Competition Places UH Ad Students Among Nation’s Best

This summer, ad students from the University of Houston's Jack J. Valenti School of Communication will take their place among the top advertising programs in the country.

A recent victory at the highly-competitive National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) District 10 earned these students an opportunity to become national champions on June 10 - 11 in Orlando, Florida. They will compete against 17 of the country's top teams.

For the district competition  in Amarillo, Texas, UH's ad team Cougar Concepts developed a 32-page plan book and 20 minute presentation focused on an advertising campaign for State Farm. Cougar Concepts earned first place and best media plan. At this competition, senior advertising major Seth Johnson also was named best presenter, and junior advertising major Cheng-En Lee received a $1,500 scholarship from the American Advertising Federation.

 "Going into this competition, we felt like we were representing both UH and Houston" Johnson said. "We went up against some pretty reputable advertising programs. It was a big learning experience and a rewarding one as well."

Among the competitors UH faced during the district competition were powerhouse advertising programs such as Texas Tech University and the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M.

Serving as mentors and advisors for the team were UH advertising instructors Larry Kelley and Rosario Laudicina.

 "We reached for the stars and got one," Kelley said. "We always tell students to reach for the stars. In this case, we snagged one. The win really says something about the strength of the Valenti School program and the support we have from every area of the school."

The NSAC district win is UH's first since 1994. That year, UH went on to win the national title.

The recent victory also was dedicated to UH advertising professor and veteran Houston ad man Bob Culpepper, who took a leave of absence following a recent illness.

"He used to say that the devil was in the details," said senior advertising major Maria Prachyl. "Since he can't be with us right now, we're applying as much of his insight as possible."

The Valenti School's noted undergraduate advertising program prepares students for careers through intensive coursework focusing on research, copywriting, campaigns, graphic design and theory. Faculty includes experienced ad pros and academicians who help students develop their talents and prepare for professional careers.

"As a fellow Cougar and as someone involved and invested in education and the furthering of our craft, I am so proud of this team," said Alex Lopez Negrete, UH advertising alumnus and founder of Lopez Negrete Communications. "Today's marketing landscape is complicated, fluid, and the consumer has taken control. This recent competition reflects the training and mentorship provided by the university and its faculty."

In addition to its advertising program, the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication offers bachelor's concentrations focused on public relations, journalism, corporate communication, health communication, media studies, media production and interpersonal communication. Master's concentrations are in public relations studies, speech communication and mass communication studies.

Among the school's esteemed alumni are CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, former White House press secretary Peter Roussel, former ABC News reporter Tom Jarriel, filmmaker Walter Coblenz, sports journalist and author Mickey Herskowitz, Houston Rockets broadcaster Bill Worrell and Houston KPRC-TV Channel 2 anchor Dominique Sachse. To learn more about the school, visit

For additional details on Cougar Concepts and its upcoming trip to the NSAC in June, contact Kelley at