Denver Ad School Announces Its Inaugural Student Class


By The Denver Egotist / /

With the first ever quarter at Denver Ad School officially underway, the school is pleased to formally announce its inaugural class of students —what they’re calling the Pioneer Class.

The Pioneer Class is an eclectic group of eight students with varying creative backgrounds from all corners of the country. Six art directors and two copywriters — seven of whom are women — were hand-picked to lead the way and set the mark for all future DAD classes to come. “I suppose there are probably a few people out there in the ad industry who don’t already know, but the future is definitely female,” says DAD Director Heather Vanisko.

“When reviewing applications and deciding who to admit, I look more at the group as a whole rather than individuals,” says Vanisko. “It’s a lot like building a team at an agency, I’m looking to put together students from all different types of backgrounds and interests who will complement and push each other to do great work.”

The group includes graduates from universities across the country in various programs, such as art, public relations, advertising, theater and more.

Sabrina Saccente (New Jersey native, University of Miami)
Emily Devery (Colorado native, University of Southern California)
Gaby Strnad (Colorado native, Chapman University)
Riley Draper (Colorado native, University of Colorado Boulder)
Tricia Knope (Oregon native, University of Oregon)
Graciela Robertson (Colorado native, University of Colorado Boulder)

Hayley Lyons (Illinois native, Denver University)
Alisha Benda (Minnesota native, University of Colorado Boulder)

“This is a group that’s diverse in background and in thought — they’re part of a new generation that can change our industry for the better,” says DAD Founder Jesse Alkire. “The progress they’ve made in just their first quarter is incredible, they’re gonna be like seasoned pros compared to other junior creatives. I just hope when they’re my boss one day soon that they’ll go easy on me.”

The Pioneer Class is slated to finish the DAD program next year and will be available for hire beginning November 2020. DAD is an advertising portfolio school that offers programs in Art Direction, Copywriting, and a forthcoming Strategic Planning track. Classes are led each evening by active senior creatives from various Denver/Boulder ad agencies and are designed to resemble the structure and pace of an ad agency, the end result of which is to produce spec campaigns for real brands. At the end of the 14-month program, students will finish with industry-ready portfolios showcasing the conceptual and creative abilities needed to land a job in advertising.


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