When Kalyn Des Jardins began her journey as an advertising major in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, her focus centered on learning the tenets of creating winning advertising campaigns. The art and science of crafting and delivering a message to a specific audience fascinated her and spoke to her desire to connect with people.
However, in her second year at Syracuse University, unanticipated advice from a professor inspired her to lay the groundwork for a congruent academic path. Following that advice, Des Jardins is now working on completing her dual degrees, in anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and advertising in Newhouse this December.
We caught up with the Chicago area native to hear her thoughts on why these two areas of study work together so well for her, and what sage advice she would pass along to the next generation of Syracuse University students.
01What made you decide to purse a dual degree? What attracted you to each area of academic study?
Both degrees center around understanding people. I was initially attracted to advertising after I took my first course in the subject. The professor ended the lecture by expressing that “to be truly influential in the advertising industry, you must strive to become a diverse individual.” He recommended taking courses that interested us; whether we thought they would benefit our futures or not–just keep learning. I thought, “A career that benefited by my learning about anything I wanted? Count me in!” Following that advice, I discovered anthropology. It was a course of study unknown to me prior to my time at Syracuse, however, now it has become a major passion. Anthropology is the study of humans, but more than that, it is a source of hope. It is about understanding others and yourself from a comparative, non-binary perspective. I strongly support that an anthropological perspective creates deeper understanding and compassion among people with differences in beliefs and backgrounds. My anthropology degree is important to my career, but also my own personal understanding of myself and my surroundings.
02This past summer you had an interesting experience working in New York City. Tell us about your internship with the Historic House Trust.
My internship with the Historic House Trust is one I will be forever grateful for. I discovered the chance to become a Development Intern with Historic House Trust (HHT) after researching non-profits in the New York City area. HHT helps to raise funds to support houses with architectural and cultural significance in NYC. I worked with the development manager to conduct grant research, as well as edited and created social media content. I also had the opportunity to help create new ways to inspire people within the city to visit these amazing homes. This internship combined my love of preserving culturally significant landscapes with my desire to better understand how to target specific audiences. I learned not only how to work efficiently in an office environment but also how a non-profit organization works from the top down.
03Was there a specific faculty member(s) that made an impact your academic career during your time at Syracuse University?
So far, every professor I have studied with has impacted me positively and I am so grateful. Two have really stood out. The first was my Oceanography (EAR 117) professor, Daniel Curewitz. In his first lecture of the semester, he asked the class of roughly 180 students “Who plans on becoming an oceanographer when they grow up?”. No one raised their hand. He then said something that both inspired and solidified my academic philosophy. “We attend college to learn how to learn”. By taking diverse subjects from oceanography to folklore, students can create completely new ideas to impact the world.
Beth Egan, a professor of advertising, also made a massive impact on my academic career. I enjoyed my advertising courses previous to hers; but there was no proof, no data behind the creative ideas in other classes. In media planning, the “why” of human behavior must be discovered and used accordingly. Through her course I gained confidence in both my abilities and plans for the future.
04What are your internship plans for this summer?
I am currently applying to advertising internships for this summer. I plan on practicing my advertising skills after taking Beth Egan’s (ADV 307) which ignited a passion for media planning. I am most excited to put what I have learned to the test and to be directly inspired by professionals in the industry.
05What advice would you give an incoming SU student about dual degrees?
I would advise any incoming student interested in earning a dual degree to keep their heart and mind open to all the possibilities. After I chose my first degree, advertising, it seemed logical to obtain my other degree in Whitman in marketing or finance. However, by choosing to study anthropology, I feel not only prepared for my career but a more diverse individual with a unique understanding of the world.
About Syracuse University
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private international research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through teaching excellence, rigorous scholarship and interdisciplinary research. Comprising 11 academic schools and colleges, the University has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines that prepares students for the complex challenges and emerging opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Students enjoy the resources of a 270-acre main campus and extended campus venues in major national metropolitan hubs and across three continents. Syracuse’s student body is among the most diverse for an institution of its kind across multiple dimensions, and students typically represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Syracuse also has a long legacy of supporting veterans and is home to the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first university-based institute in the U.S. focused on addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.