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Stevenson's Student Design Agency Provides Career Connections

Last fall, nearly 20 students in Stevenson University’s inaugural Design Center course, taught in the School of Design, learned how to work for multiple clients. The course, co-taught by Stephanie Verni, Professor of Business Communication, and Inna Alesina, Assistant Professor of Art, served as an integrated marketing communication agency tasking students with understanding clients’ needs.

The students—who were business communication, graphic design, and film and moving image majors—were presented with the mission to establish a new design center. Students researched possible names and created brand identities for the in-house, student-run agency. These were pitched to faculty who chose the name “The Mill at Stevenson University.”

Once The Mill was established, the students focused on their second client, the Eastern Communication Association (ECA). Leeanne Bell McManus, Professor of Business Communication, was in charge of planning the annual convention for ECA in Pittsburgh, Pa. She assigned students to create collateral such as invitations, brochures, convention logos, videos, and social media messages to spread the word about Pittsburgh, ECA, and the convention.

Founded in 1910, ECA is the oldest professional communication association in the United States, and Stevenson students were able to work with scholars, teachers, and other students from across the region. Students from The Mill also presented on a panel at the convention, sharing their experiences of working with a client based on what they learned in the classroom.