A National Commercial for an International Girl
By Caitlin Rodgers / Created 2012-05-01
If heart and gumption could alone propel change, AUP student Jennie Armstrong would have already saved the world. Selected last year as a spokesperson for the soft drink Dr Pepper, she is still well on her way to doing so. Jennie chose to come to AUP and study in the International Law and Public Policy graduate program as part of her journey to reach that goal.
A Louisiana native, Jennie is bright-eyed and enthusiastic, often speaking with a vivacity that vibrates off of even basic conversations about school and work. Because of this, it only takes a few minutes to understand why Dr Pepper chose her for the coveted pedestal position. Originally the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from Dr Pepper, she was later selected as a spokesperson to be featured not only on Dr Pepper packaging, but also on 500 million Dr Pepper cans. Even more, she took center stage in a national commercial. Ultimately one of five chosen from a pool of 12,000 for the prestigious recognition, Jennie saw the unique limelight opportunity as a way to push the spotlight onto what she ardently cares for: making a difference in the lives of others.
Filmed in Baton Rouge (home of Jennie’s undergraduate alma mater Louisiana State University) and neighboring New Orleans, the commercial features Jennie against the backdrop of her home state sharing the story of how her life has taken on a mission for others. Scenes from a recent trip to Kenya and Rwanda show Jennie playing with orphans and meeting young women from small villages to teach them about the power of education as a hope for a better future. Though not mentioned in the commercial, Jennie has also worked in Greece with organization The A21 Campaign to fight against sex traffickers and teach young girls the power of education. “I just know that I want to work in human rights and I want to try and make a difference,” she says in the commercial. “I just want to feel like I’m helping someone else on the path to freedom.” Originally aired on the Fox Sports Network in the fall of 2011, the commercial played throughout the autumn season of American college football.
Since these trips, Jennie’s own path led her to AUP and Paris where she says she found her footing in post-college life. “I’ve always had a passion for law and AUP’s Masters in International Law fit right into that. It’s the perfect program for me.” While finishing her Paris-based AUP course work this semester, Jennie is also a public relations intern at Publicis Group where she consults clients on their corporate social responsibility initiatives as well as new media strategies and promotional campaigns. This summer she will complete her masters degree with travel to The Hague in the Netherlands for a legal practicum at the International Criminal Court and an intensive human rights law program at Oxford University.
A non-stop spirit, Armstrong not only lights up the small screen but also the AUP community and Paris beyond. It’s clear Dr Pepper chose well when they made their selection of Jennie for spokesperson. She is anxious to keep the spotlight not on herself but on the activism needed to make others’ lives better. Echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson on her website, Jennie writes “After graduation in August, the world is ‘all gates, all opportunities.’ I’m not sure where I want to end up, but I do know I want to follow my passions and make a difference. Cheers to the future!”