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Advertising Grad Madison Hill on “Finding Belonging by Embracing What Makes Me Different”

Madison Hill will graduate in April 2022 with a BA in communications

Madison Hill

Madison Hill will graduate in April 2022 with a BA in communications

Why do you create/participate in communications?

I was drawn to communications (and specifically advertising) because of the opportunity that it gave me to share the human experience in a creative way. As I have learned more about the different backgrounds and perspectives that people have, it has pushed me to create work that tells these stories and connects people to one another. People within the field of communications have the ability to create more awareness of what is happening in the world, and I wanted to be a part of that. It is so fulfilling to see your vision and something that you believe in come to life in a way that can completely change people's perspectives. I also love the people that I work with—
that has been one of the highlights of studying communications for me. Working with people that have similar ways of thinking and creating has enabled me to develop my own creative voice, and improve the way that I work.

What inspires you?

I am continually amazed and inspired by my parents. As my dad has battled MS for the majority of my life, my parents have not only worked hard to help my dad with his health, but they have also prioritized encouraging me and my siblings to always look for ways to serve other people. Their dedication, consistency and patience have inspired me to become a better leader and to be passionate about the things that I am working on.

How have you found belonging during your time at BYU?

I found belonging in a way that has surprised me. I have found belonging by embracing what makes me different, which can seem counterintuitive. As I have embraced my experiences, my background, my opinions and my unique role within my family, it has allowed me to see that BYU is a mosaic of different points of view. Knowing this has made all the difference, and led me to make some of my greatest friends and work with incredible mentors. I have gained a deeper sense of empathy during my time at BYU, and learned that we are all more alike than we think.

What’s your go-to study snack?

Easy, microwave popcorn. Truly one of the best go-to snacks. Unless you burn it, but that's on you!

What was your favorite project you worked on as a student?

One of my favorite projects that I worked on as a student was a spec commercial that we made for Carhartt called "The Hands That Feed You." It follows the living conditions of an immigrant farmer and his role in helping America to thrive—even if it isn't recognized by the majority of people. Being able to help with the production of such a real and powerful project was an incredible experience. Every little detail was thought out, from the photographs on the walls, to the food they were eating, to the clothes on their backs. Many different people brought their perspectives to the table in order to give this project depth, and this taught me so much about the power of creating work that reflects reality and represents those that seem to go unnoticed.

Who is your favorite artist and why?

I can't choose just one! Morgan Harper Nichols is one of my favorites. Her ability to pair visuals with words is stunning, and at the same time she manages to uplift people in a calming way—definitely something I love to see when I feel like my schedule is so hectic! I also love the work done by Jorge Cocco Santángelo. I love his approach to portraying distinct moments in the gospel, and his unique style leaves room for you as the viewer to make the art personal for you and your testimony.

What are your aspirations/goals for the future?

For the past couple of years, I have been working hard towards getting a job at an advertising agency. It has been surreal to accept an offer with an agency in Chicago after graduation, and I am eager to see how the creative process works for international campaigns. I also aspire to continue to highlight the importance of diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in the media, and more specifically in the world of advertising. The more progress that we make in that regard, the more work will be created that resonates with people of all backgrounds. With that said, one of the most important goals for me is to create a strong family and to teach them new ways to understand the people around them. Enabling my kids to be media literate as they are growing up in unpredictable times is essential, and I hope to inspire them to do great things.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.