USM Design Students’ Work Displayed at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal & Forrest County

Thu, 10/06/2022 – 11:09am | By: Van Arnold

A collage of the students workAn extensive, collaborative project involving graphic design students at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the Library of Hattiesburg Petal & Forrest County has culminated with several students’ work being displayed.

The students comprise a sophomore/junior-level course taught by USM Assistant Professor of Design Linh Nguyen. The project called for them to design teaching materials to help educate the community, visitors, and other guests about the renowned career of Will Eisner, considered to be the father of graphic novel work.

A Mississippi Humanities Council Grant secured by the library helped pave the way for a six-week-long Graphic Novel Celebration event (Sept. 12-Oct. 22) showcasing Eisner’s career. Nguyen points out that the students were tasked to develop, design, and create a Special Event Collateral Campaign, featuring two essential components: design an Informational Poster and a 12-page Educational Booklet in a comic book format.

Judges for the project chose five primary winners whose poster and booklet designs are on display. Those include:

Mackenzie Masters, of Laurel, Miss., (for Eisner’s work in the military)

Elizabeth McPhail, of Jayess, Miss., (for Eisner’s work, “A Contract to God”)

Jeremy Thompson, of Sumrall, Miss., (for Eisner’s work, “The Spirit”

Grace May, of Puckett, Miss., (for Eisner’s later work)

Karson Gunn (for Eisner’s early works)

Nguyen noted that the library’s original plan called for the display of just five designs. However, due to the quality of the student’s efforts, five others were also selected. Those included:

Autumn Webb, of Gulfport, Miss.

Ben Brunetz, of Madison, Miss.

Faith Pearce, Magee, Miss.

Willie Cooks, of Hattiesburg, Miss.

Josie Russell, of Magee, Miss.

Cherise Mann, D’Iberville, Miss.

“It was a pleasure working with these students over the summer,” said Nguyen. “They took what they learned from the Graphic Design Service-Learning course and implemented the lessons outside of class. They not only show dedication and drive for getting the job done and done well, but they also showed their civic duty to their community and embraced using graphic design for social good.”

Nguyen continued: “It didn’t matter what it took, they were there to complete the project and to help their community. This is the type of work ethic, drive, and dedication that will make these students successful when they graduate from Southern Miss.”

The Art & Design and Graphic Design programs are housed within the School of Performing and Visual Arts at USM. To learn more, call 601.266.4161 or visit: