CHADRON – Four graphic design students and Chadron State College faculty members Mary Donahue and Dr. Shaunda French attended the annual Meet the Pros conference in Omaha Feb. 20-21. The students were Rachel Blair of Homer, Neb., Serena Brooks of Glenrock, Wyo., Tara Medigovich of San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Caitlyn Wiseman of Chadron.
One hundred seventy-five students from colleges and universities attended the event organized by the Omaha chapter of the American Advertising Federation.
Blair said theconference was, by far, one of the most beneficial and influential events she has participated in while attending CSC.
“The speakers gave a lot of beneficial advice and helped me gain insight into my future as a graphic designer in the real world. Having an opportunity to have our portfolios and résumés reviewed by professionals in the field was incredibly beneficial,” Blair said.
Brooks met with a professional from HDR, a firm that works with architectural design, wayfinding planning and design, interior design, product design and lighting design, as well as consulting.
“One of the biggest things I took away from the experience was that I need to spend a whole lot more time on individual projects, and less time on class assignments. Almost all of the speakers were very adamant about not wanting to see classwork in our portfolios. I also need to work on a lot more diverse things, and focus less on just print materials,” Brooks said.
Medigovich said the Round Table Sessions were the highlights of the conference for her.
“We got to interview several professionals from the Omaha area and they answered any questions we had for them. This was my favorite part of the conference as we got several different kinds of professionals: designers, web developers, and public relations, and got a lot of specific information about the different career fields and how they got there,” Medigovichsaid.
Wiseman met with a professional from Swanson Russell, an Omaha branding, advertising, and marketing communications firm that specializes in agribusiness, construction, the green industry, health care, outdoor recreation, and regional brands.
“I feel that I was able to take away some pretty useful bits and pieces of information I can apply when working towards my future career goals. One of the tips that stood out most to me was to be obsessively curious. To me, this means you should never stop searching or learning, and you should always strive to be passionate about what you do,” Wiseman said.
Stuart Chittenden, founder of Squishtalks, focused on the lost art of meaningful, face-to-face conversation and included time for students to practice conversation with other students they had previously not met.
After the first day of the conference, the CSC group toured a small creative studio, Grain & Mortar, founded by Michael and Kristin DeKay. They specialize in creating design and media mostly for smaller businesses with handcrafted products.
Companies such as Bozell, Bailey Lauerman, Swanson Russell and Yahoo were seeking interns at the conference.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator