Higher Edge, New London/Public Practice, Connecticut College Collaboration

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Getting Students to and Through College

Higher Edge ART 310 Design: Public Practice Spring 2019

Table of Contents

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Introduction Design Team Community Partnerships Design Thinking Process Social Design Matrix Middle School Toolkit High School Toolkit Dancing for Degrees Event Financial Aid & Scholarships Promotional Poster and Banners Volunteer Engagement Digital Storytelling Time Managment Tools Visual Information Social Media Transportation Project Acknowledgements Selected Bibliography Colophon 3

Introduction ART 310 Design: Public Practice is an upper level studio art course at Connecticut College that offers an in-depth exploration of methods and processes of public-based social design for creating social change through the power of design thinking. This semester we were fortunate to work with the non-profit organization Higher Edge. Higher Edge is based in New London and Willimantic and is dedicated to guiding low-income and first-generation students through enrollment, retention, and graduation from college by providing the support and resources needed for success. Our work this semester was collaborative, designed and implemented in conjunction with Higher Edge and students in the College Access Program and the Success Program. The course introduced us to methods, practices and processes of design and issues affecting the design discipline including new technologies, cultural and environmental implications, user and outcome. All explorations were project based supported by research and included new media and traditional forms of making both object, image and time-based works.


Introduction We were fortunate to receive funding this semester with a Margaret Sheridan ‘67 Community-Learning Course and Research Grant from the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. This grant assisted us with research and materials and the implementation of projects during the semester.

The Holleran Center supports communitybased research in areas of social justice concerns such as economic opportunity, health and wellness, the environment, K-12 education, youth development, and art/culture/public space. Community-learning takes many forms, including internships, action research, courses with required service components, and more. The common denominator is the deliberate linking of community partnerships, academic study, and structured reflection.”

At the end of the semester we also received funding from the Connecticut College Career Informed Learning program for a project initiated by Jeff Deutsch ’96 titled “The Transportation Project” which introduced students to a public transportation visual campaign for Higher Edge. Career Informed Learning is a project-based learning approach to education that brings real-life work challenges into the classroom for students to research, analyze and develop solutions. The challenges are proposed by Connecticut College alumni and parents who have expertise in the areas the students are studying in class.


Design Team Nadia Bednarczuk

Emily Ehler

Annie Breakstone

Quinlan Low

Jacob Brill-Weil

Cal Nadeau

Jillian Edwards

Olga Nikolaeva

Major: Product Design & Studio Art Class of 2019

Major: Art History Minor: Art & Dance Class of 2019 Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology

Major: Architectural Studies Minor: Government Class of 2020

Major: Architectural Studies Minor: English & Art Class of 2019

Major: Psychology Minor: Studio Art & Classics Class of 2019

Major: Architectural Studies & Studio Art Class of 2019

Major: Architectural Studies Class of 2019

Major: Architectural Studies & Art History Minor: East Asian Studies Class of 2019 Certificate: Museum Studies

Ezra Norris

Megan Webber

Lera Shynkarova

Andrea Wollensak

Major: Studio Art Class of 2021 Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology

Major: Economics Pathway: Entrepreneurship Class of 2020

Major: Government Minor: Economics & Architectural Studies Class of 2019

Professor of Studio Art Director of the Ammerman Center for Art and Technology

Erin Smith

Major: Studio Art Class of 2019

Natasha Strugatz

Major: Art History Minor: English Class of 2020 Ammerman Center for Art & Technology Certificate: Museum Studies 7



Design Thinking Process We worked within a few different models for design for social impact and included Emily Pilloton’s model for social change and engagement: • Design Through Action • Design with, not for • Design Systems, Not Stuff • Document, Share, and Measure • Start Locally, and Scale Globally and Andrew Shea’s “Designing for Social Change” guidelines: • Immerse Yourself • Build Trust • Prioritize Process • Confront Controversy • Utilize Local Resources • Identify the Community’s Voice • Give Communities Ownership • Sustained Engagement


Winterhouse Social Design Matrix

The Social Design Matrix was designed by 20 social design educators in 2013 at the Winterhouse Symposium. The purpose of the matrix is to allow designers to think about the “bigger picure� when designing for various social problems, where the X axis represents Range of Experience and the Y axis represents Scale of Engagement. http://www.winterhouseinstitute.org/


Higher Edge Social Design Matrix

Featuring Higher Edge in widely read print material

Expand Higher Edge through the US with the use of TED talks and workshops

Design teams for various universities hosting Higher Edge events accross the country

Infographics on benefits of higher education

New London and Willimantic annual College Fairs; peer tutoring in Spanish and French Creole

Online workshops on time management and organizatioal skills, application guidance, self care and counseling services

Informational pamphlets or print material for Higher Edge

Events based on toolkits produced by Public Practice teams

Higher Edge mobile application

RANGE OF EXPERIENCE In this course, we used the concept of the matrix to visualize what our involvement with Higher Edge would look like if we were to “scale up� to a different level, whether that be through scale of engagement or range of experience. The above matrix is a representation of what our scaling up would look like. 11

Middle School Toolkit Megan Webber, Annie Breakstone, & Nadia Bednarczuk

The middle school toolkit attempts to engage with prospective Higher Edge students. In order to engage with this community, we created a couple main projects. These project include an interactive booklet, coloring book, stickers, and swag items. The material is aimed at inspiring middle schoolers to pursue their hobbies, passions, and dreams.

Final Product Our final product or toolkit included a coloring book, an engagement poster, and stickers. We chose to use a lightbulb as the overarching theme for each project. The final colors and designs are graphic in order to engage this particular audience and create products that were deemed age appropriate and not too juvenile.

Social Design Matrix Development When we first began our project, we met with Theresa to discuss the goals and options for the toolkit. We wanted to create engaging and promotional materials that would help middle school students get involved with the college process and future goals. However, in order to appropriately engage with this age group, the projects focused on students’ hobbies, passions, and favorite classes in order to apply these interests to their futures. We collectively decided to create an engagement brochure, stickers, and coloring book.

Process The designs for each sub-project went through several iterations. We envisioned several different objects and symbols for the overall concept and theme for the brochure, coloring book, and stickers. We focused on different layouts and iterations that would effectively engage the middle schoolers and convey the stories of the success students.

In order to scale up this project we would include more success student stories. We would also create workshops with middle school students in order to engage with them and to inform them about the Higher Edge program.

Sustainability The sustainability of our project relies on the templates we have created for Higher Edge for each project. We used the font Rockwell consistently throughout the entire coloring book and utilized the Century Gothic font for the poster. For the images of students we used the filter ‘stamp’ on Photoshop as well as cut away their backgrounds.


Coloring Book Development This project was originally intended for a younger audience, however we began to brainstorm how to target a coloring book for the middle school age group that would inspire creativity and future engagement with Higher Edge.

Process We came up with several iterations of the student spreads, backgrounds, cover pages, and iterative quote pages. We also developed several iterations for the structure and layout of the entire book. We simplified and streamlined the graphics and theme of the book in correlation with the engagement poster.

Final Product The final product highlights four success students with a graphic rendition of their image, a personalized background, and information on their academic career. We chose to break up the success student spreads with inspirational quotes and thoughtful questions for students to engage with. The Higher Edge colors are carried throughout the book and pairs well with the engagement poster.

Coloring Book

Success Student Stories


Engagement Poster & Stickers Development

Final Product

This poster started as a zine like flipbook for students to engage with, however we decided to simplify its form to an interactive double sided poster.

The final product is a double sided poster. The front side highlights the variety of jobs, careers, and industries after college while the back side in an interactive fill in the bubble questionnaire to help students to start thinking about their future.

Process We came up with a variety of ideas for what kind of poster a student might want on their wall. Balloons and other objects were iterated out although the lightbulb allowed for us to use informative text and an aesthetic image.

Development The purpose of this project was to reimagine the Higher Edge logo and stickers using imagery that would engage the middle school audience. Our goal was for the stickers to be more of a swag item that students could trade and look for rather than just a marketing tool.

Process The process of creating the stickers focused mostly on making sure that the Higher Edge logo was integrated with the new graphics and was legible. In addition to this, lots of research was conducted to create engaging graphics that utilize the Higher Edge colors. Over the semester numerous designs were created for each sticker, from which we narrowed down and refined to create the final designs.

Final Product The final product utilizes imagery from the rest of the toolkit. The use of balloons, geometric backgrounds and comic style graphics, allow the sticker to appeal to a younger audience.


High School Toolkit Emily Ehler & Natasha Strugatz & Jacob Brill-Weil

Our group had the pleasure of creating a toolkit for high schoolers that can be used at both informational fairs as well as Higher Edge events. The components of our toolkit are intended to be very tactile and interactive as well as informative for each student. Our goal was to create a dynamic group of tools to help prospectice students understand what Higher Edge can help them with in regards to the college application process.

Development Our goal was to create a fun and interactive toolkit that could be utilized by Higher Edge and their students. We wanted to include a type of “college question” game that would benefit both the Higher Edge information table and the prospective/current students of Higher Edge. We also wanted to create types of interactive booklets that would not only give students information about the program, but also information about alumni. All of these materials will be placed in a drawstring bag.

Process We worked with Theresa and Mauro from Higher Edge to discuss ideas about what would engage a high school student. We decided that a spin wheel with sectors matching the topics of our question cards would be fun and appropriate. We also decided that smaller foldable information and alumni booklets would be easier for students to carry around and put in their pockets.

Final Product Our final product resulted in a “spin it to win it” wheel that had sectors labeled with broad topics like “SAT/ACT” and “Colleges”, coinciding card sets that can be taken home by students, an information booklet that when opened up reveals a CAP timeline, an Alumni booklet that features students who have gone through the Higher Edge programs that when opened up reveals more contact information and a blue cloth drawstring bag with a large white printed “Higher Edge” logo.


Information and Alumni Booklets Development We wanted to create a booklet, pamphlet, or sheet that students would be able to learn from and that would be portable enough to take the material with them. We wanted this material to be attention grabbing, but with brief, effective messaging. During our development, we played with different concepts to engage students in important material while still maintaining elements of fun and creativity.

Process We decided that a booklet would be the most effective way to convey the information we wanted. We saw the college flags hung up at the Higher Edge office and were inspired and wanted to incorporate these into our design. We also wanted to highlight alumnus because the student’s experience is most influential.

Final Product We ended making an information booklet and alumni booklet for the students to take with them after they have played the “spin it to win it� game. The information booklet has basic information about Higher Edge and the programs that they offer and on the back is a CAP timeline. The alumni booklet has profiles of students who have gone through the CAP program and provided students with advice on the college process and how Higher Edge has helped them. It is suggested that the backs of each booklet are engaging so the students would possibly want to hang it up on their wall and keep referring to it throughout the college process.

“Spin it to Win it” Game and Wheel Development We wanted to create a fun, and creative way to engage students to start thinking about the college process. We thought a “spin it to win it” game would be most effective because there would be an incentive for the students to win prizes while learning about the college process.

Process We knew that we wanted to do a game for the high schoolers to be engaged where they learn about Higher Edge as an organization and the college process. Therefore, we thought the “spin it to win it” game was most effective for this group of students because it was not too youthful, and would capture their attention.

Final Product We ended up choosing a wheel that could be spun because this engaged the student in an active way. After they spun the wheel, the arrow would land on a categories relating to the college process and Higher Edge that would correlate with a information card. This card has a question that the student will be asked about the category they chose. In the end, if they get the question right, they receive a prize from Higher Edge. This will encourage the students to look into Higher Edge as an organization after they have finished playing the game.


DANCING FOR DEGREES Cal Nadeau, Erin Smith, Jillian Edwards November 03, 2018 Connecticut College Crozier-Williams 1962 Room


Sustaining Our Work

The event planning for the Dancing for Degrees fundraiser commenced with several meetings with Theresa, the Executive Director of Higher Edge, to further understand her vision for an event that would both fit the theme set forth by promotional materials and the organization’s image as a whole.

When meeting with Theresa and reviewing renderings, we explained the intentions behind each arrangement and how they would affect the attendee’s experience during the event. Further, we have put together an overview of different event planning techniques that led to our team’s success in putting together Dancing for Degrees. The techniques described in this guide are applicable to any space so that as the organization grows and hosts events in different settings, the techniques will be able to be translated to suit each setting. Furthermore, we created several backdrops for the photobooth so that it can be used not only at future events, but also in the Higher Edge offices as a backdrop for students and Higher Edge staff to take professional-style headshots for college applications and other uses.

The primary objective of the event was to raise the funds necessary for both the College Access and Success Programs as they each respectively welcomed their own new classes of Higher Edge students. Funds would also be used to expand the array of promotional materials offered by Higher Edge in order to further spread the word about their mission and work within


Process With a budget set and necessities in mind, we created many renderings to represent ways in which the space could be arranged to create the most dynamic and efficient environment possible in Crozier-Williams’ 1962 Room. We thoroughly considered who would be attending the event in addition to how different areas of the space would be moved throughout by attendees as the event progressed. Finally, we created an expense report to be mindful of our budget as we began purchasing materials to transform the space for the event.

2 5'-103 4"

11'-6" 44'-941"





9' 8'-10"






17'-8" 17'-2"

3'-6" 21'-1"


8'-10" CANDY BAR




6' 56'-141"

The Event After several days of installation, the space was well prepared for the event. We included stations such as a photobooth, a cash bar, and a lounge for attendees to enjoy after performances ended. The arrangement of the space allowed for seating for attendees to watch the performances with ample room for catering, a dance floor, and the aforementioned attractions without distracting from the primary goal of the event: raising funds for Higher Edge to further pursue their mission.

Financial Aid & Scholarships In-House Material Quinlan Low, Nadia Bednarczuk, Jacob Brill-Weil, Ezra Norris

Creating material for high school students and family members to have a better understanding of the financial aid process and learning about scholarship opportunities.

Social Design Matrix


The products created in this group is to help high school students and families have a general understanding of what to expect during the high school process, and scholarship and financial opportunities they can apply for. All of the material can be used for all high school students going through this process.

These scholarship information cards can be updated by Higher Edge any time because there is a Google Sheet for them to update the necessary fields.


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College Applica tion Calend ar


Attend Su Begin O mmer Institute ne -on-O ne Mee tings Registe r SAT/AC

for SAT

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Scholarships Development

Final Product

Our group updated the existing Local Scholarships handout that is given to high school students. We decided that we wanted to make this document more attractive by introducing colors and having this item be more interactive.

Created a poster that includes cards that have information about various scholarships. This poster will be displayed in the Higher Edge offices (New London and Waterford). The poster is 11� x 17� that displays the month of when certain scholarships are due. With this board, it will be easy for anyone to see the various scholarships offered.

Process The current Local Scholarships document and updated the information about each scholarship to see if it still existed. Looking at the layout, I knew that there could be a way for high school students to engage and easily understand what each scholarship is. Including the name, a brief overview of the scholarship, requirements, deadline, and website is key and gives the high school students a sense of what scholarships they are eligible for.


The individual scholarship cards display general information about the scholarships that high schoolers can apply for. Students will be able to take off the cards from the board and place it back in its original place.

January Scholarship Opportunities

Navigating Financial Aid Development Our group looked at the existing Navigating Financial Aid handout for high school students. We noticed that this document could be updated and organized a little differently so that it would be easier to read.

Process At first, we thought about making this document into a brochure where each fold would have different sections of the process to bring more structure to the document.

We organized the text and tried to figure out if it’s easier to read the information in a vertical or horizontal format. We worked with the grid structure and kept the same icons. There are many ways to organize this kind of document, but really we had to understand the goal of what the families wanted to get out of it.

Final Product We ended up designing this document into a vertical format that can be printed out on an 8.5 x 11� paper. We kept the same aesthetics and text as the previous document.

College Application Material Development This project began by looking at the already existing College Application Timeline handout given to high school students. We wanted to use the same information but direct this towards a different audience, such as the parents and other family members.

Process We came up with 9 different iterations of how we can visually understand the college application process in its simplest form. We also narrowed down the language on the postcard so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for family members.


Final Product During this project, the final product ended up becoming a magnet. The colors help emphasize the simple organization of the information for each month of the college process. We simplified the amount of text from the original document so that it would not be that overwhelming.

Promotional Posters and Banners Annie Breakstone, Ezra Norris, Jacob Brill-Weil, and Olga Nikolaeva

The posters and promotional banners work to engage the widest audience by appealing to students from middle school to adulthood. The promotional material emphasizes the students and their own work, that Higher Edge has helped them achieve. Each designed for its own purpose, the posters and banners serve to highlight Higher Edge’s effects on the community and inspire others to get involved.



We wanted to create posters and banners that would raise awareness and interest in Higher Edge as well as what the work they’re doing is.

Each project we created, has a specific grid and template. This will allow the Higher Edge team to update and reproduce each project as they see fit. The I’m Becoming posters can even be printed on any color printer, as we made it a point to use an 11x17 format.

Process We worked as a team and with Higher Edge to decide what types of posters and banners would be most useful and effective at spreading the information about Higher Edge. We came up with many different types of material and narrowed the projects down to the three we decided would be most effective at delivering the information we wanted to share.

Final Product

Social Design Matrix To scale up this project our first step would be including as many student stories as we could. Another opportunity to scale up this project is to find more locations to put the posters like bus stops or newspaper advertisements. The plan now is to place them in the high school, but spreading them throughout New London and Willimantic would reach a wider audience.

Our final products included a series of “I’m Becoming” posters, each focused on a different success student. In addition to this we also created a pull up banner with a similar theme, focusing on a success student and what they are becoming. Our final project was another pull up banner focused on sparking interest in Higher Edge and the work they are doing and encouraging people to do further research to find out more. This final banner was important as it would interest all types of people whether they be potential students or possible volunteers.


I’m Becoming Posters Development The intention of this project is to inspire high school students by seeing their peers reaching their goals.

Process The process of creating the posters relied heavily on the student images themselves. The formatting and background of each image determined the grid and location of each block of information, as well as how the space was used. Our goal as a team was to create posters that were engaging, clean, clear and concise. Our audience for these specific posters are typically on the go, running between classes, leaving them little time to read in depth into a poster. This pushed us to create eye catching designs.

Final Product The final product is a collection of posters that focus on success student images and stories. This highlights the work of Higher Edge and will hopefully inspire younger students to learn more about Higher Edge.


Pull Up Banners Development The intention behind the banners was to create strong graphic imagery to create eye catching designs. The goal of these pull up banners, is to attract the audience to the table at the various fairs and events that the Higher Edge team goes attends.

“Getting students to and through college.�

Process We worked with the Higher Edge team to come up with informative and captivating banners. Through the process we experimented with different types of banners for different purposes and through critiques and notes from Higher Edge we refined our designs and narrowed the final product down to two separate banners, one being type based and the other being photo based.

Final Product The two banners we decided to create had two different purposes. The first was the type based one with the purpose of sparking an interest in Higher Edge which was simple and straightforward with a focus on the logo and ways to learn more such as email and website information. Similar to the I’m Becoming posters, the other banner we designed focused on a specific success student that was currently in the Higher Edge Program and used an image of the student with information about them and the goal Higher Edge was helping them to achieve.


Volunteer Engagement Nadia Bednarczuk & Quinlan Low The Volunteer Engagement quote cards are meant to remind individuals to engage with Higher Edge in more ways than just donating. By creating aesthetically pleasing cards with motivational quotes, we hope to remind volunteers that Higher Edge is thankful and always looking for support.

Design Development

Final Product

When we first began our project, Higher Edge encouraged us to design something that was small but memorable. With that being said we wanted to create something that would thank a previous volunteer for their support while at the same time something that a passerby

We designed 2.5� square cards with an inspirational quotes on the front and Higher Edge’s contact information on the back. The color combinations were chosen to stand alone and as a group or like a collectible item. We used the flag form from the websites donate page as the inspiration for the layout.

Process The designs for each card side went through several iterations. We envisioned several different orientations and layouts. We found that text can be most powerful when presented simply as a way to engage volunteers and convey their impact on Higher Edge students.

Social Design Matrix In order to scale up this project, these quote cards could be expanded as a series for the volunteers and Higher Edge students as another way to deepen that relationship and continue to presence of Higher Edge.

Sustainability Each quote card can be edited from a template that will be given to Higher Edge.


Digital Storytelling Lera Shynkarova and Olga Nikolaeva

This project is set to introduce Higher Edge’s work to a wider community through multiple short videos. Additionally, videos may serve as promotional materials through which the organization will attract new volunteers and partners. Overall, this project is aimed at increasing Higher Edge’s visibility and spreading its mission.

Development After the initial research and the Empathy stage of social design process, we identified key objectives for Higher Edge’s promotional agenda. We intended to present the mission, vision, and values of Higher Edge in a clear and concise manner through videos. Overall, this project is aimed at increasing Higher Edge’s visibility and spreading its mission.

Process We began our research process by consulting with Higher Edge’s executive director, Theresa Armendarez, to get a better understanding of the organization’s current needs and their future vision for engagement tactics. Additionally, we did extensive research on successful promotional videos in the nonprofit sector. Throughout the process, we communicated with Higher Edge staff in order to film a short interview-based video. The videos underwent prototyping and refining stages based on executive director’s comments and art critiques.


Digital Storytelling Final Product Video 1: Duration: 1:45 - 2:00 minutes. The fist part of the video features facts about higher education and organization’s impact along icons that serve as visual aid and match Higher Edge’s identity. The second part is a call for volunteers and donors. Higher Edge’s logo appears throughout the video, and social media handles are mentioned in the last scene.

Video 2: Duration: 1:15-1:30 minutes. The initial part of the video shows facts about higher education and lists ways in which Higher Edge helps students achieve success. The background is compiled of video-footage representing young people in academic settings. The last part of the video encourages the audience to follow Higher Edge on social media and explore its website.

Video 3: Duration: 1:00-1:10 minutes. The video consists of interviews with Higher Edge’s staff, who share their positions and work at Higher Edge. Each staff member shares their professional and personal connection with the organization.


Social Design Matrix Through the Social Design Matrix by Winterhouse Institute, we were able to map out the resources and ranges of expertise required to address complex challenges in higher education. Our team proposed cross sector collaboration with Connecticut College film and education majors to produce bienneal promotional videos, thereby allowing for sustainable visibility of Higher Edge.


Time Management Tools Lera Shynkarova and Jillian Edwards Assisted by Olga Nikolaeva, Ezra Norris, and Erin Smith

This project aims to provide a new way for Higher Edge to present their informational handouts and to help students take ownership of their time management throughout the College Access Program.

Development The visual information team started by exploring different styles of calendars and planners. Our goal was to create a time management tool that Higher Edge students would actually find helpful throughout a college application period. We came up with three main tools: a classic blank calendar that features monthly tasks on the side, a weekly planner, and an engaging cube cut-out model that one would put on their desk.

Process We began the research process by consulting with the Academic Resource Center at Connecticut College to improve our understanding of time management and useful engagement tactics. We then proceeded by communicating with Higher Edge staff in order to identify monthly tasks, organize a packet system, and reconcile their vision with ours. We approached our final design by assessing and refining prototype calendars and packet sets.


Time Management Tools Final Product

OCT 2019

Week One

Final time management tools include a grid calendar, a four-week planner, and a planner cube cut-out model. Each product caters to a specific time management style and allows for a creative planning approach. There are eight iterations of each planner with specific monthly tasks featured in them. In addition, we designed a list of stickers, which include various task icons related to the college application process.

Week Two Week Three Week Four

NOVEMBER 2019 Essays CSS Profile Common App Recommendations

COLLEGE By the end of the month will



By the end of the month

By the end of the month




OTHER By the end of the month will

Our team also redesigned existing informational handouts and organized updated visuals into four packets. Each packet includes forms and handouts sorted and combined chronologically in accordance with the Higher Edge’s College Access Program timeline.

FAFSA workshop

Personal and supplemental essays

Getting students to and through college. Visit college campuses

Compile a resume


The Community’s Support of a College Education Association of retired teachers of CT: Glenn Moon Scholarship Fund Open to students planning to pursue a career in education Black Engineering Council Open to students who identify as African American attending high school in New London County and who have maintained a minimum GPA of a 2.5 Deadline: First week in March Bulkeley Scholarship Fund Open to student who live in New London only. (May attend school outside of NL such as St. Bernard’s, Grasso Tech, Norwich Tech, Three Rivers Middle College). Must be in the top ⅓ of graduating class. (Renewable each year if student maintains a B average in college) Charter Oak Federal Credit Union Open to students with a GPA of at least 3.0 who have demonstrated a strong involvement in extracurricular activities/community service. Special consideration given to students with financial need Chet Advance Scholarship Open to high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.0 Christopher Potvin Memorial Scholarship Open to student-athletes who have maintained a “B” average and who have demonstrated characteristics of good sportsmanship Community Foundation of Southeastern CT 250 scholarships available to students from towns across Eastern CT CT Association of Latin Americans In Higher Education (Calahe) Multiple scholarships available to Latino/Latina students who have lived in CT during the last 12 months and who are either a US citizen or a permanent


Sustainability Out team ensured that all time management products successfully remain relevant in future, and that producing new materials does not require special expertise or usage of costly design software. The informational handout templates, along with calendars and planners, are editable through Google Drive, which is the primary file sharing platform used by Higher Edge staff.

FORMAT: 1 inch margins (top, bottom, left, right) FONTS: Body: Century Gothic


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Visual Information Jillian Edwards and Olga Nikolaeva

This group worked on Higher Edge’s informational posters and banners, as well as the map that illustrates that the organization has a far reach. First, we updated and redesigned two large posters in the Higher Edge classroom, one of which shows important events for the Success Program, while the other shows milestones for the College Access Program. The target audience are prospective and current Higher Edge students. Addittionally, we have created two banners with the same information, but for a different audience. We are targeting donors and parents, who need to familiarize themselves with Higher Edge’s work, as well as keep up with the schedule of events. Lastly, we created a map that illustrates Higher Edge’s spread across the United States.

Development Before compiling ideas for projects, we visited Higher Edge and familiarized ourselves with their existing visual information material and audience. This helped set the stage for our goals within the designs and the designs, themselves. After examining the information on the original College Access Program and Success Program posters, we concluded that the information could best be described as a timeline. So we studied different timeline designs, keeping in mind that a simple and comprehensible design would likely be most appropriate for the young audience of these posters.

Process We began by individually coming up with several different designs that could be applied to both posters. After presenting our strongest designs and receiving feedback from Higher Edge, we continued to develop two designs. We kept in consistent contact with Higher Edge, confirming the information that would go on the posters and making sure to incorporate their most recent photographs. At one point in the design process, Higher Edge decided that they preferred that one of the designs be applied for portable banners.


Redesign of CAP and Success Program Posters Final Product We created two pairs of large posters to be hung in both of Higher Edge’s offices and two portable banners to be presented at different education events. Every pair consisted of the College Access Program timeline and the Success Program timeline. We also produced a few posters, including redesigns of the organization’s College Access Program and Success Program posters for the classroom and for two new portable banners, and a new map of the colleges’ locations that their students attend.

Social Design Matrix We used Winterhouse Institute Social Design Pathways Model to brainstorm opportunities for scaling up. The project could benefit from interdisciplinary expertise, namely from collaboration with software engineers, thereby allowing to create the Higher Edge App. The application would include time management tools, appointment scheduling, timelines, and planning tips. Such an upgrade is useful for tracking students’ progress and is more interactive form of application process guidance.


College Access Program August September October

Students attend Summer Institute and start writing their personal essays. 1-on-1 meetings with advisor begin.

Register for ACT/SAT.

Families attend FAFSA Night to omplete e er l fi l application.

Success Program August September October

Success Advisors get on the road to start their success college visits.

Success Advisors continue visits to provide Sustained coaching, Academic, Financial & Emotional support.

Success Advisors finish their first round of visits.


Finish personal essays. Complete Common Application. S m t CSS Profile


Volunteers help prepare Fall Care Packages sent to students prior to exams.


Submit Common Application to colleges! Follow up with Admissions.


Success Advisors work with students to resubmit their FAFSA, CSS Profiles and any verification documents.


Students attend Mid-Year Assembly. Begin compiling scholarships. Follow up with Admissions.



S mt er fi t o orm or fi l ppl or ol r p Follow up with Admissions.


March April

Students begin to receive college acceptance letters. Keep track of acceptance letters from colleges.

Review Financial Aid awards with advisor. Make the college decision (by May 1st).

Winter Summit held to reflect, share habits for success and to ensure students are on track.

Advisors work with students to complete scholarship and internship applications.


Success advisors continue their second round of visits.


Volunteers help prepare Spring Care Packages sent to students prior to exams.


Follow up with Admissions. Students share college choice at Decision Day.


Success Advisors wrap up their second round of visits.


Students attend Transition to College Workshop.


College Graduates attend Higher Edge’s year-end celebration. College Access Program graduates attend Transition to College Workshop.


Submit Common Applications

Students attend Summer Institute

Complete Common Application

Register for ACT/SAT

Students start writing their personal essays


Submit verification forms, if requested

Apply for scholarships

Submit CSS Profile

One-on-one meetings begin

Attend FAFSA Night



Finish personal essays

Follow up with Admissions

November December

Researching and Applying for College: September to December • Research schools based on affordability

Submit verification forms, if requested

Begin compiling scholarships

Follow up with Admissions


Follow up with Admissions


Apply for scholarships

Follow up with Admissions

Keep track of acceptance letters from colleges

Apply for scholarships

Make the college decision (by May 1st)

Keep track of acceptance letters from colleges

Review Financial Aid awards with advisor



Attend Higher Edge Decision Day


Applying for Scholarships: January to May • Receive scholarship list from Higher Edge Advisor • Apply, Apply, Apply

• Write a Personal Essay • Complete the Common App or other College Applications

Applying for Financial Aid: October • Complete the FAFSA • Complete the CSS Profile

Making the College Decision: May • Gather Financial Aid Packages • Schedule College Decision Meeting • Decision Day

College Access Program


Attend Transition workshop/SendOff Event

• Get ready for college with the TransitionWorkshop



College Graduates attend Higher Edge’s year-end graduation ceremonies

Higher Edge advisors start their second round of visits Advisors work with students to resubmit their FAFSA and CSS Profiles

Success Advisors get on the road to start their Success College visits




Higher Edge sends out its Fall Care Packages

Success Advisors finish their first round of visits

November December

Higher Edge holds its Winter Summit to make sure that students are on track

Advisors work with students to renew scholarship applications



Higher Edge sends out its Spring Care Packages



Success Advisors wrap up their second round of visits


Transition to College Workshop for incoming Freshman



Success Program


Success Across the United States Development Before considering any design ideas, I first mapped out the locations of all the colleges that Higher Edge students have or are currently attending. I was then able to view them all together and get an idea of their distribution throughout the country. This set the foundation for the type of inspiration I should be looking for.

Process In the beginning stage of thinking of and assembling initial designs, I looked at the work of visual information artists, particularly those who have done work with maps. During that time, I was inspired by a couple particular designs that were simple and easily comprehensible, which I thought fitting for the audience. When it came time to editing and further developing the initial design, I kept closely in contact with Higher Edge, working with them to transform it into the final design.

Final Product One large map that illustrates the names and geographic locations of all the colleges that Higher Edge students have or are currently attending. It also indicates their relativity to the Higher Edge offices, portraying the organization has a home base with a far reach.


Colorado Pikes Peak Community College

Success Across the United States Maine Bates College

Georgia Spelman College

New York Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

North Carolina Salem College


Hofstra University

Bentley University

Union College

Roxbury Community College

Ithaca College Rochester Institute of Technology

Rhode Island Higher Edge

Oklahoma Oklahoma State University

Willimantic New London

Providence College Johnson and Wales University New England Institute of Technology

Maryland McDaniel College

Connecticut University of Connecticut Eastern Connecticut State University Three Rivers Community College

South Carolina

Connecticut College

Trident Technical College

Mitchell College Central Connecticut State University Quinnipiac University Southern Connecticut State University Sacred Heart University

Texas Houston Community College


Social Media Cal Nadeau, Natasha Strugatz, Erin Smith

Tasked with the challenge of spreading Higher Edge and their message using the modern tools of social media, our team developed templates and graphics for the organization to use in the present day as well as at any point in the future. We used tools such as Adobe Illustrator and InDesign to create graphics that were simple but eye catching in order to get the desired message across. Using the Higher Edge logo and theme colors, we were able to do so while also spreading the image of the organization to familiarize their name with the community.

Development We wanted to refine the Instagram account that Higher Edge has by focusing on the audience, which is primarily students of Higher Edge. We decided to split this up into three sections: graphics for specific dates that are important to highlight in the college process, corresponding gifs and a Meet the Staff Series. The goal of the graphics and gifs should be simple, easy-to-read while relying heavily on images to convey messages to the audience.

Process We wanted the graphics and gifs to be simple, but attractive to the viewer so that they catch the eye and get the message across. The graphics and gifs were made using Adobe illustrator and InDesign. We also went to Higher Edge to film the Meet the Staff Series and asked the staff two questions: “Why do you work for Higher Edge?” and “Why is Higher Edge important to the community?”. The videos that we filmed were designed to be less than a minute and posted on the IGTV through Higher Edge’s Instagram to capture the personalities of the staff and promote the intention and good will of the organization.

Final Product Over the course of the semester, we created four Meet the Staff Series to be posted on the IGTV. Each highlights the loving community of Higher Edge while embodying their company mottos. We also created three graphics and three gifs to post on the Instagram account that use the Higher Edge colors to convey a message relating to the college process and Meet the Staff Series. 57

Transportation Project The Public Practice team 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Jillian Edwards Emily Ehler Quinlan Low Lera Shynkarova Nadia Bednarczuk Annie Breakstone Jacob Brill-Weil Cal Nadeau Olga Nikolaeva Ezra Norris Erin Smith Natasha Strugatz Megan Webber

In this final project, students worked with Jeff Deutsch to develop visual print messages supporting our community partner– Higher Edge to promote education in New London. These print messages were modeled after the work that Jeff has completed at Oxfam. The visual material was designed and proposed for public transportation (inside buses and in bus stop structures) in and around New London area. Jeff Deutsch (’96 CC alum). Jeff is head of design at Oxfam America, a global NGO fighting to end the injustice of poverty.

Jeff introduced the Transportation project first by presenting his work “See Me ad campaign” for Oxfam and then presented the specs across media types and placements (print, vertical and horizontal). The specs articulated all the details including crop area, live area, and safe areas. This will give students real-life factors that go into producing actual files. Jeff joined us on campus and presented his own work and introduced the Transportation project to students on October 23. He returned via Skype on November 26 and reviewed student proposals for the project. This project was supported by Connecticut College’s Carreer Informed Learning program. Career Informed Learning is a project-based learning approach to education that brings real-life work challenges into the classroom for students to reasearch, analyze, and develop solutions. The challenges are proposed by Connecticut College alumni and parents who have expertise in the areas the students are studying in class.


MOVING FORWARD Getting students to and through college

98% of Higher Edge students enroll directly in college following high school.

VISIT US @higheredge https://higheredge.org

We want you to succeed!




getting kids to and through college.

how many graduation caps o fi


t redgec ghe @hi





Just like we trust

to get us to and through New London...

We also trust

to get


Start Your Future Today

To and Through

I’m Becoming A College Graduate You Can Too!







Find out how you can further your education at higheredge.org



“Without Higher Edge, I wouldn’t have been able to overcome many obstacles that first-generation college students face”

Applying to College is a lot of work. But we are here to help.

MY education. MY way.


STILL RISE Higher Edge focuses on getting its students

TO & THROUGH college by providing them with the tools and support they need to navigate their road to success.

Getting students to and through college

ppl to or fi o t o you can help online.




Thinking about applying to college, but do not know where to start?


YOU CAN. @higheredgect higheredge.org

Supporting Student Success

Higher Edge can help.

Higher Edge guides low-income and fir t e er t o t e t t ro e rollme t rete t o r t o rom college by pro t e pport resources ee e or success




Learn more at higheredge.org




Special thanks to everyone at Higher Edge including Theresa Armendarez, Executive Director, Gilbert Bonafé Jr., Director of Programs, Luisanna Cabrera, Success Program Director, Mauro Diaz-Hernandez, Success Program Manager, Katie Hallisey, College Access Program Advisor, and Jennifer Portella, College Access Program Advisor. Thanks to the high school and college students who worked with us. We are grateful for the support of the Holleran Center’s Margaret Sheridan Grant to develop this community learning experience. Thank you to the Career Informed Learning program, and to Jeff Deutsch ’96 who was so generous with his time in working with students on the Transportation Project. Thank you to Professor Wollensak for overseeing this coursework. Thank you to Quinlan Low, Nadia Bednarczuk, Jillian Edwards, Ezra Norris, and Emily Ehler for putting the 2018 Public Practice Booklet. Thank you to Olga Nikolaeva for revising the booklet, Spring 2019. Our final thanks goes to the Connecticut College Printshop, CopyCats, and the many other people and organizations who were instrumental in this work.


Selected Bibliography

Designing for Social Change, Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design by Andrew Shea Design, When Everybody Designs by Ezio Manzini Teaching Design for Change by Emily Pilloton Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Design Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination by Sasha CostanzaChock Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change by Victor Papanek



Š 2019, All rights reserved by respective owners. The Higher Edge logo and other marks and phrases are trademarks of Higher Edge. Produced and printed in Spring 2019 for the ART 310 Design: Public Practice Connecticut College 270 Mohegan Avenue New London CT 06320 In proud partnership with Higher Edge 35 Redden Avenue New London CT 06320 www.higheredge.org Typeset in Rockwell and Helvetica Laser printed on 60# uncoated cardstock and tape bound.