Four BYU-Idaho students struck gold at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation Gem Awards on March 11.

Brian Spurlock, Chandler Miller, Ian Young and Caitlyn McKell won the student awards for their advertising projects, according to the IFAF website.

Ian Young, a senior studying communication, was partnered with Chandler Miller, a senior studying communication.

“We did a direct-mail piece that was advertising a specific advertising agency in Boise,” Miller said. “The advert would have been a B2B piece to get new business for the ad agency.”

Young said he created the visual aspect of the ad and Miller wrote the words.

Young and Miller won the Star Garnet Award in the category of Direct Marketing.

“I was really happy to win the award,” Young said. “It has been perfect with the timing because I am applying for jobs, and it’s a professional résumé piece that I can now talk about.”

Brian Spurlock, a senior studying communication, won the Diamond Award for his internet commercial, “Unwind with Bose.”

“It feels amazing to get some validation from industry professionals,” Spurlock said. “It makes you feel like all the time you put into a project and learning here at school is really worth something more than the piece of paper at graduation.”

Caitlyn McKell, a senior studying communication, won the Opal Award for her newspaper ad for the bridal shop, The Glass Slipper.

“I originally took the photo of the ad as part of my senior project, and I figure, why not?” McKell said. “I just wanted to create the ad and see where it went from there.”

Beth Hendricks is a communication department faculty member and teaches the four winning students in COMM 430, the capstone advertising class.

“The whole industry is based around competitions, and so I try to get them going before they graduate because that is really great résumé builders,” Hendricks said. “As I go out and talk to professional advertisers, they say ‘Your students need to enter competitions,’ so I make them do three in my class.”

Young said this win will help him have an edge while applying for jobs.

“We were told by one of the presenters at the award ceremony that the fact that we entered this competition sets us apart from others looking for jobs in our industry, especially those applying for entry level positions,” Young said.

Young said he is currently applying for positions and hopes to end up in his home area of Los Angeles when he graduates in April.

Spurlock said he is planning on putting his award on his résumé and LinkedIn profile in hopes of having a better chance of getting hired.

“Sister Hendricks teaches us all about submitting ads to competitions in hopes of placing high enough that you’d want it on your résumé,” he said. “Awards are a big deal in the advertising industry.”

McKell said being recognized for her work felt great and gives her résumé credibility.

“My dream career would be a copywriter or content writer, but ultimately, I would love to work for Disney,” she said.

Miller said he has already looked for internships in the Dallas area, and he hopes to do analytics for companies there.

“It is pretty nice to put on my résumé, and while it’s nothing too spectacular, it’s very eye catching for some people,” he said.

Hendricks said all four students’ work has been submitted to the state level of competition in Boise. If the students win in Boise, their work will continue to be submitted to larger competitions until it reaches nationals, which are held in the District of Columbia.