By Livia Lazzaro
Just moments before recent graduate Ricky Jutkiewicz (’17), Communications Studies major specializing in Radio, TV, and Film, met Sean O’Grady (’04), another Communication Studies alum who is now a Communications Strategist at Oxford Communications, all he wanted was an internship that could help him find out whether the film and video industry fit his interests. A little over a year after the chance encounter of the two, Jutkiewicz, now a long-term intern and a valuable team member at Oxford Communications, is a proud winner of two New Jersey state advertising and marketing awards for outstanding excellence in video production.
Jutkiewicz, his internship supervisors, and former professors could not be more proud of his accomplishments. He received a Gold (1st place) award from the New Jersey Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association (NJCAMA), as well as a 2nd place award from the NJ Ad Club Jersey Awards, for filming, producing, and editing a pro bono series of social media videos for the Trenton Community A-Team, a 501(c)(3) associated with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. The video series highlights and explores the talented artists of the Trenton Community A-Team, which since 2014 has been enhancing community pride by supporting, developing and promoting self-taught, local artists. The eight-video series can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL71lKrahtVdmv97rJETL8-xbvXbURlT_L.
The team at Oxford Communications are no strangers to awards and recognitions. Their agency won 25 awards between the NJCAMA ASTRA awards and the NJ Ad Club Jersey Awards in June of this year alone. But the one Jutkiewicz brought home is special and a first for the agency. “We have never had an intern win an award before,” said O’Grady, a supervisor and a mentor to Jutkiewicz at Oxford, who is especially proud of him for winning the awards as an intern, beating marketing and advertising professionals from major agencies. “Winning awards like these speaks volumes about Ricky both as a professional and a person, said John Martorana, Oxford Communications’ President. “Of course he came in with great skills in editing, Adobe Premier, and working with DSLR cameras, but what we liked most about him was that he was honest, humble, and hardworking. You can teach interns technical skills, but those personal qualities…you can’t train for that.”
Jutkiewicz, who peers and professors typically describe as being humble and mature, attributes much of his success to Professors Lorna Johnson-Frizell and Dr. Susan Ryan of the Communication Studies department. “I learned so much in my classes and I was able to apply that knowledge at my internship. Professor Lorna Johnson-Frizell taught me all about editing and Dr. Ryan taught me story-telling.” Jutkiewicz added: “I brought that skill set and the rest was learned at the internship. I expected small assignments, but the team had faith in me and invited me to the meetings with clients.”
A bonus of working at Oxford, according to Jutkiewicz, was that they left the creative process entirely up to him. “As a creator, to have that creative control, it’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. Indeed, working at Oxford was a splendid match for Jutkiewicz’s skill set. “I am so grateful that they gave me a chance to do what I love doing, to do work that doesn’t feel like work at all. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Professor Johnson-Frizell, the faculty supervisor for Jutkiewicz’s internship, was excited about the project from the beginning. “It was great supervising Ricky’s internship and watch him work on this project. He is incredibly dedicated to his film and video productions and has the maturity that often takes years to develop. He is able to step back, analyze, critique, and revise his work to make it stronger,” she said.
Jutkiewicz’s award-winning video series was developed as part of the Oxford Cares initiative. Oxford Cares is a skills-based volunteer program charged with the mission to provide brilliant, positive, and impactful service to local not-for-profit organizations. Located in Lambertville, NJ, Oxford Communications is a next-generation marketing solutions firm offering branding, strategic planning and digital services. The agency is headquartered on legendary Music Mountain, the former home of the Lambertville Music Circus, where greats like Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong once performed. Oxford serves both national and international clients and has been recognized by New Jersey Business as one of the top 10 marketing firms in the state. The company has been an important partner in hiring TCNJ interns since 2015. Dr. Paul D’Angelo, department chair, said he cherishes the opportunities that Oxford has given to Communication Studies students. “Internships are a valuable part of the Communication Studies major, and we are proud and delighted to have a productive partnership with Oxford Communications,” he said.
Although Jutkiewicz is soaking in all the excitement surrounding his most recent accomplishments, he is allowing some time off for another first experience this summer. He is traveling to Poland and Austria soon to explore, learn, and perhaps bring fresh perspectives and new insights to inspire his future projects.