Kathy Puangkham, 21

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What Kathy Puangkham did on her summer vacation: worked in the U.S.' No. 2 ad market for the No. 2 agency holding company.

Ms. Puangkham this week wraps up her summer internship in the Chicago office of WPP Group's Y&R Advertising. She'll then begin her senior year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ms. Puangkham started college in graphic design, then switched to marketing and now finds that advertising combines the best of both those fields. "It completely clicked," says the 21-year-old, who adds she'll probably end up on the planning side.

Patrick Vargas, one of her professors, says the department of advertising approaches its subject in a broad cultural context and gets people to think critically.

"But beyond the scope of education," he says, "students who not just are the most able but the hardest workers will be the ones driving the industry."

Future twentysomething ad makers like Kathy Puangkham.