Monday, January 23, 2023
  Awards and Recognitions

By News and Internal Communications

By Tawny Turner     

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV senior Charlie (Carlos) Luna, a mass communication major with a concentration in advertising and public relations, is one of just 50 university students from across the country chosen to participate in the American Advertising Federation Most Promising Multicultural Students program.

“It was a shot in the dark,” Luna said of the decision to apply. “I didn’t think I would make it. I thought to myself, ‘I’m older, I’m not good enough. Why would they pick me?’”  

Still, the 26-year-old took a leap of faith. One week later, he found out he had been selected to take part in the four-day industry immersion program in New York City, Feb. 13-16. He describes the moment as “an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment,” and said he feels honored to be part of an advertising program he is so fervent about.

“From a professional standpoint, I look forward to meeting these professionals. I’ll be putting myself out there to get a job I’m passionate about, hopefully somewhere in the United States,” Luna said. “From a personal standpoint, it’s New York! I’m excited to play tourist.”

The program includes professional development and personal branding workshops, awards ceremony and luncheon, and Recruiter’s Expo. The Most Promising program gives advertising, media, communications, and tech companies the opportunity to tap into high-achieving talent of 50 diverse college students from across the country.

Dr. Kimberly Selber, communication professor and advisor of the UTRGV Advertising Club, said the AAF is a prestigious national organization, and she is excited it has recognized Luna by selecting him to represent UTRGV.

“Charlie is a perfect representative of not only UTRGV but the entire Rio Grande Valley,” she said. “It is so good to know that the selection committee saw what we see in Charlie. He’s going to do big things in the ad world. I can’t wait to see what he does and to bring him back as an alum to inspire our students.”

After graduating from James Nikki Rowe High School in 2014, Luna decided to pursue his love of storytelling at The Art Institute of Austin for a year and a half. He eventually made his way back to the Rio Grande Valley and started at UTRGV in fall 2021. He has been able to reignite his love for film and advertising at UTRGV, he said, and has found meaningful collaboration with his film classmates.

Luna, president of the Advertising Club, and social media content producer for the UTRGV Campus Food Security Initiative, looks for meaning in messaging.

“I enjoy the challenge of making a product, company, or service interesting and giving it a creative story to sell it, especially through the various forms of digital media. That’s where I get to use my love of film producing,” Luna said.

The UTRGV Advertising Club currently is recruiting new members. In order to join, students will need to register through the RGV AAF chapter, then register on the AAF national page. For more information, email Selber at


The American Advertising Federation promotes knowledge of advertising and oversees that all advertising is done in a correct and moral manner. The AAF is compiled of networks of 40,000 advertising agencies and professions and more than 200 AAF college chapters. In 1997 The AAF initiated the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, where students in their college chapter can apply to be chosen by the AAF to represent a multicultural range of U.S. college students and immerse themselves in the advertising profession.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.