WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., November 16, 2023 – 13 Visual Communication students from WLU participated in the 2023 AIGA Pittsburgh Portfolio Review. The event occurred Friday, October 27, 2023, on the campus of Chatham University in Pittsburgh. Graphic Design Professors Sarah Davis and Moonjung Kang accompanied students.
The Student Portfolio Review is an annual event hosted by AIGA Pittsburgh to prepare design students entering the workforce. The event brought together over 50 PA, OH, and WV students. Participants presented their portfolios to four of more than 40 design professionals from various disciplines and industries. Students also heard from award-winning designer Stephen Gates, whose work has received over 150 major design awards, including Cannes Cyber Lions, Webby Awards, and Excellence in Interactive Marketing. His work has been featured by Adobe, How Magazine, and Communication Arts, to name a few. “It is vital for students to meet and receive feedback from professionals other than their professors. It gets students out of their comfort zone, broadens their sights, and increases their awareness of career opportunities,” said Davis.
The Pittsburgh chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, has provided design leadership, networking, and professional development opportunities to design professionals and students throughout the Pittsburgh region. According to their website, the chapter’s role is to “bring together students, educators, practitioners, enthusiasts, and patrons – across three rivers and 90 neighborhoods – to amplify and give voice to the vision of a collective future. We do this through education, networking, and professional and personal development. We want creativity to be accessible to all who seek it.” Professor Davis and WLU alum Melissa Marshall are both on the board of directors and helped organize the event. The National AIGA Association was first organized in NYC in 1914 to advocate for industry standards for graphic artists, printers, publishers, and illustrators.
Interim Chair of the Department of Media and Visual Arts, Brian Fencl, expressed his gratitude to all the reviewers who volunteered their time and to Professors Davis and Kang for the time spent with students mentoring them for the event. Professor Fencl added, “The feedback each student received about their work is incredibly valuable, and, at the program level, it helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses.”
Other professional opportunities at WLU for Visual Communication students include the Graphic Design Partnership program launched in Fall 2023. As an extension of the upper-level VCD Studio course, nonprofits can apply to participate and receive free or low-cost design services from students through a freelance or internship format. Students are currently working with 11 regional nonprofit organizations to provide much-needed promotional graphics. Those enrolled in the VCD Studio course also provide design services for two additional nonprofits by practicing client communications while creating professional quality work. At the end of each year, Professor Davis extends a call for nonprofits needing design services to participate in these programs.
To learn more about the Visual Communication program and the WLU Graphic Design Partnership, contact Professor Sarah Davis at email@example.com.
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest public institution of higher learning, and it offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. To learn more about WLU, visit westliberty.edu.