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GDUSA selects MIAD Students to Watch 2024

Brady VanderHart ’24 and Emma Jenkins ’25, Communication Design majors at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), were named Students to Watch 2024 by Graphic Design USA magazine (GDUSA).

GDUSA also named MIAD a 2024 Top Design School and recently awarded three additional students 60th Anniversary Design Competition Awards.

VanderHart and Jenkins had much to say about their love of Communication Design (CD), their MIAD education and their advice for newer students.

Like many MIAD students, Jenkins says, she has “always been passionate about creating. What I love about Communication Design is that it lets me use this creativity to solve real-world problems…. It’s exciting to know that the possibilities really are endless.”

VanderHart also believes he shares something with other MIAD students. “Like many others, I struggle with imposter syndrome, and feeling like I am not good enough. Being recognized for this has given me the confidence to keep my head held high and mitigate self-doubt.”

“MIAD has provided an atmosphere for me to flourish, and I have taken full advantage,” he says. “I push to take as many classes as I can pile on, in as many departments as possible. All in order to be the most well-rounded creative professional I can be before setting off into the world.”

Jenkins also advises students to “to step out of your comfort zone any and every chance you get. The most important things I have learned so far have come from taking a (nerve wracking) leap of faith. I promise it’s worth it!”

“I’ve [also] learned that spending time away from our work is so important for creative people,” she says. “Sometimes you need to take a step back for the missing piece to finally click.”

As VanderHart prepares for his career as a creative professional (“the most important thing I’ve learned at MIAD”), he is designing for a cause: the “mitigation of social anxiety, as it pertains to fitness. My senior thesis is an app concept dedicated to reducing the anxiety that inhibits some from pursuing their fitness goals. This … has caused resistance for myself, as well as many others in making exercise a habit.”

Both students believe MIAD does “a really good job of providing us with the resources needed to be successful designers, and this includes helping us to find jobs and internships,” says Jenkins.

“We are taught graphic design skills, of course, but also the ability to make confident and considered creative decisions,” says VanderHart. “MIAD CD graduates make incredible art and creative directors because of this fundamental capacity.”

Learn more about MIAD’s award-winning Communication Design major, and watch VanderHart discuss the marketing and branding he did for the “Wobble” planter with Carl Sabroff ’24 (Product Design) on Fox6 News.

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