By Karine Gareau

An Algonquin student advertising and marketing student brought the Ottawa Citizen Award home with a smile and a bag full of creativity on Dec. 6.

Jaclyn Stephens, 26, won $680 and the chance to publish her ads in the Ottawa Citizen in spring 2014. The second-year advertising student impressed all the judges with her originality and her expertise in the domain.

Fashion retailing was the chosen topic for this year’s project. Over a period of two months, students worked on a 24-page situation and target analysis of a local store. They created three ads for the Ottawa Citizen for a chance to win a grand prize and gain a chance for publication.

“It was very intense. We compared it to ‘Hell lock’,” said Stephens. “We couldn’t have one comment out of place, not a dash.

“Everything had to be perfect. It’s insane. If we did the slightest mistake, we didn’t get published.”

Originally from Carleton University, Stephens didn’t know where she would go when her journalism career didn’t work out. She decided to take a year off to see her horizons and when she turned 25, she had a sudden reality check. She had been completely oblivious to how fast the time had flown by.

“It was a real hit in the face and at it was at that moment when I knew I wanted to enter the marketing industry,” said Stephens.

Her choice was the right one.

She worked more than 50 hours and juggled part time jobs, and school work while managing to keep her social life going.

More than 58 submissions were handed in but only two made it all the way to the judges, Stephens among them.  One week later, she was presented as the official winner of the Ottawa Citizen Award.

“No one was surprised that she had won,” said Keyana Doroodian, a fellow classmate. “She takes criticisms well and she puts it into action. She’s very creative and organized. She is just the superstar of the program.”

She will be presented with her award in the spring and she is looking forward to what the future has to hold.

“She is very professional and she puts all her heart into her project. She just always excels,” said Karen Kavanagh, a professor in the program.