My four years in the Nazareth Art Department have been nothing but challenging, yet enjoyable. Taking 3 studios a semester has allowed me to take a class with just about every professor and adjunct in the department. My professors have always pushed me extremely hard in order to make sure I’ll be well equipped for the working world post-graduation. This year, my Senior Portfolio capstone class pushed me harder than any class I’ve ever taken, and the results were exceptional.
As a Visual Communication Design major here at Nazareth, the Rochester Advertising Federation (or RAF) is synonymous with networking, solidarity, and superb work. Each year, the RAF in conjunction with the American Advertising Awards puts the best work in Rochester on display at an awards show called The ADDYs. While this event is mostly for the recognition of professionals, there is also the option for students to see how they fare among the rest.
I always wanted to enter work to the ADDYs from the first time I heard about them from my professors sophomore year. Not only would it be awesome to attend such a high-profile networking event, but it would be an honor to have my work hanging among the best of Rochester. Judging is done by an objective panel, outsourced to an artistically-rich region in order to ensure complete fairness. In 2014, I got my first taste of the ADDYs by volunteering to hand out awards onstage to the winners. After one show, I was hooked and knew I wanted to enter.
This year, I finally got up the courage (and funds) to enter my best piece of my undergraduate design career: a milk packaging campaign. My professor, Ray Claxton, initially returned my grade with the memo that this piece could be a contender for ADDY success. I took his advice and in January, I utilized my adviser and mentor Sherri Hamilton as a means of making it even better by using a professional photographer (her incredibly talented husband, Scott Hamilton) to add even more of an edge to my piece. The pictures came out incredible, and made it look like an actual campaign.
Fast forward to March 13, 2015. I’m standing onstage as a volunteer handing out awards to local all-star agencies in front of over 500 people. Then, my piece is projected for all of the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to see. I can only imagine the look on my face when I found out that I won a Silver ADDY Award. Stunned, I walked across the stage, accepted my award, took a “winner” photo and then walked around to continue to distribute awards to professionals and other students. Nazareth took home 2 silvers, 1 gold, 1 scholarship and professor Sherri Hamilton took home a gold for herself!
I could not have won an ADDY without the push and encouragement from my professors to constantly be better. I attribute so much of this to our small class sizes, that provide so much individual attention for us in the classroom. I don’t think that I would have been able to get such a great piece from a class bigger than 15 students. My Senior Portfolio professor Ray and my adviser Sherri were imperative to my success this past week and throughout the past year while securing internships and making connections. Although it’s only been a week, I’ve had numerous professionals in the area message me on LinkedIn to congratulate me, and some to even offer me future employment opportunities. I never would have thought that I would ever win an ADDY at all, let alone before I graduated college. My time here at Nazareth has lead me to achieve more than I thought possible before I graduated, and I cannot attribute this enough to the exceptional professors and mentors who’ve helped me every step of the way.