Student Reference

About DES

Where did we come from?

In many ways, we’ve always been here. We, the people behind Detroit Experience Studio, are passionate members of our Detroit creative and advertising community. And we recognize that quite frankly, there aren’t enough of us here.

Facts — Detroit is 86% people of color, yet we make up less than 6% of the industry. And of that fragment, just 4% are VPs or higher.

We know the issue all too well — and we shined a light on it. That light got the attention of WPP, who’ve graciously thrown their support behind us — giving us a global network of reach and capabilities.

Now we’re sharing our passion. Our knowledge. Our connections. Our perspective. And an amazing opportunity to open up more seats at the table for people who look like us.

Who we are

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This is alt text

Kapria Jenkins

Executive Director

Creating change together!

I am proud to call Detroit my hometown. I was born, raised, and educated in the city and have dedicated most of my 20-year profession to improving the lives of Detroiters.

My experience in youth development, communications, social justice, and ministry equips me to genuinely relate to people from all walks of life – and work with them – serving alongside youth, community residents, nonprofit leaders, and corporate executives to create social impact that honors the dignity, humanity, and self-efficacy of others.

I’ve held some fantastic titles throughout my career, from intern to executive director — however, my proudest title is – mom.

That’s why DES means so much to me — bringing together my professional and personal passions to establish an educational institution that brings equity and change to an entire industry — a place where the child in my home and all the children in my hometown can thrive.

Image of Nikeisha Beckford Smiling
Image of Nikeisha Beckford Smiling

Nikeisha Beckford

Business Lead

Creating a more inclusive industry!

With almost 20 years in the marketing and advertising game, I have been blessed to make awesome happen on both sides of the brief. I am passionate about understanding people – how they see the world, what makes them tick, what drives their decisions, and it’s been my secret weapon to building high-impact relationships.

I’ve spent my career ensuring my consumer audience was at the center of my work. Now I’m refocusing that energy of the systems and people that create that work. Since joining VMLY&R in 2020, I have leveraged every opportunity to shape strategies, initiatives and activations to empower the agency’s Black talent by unpacking cultural, corporate, and industry issues in a relevant and empathetic way. And as a board member for Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center, I support their mission of putting people trained in advanced and emerging manufacturing technologies at the forefront of sustainable soft goods production with a particular lens on equity and inclusion.

I am committed to bringing my full self to every situation, but more importantly creating environments for others to do the same, especially Black womxn professionals. I strive to live my true passion every day - mentoring those around me and learning to be a more inclusive leader.

Image of Nakia Reevesd Smiling
Image of Nakia Reevesd Smiling

Nakia Reeves

Director of Operations

Building bridges and creating lasting relationships!

This has been my true north for the past 20 years as an Account Management professional. Extroverted at heart, I have always leaned on my ability to understand, relate to and gain trust with my clients and partners throughout my career. This strength coupled with my growing passion as a wellness professional has led me to my current work as Operations and Client Engagement Director for the Detroit Experience Studio. In addition to representing as a Black professional in advertising, I seek to ground our students and partners alike, in the path of mindfulness — so we can show up as our truest and most authentic selves for success in any field.

Image of Randi Winters smiling.
Image of Randi Winters smiling.

Randi Winters

Connections Manager

Giving back to my community!

As a product of DPS schools, I strongly believe in giving back to the community and students who look like me and share similar experiences.

In 2020, I founded an organization at Western Michigan University, Removing Every Obstacle (REO). REO is a mental health organization that serves as a safe space for college students to discuss their mental health as well as other issues they may be facing and to learn better mental health practices.

With a growing background in PR, philanthropy, advertising, community outreach, and more, many people would describe me as innovative, creative, dedicated, and driven, but I will always describe myself as a student — soaking up any knowledge around me.

My experience being a Client Engagement Intern with VMLY&R was full of new challenges and opportunities which ultimately allowed me to be the connector that I am now, and led me to being a full-time employee with VMLY&R. These experiences along with my overall life experiences have helped prepare me for this role with DES and I'm ecstatic to be able to share my experiences with our students.


Who can apply?

We’re here to support Detroit’s creative Black and Brown youth. Apply now or read more about our Student Application Process:

  • Minimum Requirements - Applicant must be a Detroit resident or enrolled in a Detroit High School, currently enrolled as a Junior or Senior, exhibit a serious interest in the creative field and committed to completing the full 10-week program.
  • Additional Acceptance Considerations - Student’s capacity to follow directions, and work and learn independently with supportive adult guidance.
  • Submission Timeline - DES accepts rolling applications August through January. Any applications submitted between August and the last week of September will be considered for the Fall Cohort; Applications submitted October-January will be considered for the Spring Cohort.
  • Waitlist - Students who submit their applications but are not selected due to capacity will be waitlisted until either a student has to drop within the first week, or they are placed on the priority list for the next cohort.
Will this cost me money?

Thanks to grant funding from WPP and support from our partners, there’s no cost to you. (Thanks WPP!) If you don’t know, WPP is a pretty big deal in the advertising world. We’d love for you to one day make them an even bigger deal.

Where is the studio located?

Classes are held at The Marquette Building in Downtown Detroit — 243 W. Congress. We also hold immersions off site to visit a client space.

What is the time commitment?

For Students – Two days per week, two hours per day

For Volunteers – Varies based on role

Can a sophomore apply?

Yes! Apply now.

Can I tour the studio and meet the administration /volunteers?
Will this help me get a job?

It just might. Put in the work while you’re here and you’ll leave with skills and connections.

What are your covid precautions?

We’re following CDC guidelines and closely monitoring case levels in the county.

WPP — Steppin' Up

Not just talk - WPP is investing millions to support, develop and promote the advertising arts in traditionally marginalized communities.

And they've brought friends:

VMLY&R logo

VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Marketing Agencies for five consecutive years, VMLY&R is made up of more than 12,000 employees worldwide with principal offices in Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. The agency is behind award-winning campaigns for blue chip client partners including Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Intel, New Balance, Pfizer and Wendy's.

Makerhouse Logo

Makerhouse is a brand design-centric, specialized creative production house in the Hogarth network. Passionate about crafting effective design solutions and content at scale. We are one part design-centric makers, driving creative excellence and effectiveness. And one part strategic production operations, ensuring compliance and efficiency. With more than 300 specialists across the globe, and long hallways to the right partners when needed, we make the best work, the best way, in creative partnership with agencies and clients alike. Whatever the need, we’ll make it happen.

Meet Makerhouse
GTB Logo

Engineered to drive performance for the world’s most iconic brands, GTB is a global precision marketing agency that creates ideas that inspire people to act. One of WPP’s specialist agencies driving creative transformation, GTB works across 6 continents with multiple offices worldwide.

Meet GTB
UniWorld Group, Inc Logo

UniWorld Group, Inc. (UWG) is the longest-standing, full-service, multicultural marketing and advertising agency in the United States. A thought leader in creativity, inclusion and innovation, UWG has carved its legacy in the communications space for more than fifty years by connecting brands to multicultural audiences beyond the construct of race and ethnicity. UWG is a minority-owned, woman-led strategic partner of the WPP network.

Meet UWG
Mindshare Logo

Mindshare is a global, multi-award winning, media agency network of 9,300 people across 86 countries united by the desire to create new media experiences. Mindshare drives Good Growth for clients through Precisely Human Intelligence and the Intentional Use of Media.

H+K Logo

H+K is one of the world’s leading global communications companies, partnering with clients across more than 80 offices globally in more than 40 markets. Drawing on our significant heritage – and a spirit of unbridled creativity and innovation – we are constantly renewing the capabilities that empower us to drive growth for our clients, help them manage risk, and defend and improve their reputations in today’s extraordinary environment. With a focus on agility and creativity, we are innovating the future of public relations.

Meet H+K
Hudson Rouge Logo

Hudson Rouge is an integrated, luxury marketing boutique, headquartered in New York with offices in Detroit, Shanghai, Toronto and Mexico City. Founded in 2012, and part of WPP, Hudson Rouge specializes in understanding, optimizing and amplifying the unspoken codes that contribute to the staying power of luxury brands and services. At Hudson Rouge, we provide a channel-agnostic, integrated approach and broad service offering, to clients in the ultra-competitive luxury sector.

Meet Hudson Rouge
Detroit Public Schools
Community Disctrict

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. We champion a whole child approach that combines superior academics with socio-emotional, extracurricular, and health services tailored to each student's needs.

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools Foundation’s (DPSF) mission is to create and enhance educational opportunities for Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) students, families, and educators. Our vision is that every DPSCD student will receive the support needed for college and career readiness and we are dedicated and committed to bringing needed resources to DPSCD.


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