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College of Business alums work with White House on education initiative

Katie Gottesman and Adina Salah

College of Business graduates Katie Gottesman and Adina Salah outside the East Room at The White House.

Illinois State University alumnae Katie Gottesman ’01 and Adina Salah ’04 were at The White House in October for the #BetterMakeRoom campaign announcement by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The #BetterMakeRoom campaign is designed to encourage Generation-Z students to continue their education beyond high school as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative in support of the president’s “North Star” goal—that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

“The #BetterMakeRoom campaign is an important bipartisan initiative to help ensure the U.S. workforce is well-trained and ready to excel in a competitive, global economy over the next 50 years,” said Gottesman, CommuterAds founder and an integrated marketing communications graduate from Illinois State. “CommuterAds is proud to partner with the Obama administration on this effort to see all students reach their full potential.”

“The #BetterMakeRoom campaign is about creating a space where young people can focus on what’s next in their lives,” said Salah, CommuterAds COO and a marketing alumna. “It offers support toward pursuing post-secondary degrees whether at a university like Illinois State, a technical school or community college.”

The campaign expects media partners, such as CommuterAds, to deliver targeted messages that create awareness of the positive impact of continued education. CommuterAds operates 13 contracts in 11 U.S. cities to deliver targeted, location-based messages inside buses and trains. CommuterAds’ unique ability to engage 14-19 year-old students near high schools across the country is unparalleled due to the captive nature of geo-targeted messages that reach transit riders.

CommuterAds was the only new media firm operating outside of the social-media industry to be invited to the launch event on October 19.

“It is an honor and privilege to work with The White House team and help spread the #BetterMakeRoom message to students in all our communities,” said Salah. “Seeing CommuterAds on this national stage reinforces the relevance of our hyper-targeted transit messages to both current and up-and-coming generations.”

Gottesman is a past College of Business Early Career Achievement Award recipient. She will be back on campus November 13 for the Startup Showcase, sponsored by the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.