USM Graphic Design Students Honored at ADDY Awards

By Ivonne Kawas

Students from the Graphic Design area ​​in The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Art and Design program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, were honored with a total of 53 awards at the American Advertising Federation Mississippi Gulf Coast (AAF-MS Gulf Coast) Awards, also known as the ADDYs, through a virtual awards show.

This year’s collective award count includes: 16 Gold and 33 Silver ADDYs, three Student Judge’s Choice, and a Best of Show.

“This prestige from ADDYs helps to create notoriety and strengthen a ‘brand’ of sorts, which can be beneficial to students entering the job market by indicating how great their education is, but also for potential high school students looking to receive the best education,” said Jacob Cotton, assistant professor in the Art and Design program. “Students also gain confidence which gives them the ability to take risks and allows them to grow.”

Parker Estes, a recent USM graduate and native of Petal, Miss., won the Best of Show for “You Are a Nurse,” a series of motion graphics that aimed to bring awareness to the ubiquity of worsening labor conditions for hospital nurses in the U.S., along with two Gold and one Silver.

“For me, and I imagine for many creatives, the most difficult aspect of the work we do is maintaining a healthy relationship with self-criticism,” Estes said. “To have your work recognized by trained professionals in one’s own field is a unique and humbling validation of all the late nights, second guessing, and discarded ideas that led to the final product.”

Christian Gammill, a Graphic Design student and native of Hattiesburg, Miss., won a Student Judge’s Choice for the packing design of a beer brand “Empress Gangan – 4 pack,” along with six Gold and one Silver.

He says it meant a great deal to him, “I am honored and blessed to be recognized for my work. I cannot wait to see how my projects hold up at district level and am excited to continue to embrace my creativity.”

Sydney Beech, a senior graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design and native of Ellisville, Miss., won six Gold and two Silver ADDYs. “It is such a special feeling to be recognized and applauded for something you put so much time and effort into,” Beech said. “I’ve grown so much as a designer and person during my time in the BFA program, and these awards serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come!”

Jeff Jones, who serves as VP of Education with AAF-MS Gulf Coast, presented the awards and praised students for planting their creative seeds during the ceremony.

“We are honored to recognize some of the amazing talent that will indeed continue to plant the seeds of inspired content, as this next generation of creative masterminds lead our industry to even greater heights,” he said.

The USM AAF-MS Gulf Coast ADDY Award winners, who will move forward to regionals include:

Sydney Beech: 6 Gold, 2 Silver; Hannah Cantrell: 5 Silver; Monte (Ali) Coleman: 1 Silver; Anna Denette: 1 Gold, 1 Silver; Deborah Elam: 1 Silver; Parker Estes: Best of Show, 2 Gold, 1 Silver; Caitlin Finch: 1 Gold, 2 Silver; Karson Gunn: 2 Silver; Michael (Christian) Gammill: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 6 Gold, 1 Silver; Preston Humphrey: 1 Silver; Brant Jambon: 2 Silver; Breanna Laborde: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 1 Silver; Mackenzie Masters: 1 Silver; Noah Rogers: 2 Silver; Maddie Seale: 3 Silver; Caitlyn Schintzius: 4 Silver; Keely Trail: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 2 Silver.