Montgomery College professors want to give their students a relevant and rewarding educational experience. Moreover, they like to incorporate real-world experiences whenever they can. This spring, professors from two disciplines provided a unique opportunity for their students to collaborate on a Montgomery College recruitment postcard.
“This project gave communication studies students the opportunity to work closely with graphic design students—and even attend the graphic design class,” said Dr. Andrée Betancourt, assistant professor of communication studies, who helped facilitate student teams for the contest. She thinks the project was unique because of its interdisciplinary nature.
Professors from communications and graphic design created teams composed of three or four students from each discipline. Professor Valerie Roberts, who spearheaded the project, served as the project’s art director. Student teams met with several people from the College’s design committee, made up of MC communications staff and MC faculty, who acted as judges. The committee considered criteria including graphics and images, strategy, originality, content accuracy, writing style, attractiveness and layout. The judges also evaluated the teams on the energy and strategy when they pitched their concepts, emulating how marketing agencies would be evaluated by potential clients.
Winning the postcard competition was a surreal experience. When I received the postcard in the mail, it was so cool and rewarding to see my design go from the screen to print.
Jorge Munoz, a graphic design student, said working in a group was a fantastic idea: “Despite the inconveniences caused by the pandemic with its confinement, we were able to develop our independent ideas together.”
Teams provided writing and design for a postcard advertising summer session classes to MCPS juniors and seniors. The winning design mailed in May.
“Winning the postcard competition was a surreal experience. When I received the postcard in the mail, it was so cool and rewarding to see my design go from the screen to print,”said graphic design student Juliane Swarr. “I think the main goal for me when designing the postcard was to stay true to the Montgomery College brand and identity.
Guest presenters from MC’s Office of Communications, Senior Associate Vice President Ray Gilmer and Marketing Director Emily Schmidt, showed the student teams examples of previous postcards and newsletters to give them direction. In addition, they provided sage advice about working in marketing and communications.
“Learning about the role of communication from industry insiders enabled students to envision career possibilities,” said Betancourt.
“This was such a refreshing experience to collaborate and share ideas with my team members and get feedback. Each one in the group had a unique skillset and was able to bring to this project their ‘A-game,’” said Paul Simmons, a Montgomery College graphic design student. “I hope the College continues to offer its design students opportunities like this in the future.”