Kristy Tucciarone, assistant teaching professor of media studies at UMSL, and alumnus Nicholas Foster are photographed earlier this year in New York.

Nicholas Foster had never been to New York City before enrolling at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Now an alumnus with a BFA in graphic design and a certificate in advertising, he moved there this week to start a three-month internship with an agency Advertising Age considers part of the third largest in the world.

As a graphic design intern, Foster will work with an animator in the creative department at Saatchi & Saatchi’s headquarters. The agency, owned by Paris-based Publicis, counts General Mills, Toyota, J.C. Penney and MillerCoors among its clients.

Prior to leaving, Foster discussed living away from his Spanish Lake, Mo., home for the first time. He’ll reside in dormitory housing in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., with a roommate he’s meeting for the first time this week.

“It’s going to be kind of weird being up in a big city by myself, you know, country guy all up in the big city,” he said, laughing.

He described his feelings as anxious and nervous.

“I just want to do the best I can, maybe get an entry-level position there,” Foster said. “Even if I don’t get something (in New York), just having Saatchi & Saatchi on my resume will be huge.”

Foster’s internship materialized following another opportunity he received earlier this year.

“With his humble demeanor and creative flair, Nicholas won the hearts and business sense of the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Minority Student Committee,” explained Kristy Tucciarone, assistant teaching professor of media studies at UMSL.

Foster was one of 50 advertising, marketing, media and communications students selected to the AAF’s annual list of Most Promising Minority Students, and the only representative from a Missouri university. Recipients of the distinction were invited to attend network and interview sessions with top advertising agencies and media companies in February in New York. Foster made the most of the opportunity, capturing the interest of Saatchi & Saatchi.

The internship begins about a year after he received his BFA in graphic design from UMSL. Foster entered a tepid job market. While his portfolio drummed up much interest from prospective employers, it never resulted in actual graphic design employment. Looking to narrow his specialized area into advertising, he called the university to see what it offered and found a fit in the Tucciarone-led advertising certificate program.

“Kristy showed me a whole different side of graphic design through advertising,” Foster said. “She showed how your designs can affect people, and how far it can go after you design something.”

Tucciarone called Foster a talented graphic designer who was flying just below the radar.

“He just needed to be discovered,” she said. “His artistic abilities, as well as his personality, are dynamic.”

More information:

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz