Seniors’ talents on full display at Design Showcase
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
For many of the students displaying their work, Tuesday’s Senior Design Showcase at Grand Canyon University was an opportunity to provide another look into the College of Fine Arts and Productions’ many talents. For Bryton Shinkle, it was also an opportunity to get showcase-goers involved.
Part of Shinkle’s booth, which he had set up for his final undergraduate assignment, incorporated a bigger piece of art he designed, and booth viewers were asked to help give it some color.
“I went with the design-display-collaborate setup,” Shinkle said. “I want people to take a chance and to color in some of the pieces.”
Shinkle is one of a collection of design seniors whose skill has been recognized by employers — he has been offered a staff artist job at U-Haul following graduation. Shinkle credits the professors and educators in the Design Department for helping him and teaching him the importance of building a portfolio.
“All of our students in the design program have to have job-hunting tools,” said Sheila Schumacher, Director of Digital Design Programs. “The showcase is their final exam … and what they are responsible for is making a professional presentation of their branded products and their whole body of work.”
Schumacher said the department has found that the Tuesday before graduation is the perfect time for students to showcase their talents to their loved ones. It is close enough to graduation that out-of-state families are likely to be in town for commencement at the end of the week and early enough in the week for students to still be on campus to see the Showcase.
Fifty-seven seniors showcased an array of talents from areas such as advertising, graphic and digital design, marketing and animation.
Digital design student Elizabeth Segura‘s showcased a variety of creative talents.
“Everyone’s setup is their own,” Segura said. “Every year you have something different. There’s different people, different things that they have to offer. I think it’s pretty cool every year to see the variety.”
The same could be said for Kate Gmelich’s display. Gmelich, an animation student, wanted to make her table stand out among the other animation tables and the rest of the room. She was able to accomplish this by utilizing a bright blue tablecloth beneath her portfolio and a reel of animation.
“I just really wanted to go for some fun colors and hit the theme (pink, blue and white),” Gmelich said. “I just really wanted to draw attention, which I feel the bright colors do.”
Adding another piece of her personality into her presentation, Gmelich showcased her love of Harry Potter through a beautifully designed and animated Lumos reel.
Juan Garcia, who already has two interviews and a potential job after receiving his diploma, said being tasked with creating his own portfolio has better equipped him for his future beyond GCU.
“I think I feel pretty prepared because the portfolio is really helpful when I’m applying for jobs,” Garcia said. “Since I already have the portfolio set up, I can easily send that to people when I apply.”
Families and peers flocked to the COFAP building to support their graduates and see first hand how they could make their presentation their own.
“Our curriculum allows people to craft work that plays to their personal strength and at the same time develop the skills they need to accurately and effectively get an entry-level job in the design field.” Schumacher said.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]
GCU Today: Slideshow: Digital Design senior portfolios