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Dr. Karen King, professor of advertising and a Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media said, “This was an eye-opening trip for our students. It got them energized and showed them the opportunities for AdPR majors in technology companies. We are grateful to eBay and their partners for making this trip possible.”