Public Service Student Mentorship Program

Everything you need to know to get involved.

In partnership with the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Dubuque—the local club for marketing, advertising, and commercial arts professionals—McCullough Creative is offering a student mentorship opportunity. Interviews are October 18, at 6 pm at McCullough Creative!


Every year, AAF Dubuque works with a local nonprofit to help with its marketing needs. This year, the most qualified students will apply to open positions and mentor under local professionals to help complete that work.


As a student, you’ll gain invaluable real-world experience by:

  • Practicing selling your skills and experience while applying for a job
  • Working directly with professionals who perform this type of work on a daily basis
  • Seeing a project from start to finish
  • Potentially coordinating with related industry organizations (i.e. printers, advertising outlets, etc.)
  • Gaining exposure to professionals in the industry
  • Potentially earning internship credits
  • Building your resume and portfolio with industry experience
  • Helping make a real difference in our community


Internship Credits

While it’s an unpaid engagement (it’s public service after all), you’re in luck when it comes to internship credits. We’ve been working with the local schools, and if your program requires internship credits for graduation, there’s a high likelihood we can help you get those checked off your list.


About the Nonprofit

This year’s public service project will benefit The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. The challenge they face is increasing appeal with people ages 20–35 to increase event bookings and membership.

Do you have the skills to be part of the solution?


Landing the Position

Based on the nonprofit’s needs, the below mentorship positions have been created. Read each description, decide which is the best fit for you, and craft a compelling cover letter and resume with up to six related samples.

Once you have your materials perfected, bring them to our Interview Day (more information below) and be prepared to persuade us you’re right for the job.


Account/Project Manager (x2)
Do your core skills consist of being organized, setting a plan, communicating, and getting sh*t done? Strong account and project managers are personable, diplomatic, able to see the bigger picture, get their team excited about the work, and ultimately achieve results for clients. In this role, you will be the point of contact between the client and the creative team and ensure all deadlines are hit—you are to know everything about the project at all times. Everyone’s on an even playing field, but you’re pretty much in charge of holding people accountable and making sure everything is happening as it’s supposed to. You will likely coordinate any required correspondence with outside vendors, such as printers or media outlets.


Creative Director
Creative directors are often the magic makers—they have the uncanny ability to take all the same information everyone else has regarding a challenge, and whip together a remarkable solution. They’re also leaders, setting the pace for the rest of the creative team and ensuring the solutions presented are on brand and on target for the client. Depending on the skill set of the final student group and total collateral required, the CD will likely help define the solution and then delegate the remaining work—staying involved to oversee progress, perform quality control, and help however needed.


Copywriter/Content Developer
Where my word surgeons at?? Depending on the project, copywriters may set the creative direction with their writing, or fill in where designers need help with the artistry of articulation. Either way, a strong copywriter is a fast learner capable of a vast range of tones, styles, and lengths based on the audience and medium. Most important to remember is being concise. Authors write for people who want to read. Copywriters have the unique challenge of writing for people who don’t want to read—so be engaging and get to the point!


Designer (x2)
Gotta be a wiz with the editing wands! We’re looking for two meticulous designers who are equally comfortable forging creative direction as they are at adopting established designs and implementing them across a wide range of media. That could be via something as simple as a post card, all the way to an in-depth multimedia experience. Haven’t done that yet? That’s alright—be fearless! Dare to boldly go where no designer has gone before.


Public Relations/Marketing/Social Media Strategist
How are we getting the word out? People need to know! And your job will be making sure they do. A comprehensive understanding of modern media and ways to best leverage every option are required for this position. The person selected will help devise messaging strategies and work with the related outlets/platforms to ensure the target audience is in the know. Bonus points to those who can create the content for each (i.e. press releases, social posts, Snap stories, etc.).


As it turns out, people prefer looking at pretty things over reading. This is where YOU come in! We need some sure-shot students who are just as capable at building a frame as they are at editing the final piece. You’ll need to provide your own equipment and software (ideally your school has everything you need); we’ll provide creative and production oversight.


No actual position open—but if you think you have a mix of the skill sets above, there’s the potential for bonus points. Or, if you feel like you have abilities that will help achieve the client’s goals, tell us about it! How can you apply your knowledge and experience to make an impact for the group?



OCTOBER 18: Interview Day at MC

MID/LATE OCTOBER: Introductory meeting with student and mentorship team

LATE OCTOBER: Discovery meeting with client

AS NEEDED: Intermittent meetings to produce and review work

APRIL/MAY 2019: Estimated project completion                                                           



This program isn’t right for everyone. Students who will excel are natural high achievers eager to go the extra mile. They’re team players excited to roll up their sleeves. We know you’re busy with classes, work, and extracurricular activities, but we expect everyone to make this a priority. All participants will be:

  • Engaged
  • Enthusiastic
  • Helpful
  • Prompt
  • Organized
  • Communicative
  • Fun
  • Productive
  • Original
  • Innovative


Most importantly, participants will genuinely care. They’ll care about the success of their team, the client, and making a difference in our community.


Interview Day

Thursday, October 18 @ 6 pm

Here’s your chance to meet your potential mentor and convince them you’re right for the job. Creative Director applicants will interview with our Creative Director. Designer applicants will interview with our Senior Designers. Copywriter applicants will interview with a Copywriter. You’re sharp—you get the picture.


On Thursday, October 18, everyone will show up to our office by 6 pm. Each applicant will get 5–10 minutes with their potential mentor depending on how many students participate. Please note, you may only interview for ONE position.


Now shine those shoes—we’ll see ya soon!