This year, Nara Shin was awarded the Diversity in Advertising Scholarship from Innovia Foundation, a $5,000 award given to a college student of color studying advertising, marketing, design or computer science.
When asked about the purpose of the scholarship, fund co-founder and partner at 14Four Jeff Oswalt said, “We knew we could do better, we wanted to make an impact that would hopefully last well beyond the next few years. What better way to do that than invest in diversity in our industry.”
Nara is a senior at Whitworth University, pursuing a dual degree in communications and sociology. She moved to the United States from South Korea to earn her degree and has developed a passion for helping other international students adjust to life in the US and succeed in college.
Nara started her higher education journey at the University of Georgia but decided to transfer to Whitworth in 2020 to attend a more accepting, non-discriminatory Christian insitution. At Whitworth, an upper-division international student serving as a Cultural Diversity Advocate (CDA) helped Nara adjust to the new environment by introducing her to the school and the city of Spokane. This experience inspired Nara to become a CDA herself. Through this program, she and other international students bring awareness to the diversity on campus. They host a pre-orientation for international students and many multicultural events throughout the year, including celebrations of Diwali, Chinese Lunar New Year and Ramadan. She loves the program because it allows her to be connected to Whitworth’s international student community and learn about many different cultures.
She likes attending Whitworth due to the support that comes from the small campus and student-to-faculty ratio. After experiencing the anonymity of a larger state school, Nara appreciates the small communications classes at Whitworth where everyone is encouraged to participate. “I was introverted, but at Whitworth, I gained more confidence to speak up,” she said. Her role as a CDA allows her to help other international students feel comfortable and confident.
Nara has enjoyed great success both in the classroom and in the workforce. Since February, she has worked as a Communication Intern at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest at their office in downtown Spokane. This experience has allowed Nara to learn many social media and marketing skills and has inspired her interest in continuing public relations work after graduation.
With a passion for helping others, Nara is strongly considering earning a master’s degree in social work after graduation. She believes it is important that all people, especially immigrants and the disabled, have a voice.
“I want to learn how to share comfort, happiness and joy with people who are in desperate, hopeless circumstances and advocate for their right to free speech,” she shared.
After three years of hard work in college, Nara is excited to graduate this spring and start her next chapter, whatever it may be.
Innovia awards over $300,000 in scholarships annually to deserving students who are college-bound or pursuing vocational or technical training. Click here to learn more about available scholarships.