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Ad Design Students’ Work to be Put to Good Use for State’s Employee Charitable Campaign


West Windsor, N.J.In the capstone projects for their Ad Design III class, Mercer County Community College's (MCCC's) student graphic artists impressed a panel of judges representing the NJ State Employee Charitable Campaign (NJSECC) with a comprehensive marketing campaign.  But even better, the NJSECC plans to put their designs and ideas to good use.

According to Advertising/Graphic Design Program Coordinator Tina LaPlaca, each year, the program selects a nonprofit organization in need of a marketing redo and then turns the assignment over to advanced students who get to work designing a campaign for a real client in need.  Campaigns include logos, slogans, newsletter designs, web pages, posters, promotional items and more.  This year, five teams of students took up the challenge.

Susan O’Brien, NJSECC Campaign Manager, said the students did such a terrific job that the panel of judges was split between Team Brody and Team Wolfgang. They ultimately decided to use elements from both campaigns. (The judges are representatives of the Federations that participate in the NJSECC and serve on the organization's steering committee.)

O’Brien has continued working with student Abigail Schwendeman on NJSECC’s new branding and Michael Finazzo on the website. “Both of these students have gone above and beyond the original assignment to see it through,” O’Brien said, adding that she would happily provide references for either one in their future job searches.

LaPlaca is proud of her students' professionalism and commitment to the project. “These advanced students are truly at a point in their education where they are ready to take on a challenge of this kind.  There is no substitute for working for and getting feedback from an actual client,” she said.


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The ad design winners included, second from left to right, Obadiah Moore (back), Ramzee Shabaz, Mariam Oganesyan, Stephanie Badilla-Cedeno, Kalen Clark (back), Kaitlyn Cegielski, Michael Finazzo, Abigail Schwendeman and Meredith Baum (front). They are pictured with judges, from far left, Valerie Brown of United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern NJ and Susan O’Brien, NJSECC Campaign Manager, and, at far right, Paula Aldarelli of EarthShare NJ and George Xuereb of United Way of Essex & West Hudson.

Ready to present! One of the two winning teams, front row,
Kaitlyn Cegielski and Meredith Baum; back from from left,
Kalen Clark, Abigail Schwendeman and Michael Finazzo.
Schwendeman and Finazzo have continued to work with
the client after the completion of the assignment.