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Recent Ohio Northern University graduate Rebecca Carman earns award for design project

Aug 10, 2017

Rebecca Carman of Bellefontaine (Bellefontaine High School), a 2017 Ohio Northern University graduate, recently earned an inaugural Award for Student Excellence from the New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U). The award recognizes students for their knowledge and experience in liberal arts, professional studies or experiential learning, and/or civic engagement.


Carman’s project, “Design for Good,” took a practical approach to addressing societal change by encouraging people to change old habits, preserve nature, establish community relationships, and recognize the importance of sustainability through design-thinking and problem-solving. Carman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.


“My NAC&U submission consisted of various design projects that centered around the design for good movement,” Carman said. “Each design project worked to address a different societal challenge and consisted of street banners, posters, online campaigns, reusable bag designs and several other media outlets. Although different, each project in my NAC&U submission worked to communicate public good and social impact.”


“There was no better way to share the importance of my design work than with a group of significant and influential educators from various colleges and universities,” she said. “I was happy to share with all of them how strategic design-thinking and problem-solving can communicate a message and establish positive societal change.”


Her faculty advisor for the project was Brit Rowe, associate professor of art and design.


“Design for Good is a strategic design initiative that initiated from our professional organization,” Rowe said. “I’ve incorporated this initiative in our curriculum. It challenges students – the future designers – to commit to public good, social impact and civic engagement. Students must master conceptual, critical-thinking and technical skills and know that their knowledge and skills can be used to help solve complex social and cultural problems.”


“Rebecca’s NACU application demonstrated exactly these curriculum goals and how design can influence successful, socially conscious initiatives. For example, one of her projects addressed a solution to urban decay and how designers can take responsibility by helping to rehabilitate these wounded urban environments.”


Carman’s award-winning submission exemplified the value of faculty mentoring and student initiative.


“I am lucky to have had great advisors such as Brit Rowe and (assistant professor of English) Jennifer Moore, who encouraged me to submit my designs in consideration for the NAC&U Student Excellence Award,” Carman said. “I appreciate and value their encouragement and guidance. They played a role in my success, and I was happy I could share this achievement with them.”


Currently, Carman works as a graphic and digital designer for the Office of Communications and Marketing at Ohio Northern University.


She was among three individuals who were recognized during the NAC&U conference at Valparaiso (Ind.) University.


NAC&U is a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size independent colleges and universities dedicated to the integration of liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.