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b2ap3_thumbnail_Sherman-Colorito-for-small-liberal-arts-top-5.pngBig school, or small school? That’s the question a lot of individuals face when choosing a college. And in the long list of factors that goes into choosing a college, size and type often find themselves placed near the top in terms of importance. To help with this critical question in the college search process, here are the top five reasons to consider a small, liberal arts college or university…

5. Community.  It’s rare to walk anywhere on a smaller campus and not see someone you know. Sheer numbers play a major role in that, but so does the fact that everyone on campus seems to be involved in something. If you play a sport, host a show on the school radio station, perform in the musical and work in the bookstore, you might be a student at one of these schools. Seems like a busy life, but the camaraderie is hard to beat at larger institutions.
4. Scholarships and financial aid.  Sure, big, public universities may have a cheaper sticker price, but when it comes to the bottom line, small schools often surprise prospective students with their affordability. The combination of scholarships and need-based institutional aid, which typically isn’t available at larger colleges, makes this possible.
3. Small classes taught by professors.  Because graduate and doctoral programs are not as prevalent at smaller liberal arts schools, often times, graduate students and teaching assistants don’t exist, and if they do, they’re not in front of the classroom. Faculty members are the ones teaching the undergraduate students, and it’s almost always in a smaller setting. No 300-seat auditoriums here; you’ll know your classmates and be able to interact with them in a more intimate classroom environment.
2. Grad schools and employers value it.  As Lynn O’Shaughnessy put it in her 2010 article on cbsnews.com, “liberal arts colleges…teach kids how to think, talk and write,” and, while simple, that’s exactly what employers are looking for. Furthermore, according to O’Shaughnessy’s article, “liberal arts schools dominate the list of the top 10 institutions that produce the most students who ultimately earn doctorates.” Why is this? Graduate schools are looking for just the type of research opportunities students have at liberal arts colleges.
1. You know your professors, and they know you.  While learning from professors in small classes is great, an even bigger benefit is getting to know your professors on a personal level and gaining hands-on experience right alongside them. The connections you make with those individuals become invaluable as you search for graduate schools and/or employment. They’ve all been out there in the field doing the work themselves, and now they’re helping little ole you do the same.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_SS-Group.jpgEight Waynesburg University students accompanied Faith Musko, instructor of forensic science and adviser to the West Coast Swing (WCS) Club on campus known as “Sting Swing,” to Dearborn, Mich., in June for the annual Michigan Classic West Coast Swing Dance Competition. 

Three passes ($300 value) to the Michigan Classic were donated to Sting Swing from a WCS dancer in Pittsburgh (Dr. Randolph Peters) and were raffled off to Sting Swing members.  Brandi Kukler, Jake Restanio and Samantha Bardy were the lucky winners of these passes.

Students competed in the Jack n’ Jill in either the Newcomer or Novice Divisions. A Jack n’ Jill consists of dancing to randomly pre-selected music with a randomly drawn partner. Competitors advance in these divisions by making finals and placing in the top five for that division. Each placement is a designated point amount and when a competitor reaches a specified point value they advance to the next division.  The Newcomer division is for those individuals that are beginners or new competitors and/or have earned no points in a WCS competition. Angel Berkey, Jake Restanio, Brandi Kukler, Lexi Boudreau, Samantha Barky, Josh Garrison and Kristen Stone all competed in this division. Kristen Stone, a senior forensic ecience major, advanced to finals in this division and took sixth place.

Robert Cronkhite, a junior exercise science major and president of Sting Swing, competed in the Novice Division, which is the biggest division in the WCS circuit consisting of more than 50 leaders, and took first place with his partner. The Michigan Classic also has the coveted “Top Gun” competition. The Top Gun takes the top four placements from each division (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and All-Star) and pairs them, high-low.  Robert was paired with the lowest seeded All-Star follow from Clearwater, Fla., (Agnieszka Maslanka) and went head-to-head with 15 other couples, and won! He and his partner won a $500 cash prize, free passes to Michigan Classic 2015, a “Top Gun” jacket, names on the traveling trophy and an opportunity to teach a WCS workshop at next year’s Michigan Classic.

In August, sophomore Cortnie Devore competed at her first WCS competition (Swing Fling) in Leesburg, Va. Like her peers, she competed in the Newcomer division and made finals.

Besides competitions, students had the opportunity to take workshops and private lessons with top professionals, as well as social dance with dancers of all levels, educations, occupations and nationalities. Dancers were present from France, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Russia and many others.

Sting Swing meets at 8:30 p.m., in the Old Gym on Wednesday evenings. Students, Faculty and Staff are welcome to attend.

The Michigan Classic is sanctioned by the World Swing Dance Council, which was organized in 1993, and is the key service organization designed to further communication and to provide informational services and record keeping for those in the Swing Dance Community.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Photo1.JPGThese past few weeks I have had the opportunity to work with brands such as Monopoly and finish up the signage designs for the Hasbro building I work in. It’s because of this project that I know what’s entailed in a long-term project requiring research, such as the standard sign dimensions, ADA requirements and the like. With just two weeks of my internship left, I can say that the project is in good shape. I will now begin the proofing process with my supervisor and the printing process after that. A few posts back, I detailed the research process as figuring out how many signs I needed and where to place them to the most readable type of arrow. This accomplished one of my goals of learning how to research a project before randomly designing. This helped tremendously in how smoothly the project went.

Some other projects I’ve been involved in are poster/flyer/banner designs for the Community Relations Department at Hasbro. These are usually fun designs aimed at promoting Hasbro or partnership events. I have been blessed to get to know coworkers in other departments, especially Community Relations. I have a special interest in Community Relations because of my education and participation in non-profit public relations at Waynesburg University. It has been wonderful seeing what they and other departments do because I have been able to narrow down my field of interest within graphic design and public relations.

One of many positive experiences that has enforced my worldview of service has been to dedicate everything to the job I am working on. It is extremely rewarding when you put your all into something great and successful. It comes naturally to me to put my time into getting something done right and near perfect. Hasbro also recognizes that as valuable in its employees, and I witnessed personally their “thanking” initiative.

Another awesome experience was being invited to sit with and help the technology operatives at Hasbro’s quarterly State of the Company meeting. I was in charge of running the backup presentations should the main computers fail. I also got to meet the CEO Brian Goldner and listen to the incredibly smart brains behind the entire Hasbro operation, as it were. It was a unique experience that I will never forget. After that, I was also invited to attend the Corporate Communications and Human Resources team luncheon where I met the head of communications at Hasbro. At the luncheon my team and myself were personally thanked for our efforts in a 126-page book about Hasbro that was sent to Fortune 500’s Great Places to Work spot. Hopefully, with the help of the excellent senior designers that I had the privilege of working under, Hasbro will be on the 2014 list of Great Places to Work.

All in all, these last three weeks have been stocked full with incredible experiences that I will remember and reflect on for many years to come. The lessons and simple technical skills have drastically changed the way I now approach designing, and I am fortunate to have learned them here. I will be writing two more posts and then my summer internship at Hasbro will come to an end. However, I will carry the lessons and memories with me into a career after school.

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Last year at this time I was disembarking the Semester at Sea M.V. Explorer in Antalya, Turkey. The next three days were spent soaking up the sun on Turkey’s absolutely gorgeous beaches with an iced mint tea in hand. Fast forward one year, and I’m sitting at my Hasbro desk working with a team leader on what could possibly be one of the biggest portfolio pieces of my career thus far.

It’s not Turkey, but I’d say its better.

Due to the confidential nature of the piece, I cannot disclose exactly what it is. However, I can tell you that it is extremely important to promoting the company’s incredibly positive public image. This is what I love about my majors.

I can promote the company’s mission and positive public relations using graphic design. While the writing in a design is the meat of the message, the artwork is the first impression. You know what they say - “first impressions last.” It’s my job as a graphic designer to make that first impression a good one. From there, the reader/viewer can delve into the writing with the exact mindset and message that we want them to have.

This week also brought the development of another important project. I am now in charge of rethinking and redesigning the main Hasbro building’s internal directional signage. The building itself is the size of a standard city square block.

On account of the size, getting around is difficult without prior directional knowledge. I started my inventory of what signs we already have and where there is a lack of directional signage. I will be working on every aspect of this project from planning to working with the printer to make sure every sign comes out exactly the way I want it. 

Now, seven weeks in to my internship, I have made many friends with coworkers and become very comfortable with the company culture. Spontaneous inner-cubicle Nerf gun wars helped with that (Hasbro and Nerf are Franchise/Partner Brands).  

I look forward to continuing my projects next week and enjoying the holiday weekend, even though I’ll be spending it in Rhode Island and not somewhere off in the Mediterranean.

See you next week.

Brittany Semco is a senior design and public relations major at Waynesburg University.

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The first day of summer not only brought with it more tourists and typical Rhode Island beach traffic, but the further development of my logo project at Hasbro (detailed in my last entry). It seems that after the first two options I make for every design, I hit a major roadblock. See what I did there. It takes some deep thought and usually a fresh start to get to a point where the idea is finally “outside of the box.”

Some research on shapes and typography led me to a place where I could start to process exactly what message the company needed to convey with the logo and an idea that I believed would maximize the name of the entity with its mission and purpose (of which I cannot disclose). 

Because of the helpful nature of Waynesburg University’s professors, I was able to send my advisers and a mentor my logo prototype and get some excellent feedback. From there, I was able to improve the logo more than what I ever expected. Getting this feedback and “peer review” was a necessary step before sending the logo to my supervisor at Hasbro. It probably saved my supervisor a lot of time because now I can give him/her the best option possible.

The logo design process for this particular logo helped me tremendously in the process of another, which was given to me last week. I have already made strides toward what I think is a good option for the team. Time and more thought will tell if that is true.

During these last two weeks I have also had the opportunity to take some short online classes. When I had time between projects, I would take some of these classes and I have already learned more than I thought a video could teach me. I learned the science behind product photography and positioning objects in ways that make sense for say, a catalog or an advertisement. 

I learned about designing online portfolios in preparation for the design of my own to showcase all I have done during this terrific internship. I also learned that different shapes influence the feel of a logo. For instance, a circle conveys the idea of flow and movement, while a square gives the impression of structural integrity and rigidness. So a circle may be good for a medical facility to convey its current and dynamic nature, while an academic institution would benefit from a square logo to show its structured nature.

Most importantly, during these past few weeks I have learned the value of dedication to a project. It may seem that your first idea is awesome, but I promise you, the next one will be better because you have given the subject matter more thought.  Stay tuned for next week.

Brittany Semco is a senior design student at Waynesburg University. 

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