April 23, 2024

USM Students Show Work at Design Conference

Special to Darkhorse Press

Photo: USM

Two graphic design students in the Art and Design program at The University of Southern Mississippi got the chance to exhibit their work at the largest design conference and competition for students—The National Student Show and Conference —held in Dallas, Texas this month.

Now in its 19th year, NSSC is a nationally recognized competition that offers students the platform to take steps toward their future in design through unique opportunities that provide insights into the industry. USM students got the chance to engage in professional portfolio reviews, networking events, workshops, creative panels, keynote sessions and more.

“Attending the NSSC is a transformative experience for student designers, as it offers a dynamic platform for creativity and industry insight,” said Jacob Cotton, associate professor of design. “At the NSSC students can immerse themselves in a vibrant community of professionals, gaining invaluable feedback and networking opportunities. This event serves as a springboard into the design industry, bridging the gap between academia and real-world practice, and empowers our students to envision their future in design.”

USM students Autumn Graves, a native of Hattiesburg, and Hezzie Jefferson, a native of De Lisle, had their work selected into this prestigious show, showcasing the best student work from across the nation.

“Having work being selected for the NSSC is a testament to the creative work being produced by students at USM,” said Cotton. “The show was juried by a panel of designers from some of the largest and most prestigious advertising agencies and design firms in the country.”

Graves showcased her invitation set for a Dear Reader Society Club, designed for teen girls interested in having pen pals and experience the art of old-fashioned letter writing.

“Being chosen to exhibit my work at NSSC was a huge honor,” said Graves. “The level of talent and craftsmanship in the selected pieces each year is admirable and inspiring, so it was a privilege to have my work recognized among so many other talented students from all over the nation.”

“I’ve had a lot of cherished moments during my time as a graphic design major at USM. The program truly opens doors, providing opportunities and resources for students to establish their presence and garner recognition within the industry even before graduation,” Graves added. “Throughout the four years we’ve spent in the program, the girls who led the USM Design and Marketing team with me have become some of my closest friends. I am grateful to the graphic design program for the education it provided me with, but most importantly, for the friendships it has facilitated.”

Jefferson showcased his branding identity for Cluck Yeah!, a chicken wing food truck designed to appeal to all ages while providing a positive and inviting atmosphere.

“Showcasing my work felt like I earned the right to say that I belong in this career path,” said Jefferson. “Seeing the culmination of hard work alongside the incredible projects of fellow students was both humbling and deeply honoring.”

He went on to say that this event is a major landmark in his life.

“My most memorable experience as a graphic design major at USM has undoubtedly been this trip to Dallas. Having ventured outside the state only a few times before, this trip was truly unforgettable,” he said. “It offered me a firsthand experience of the career I’m passionate about, together with friends and a professor who are like family. It was an experience I will always treasure!”

Learn more about the USM Art and Design program.

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