Last fall, advertising and public relations and graphic design student Ashleigh Kawaoka won the $1,000 scholarship prize in the 2021 Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity in Nebraska Challenge.
Kawaoka, an incoming senior from Lenexa, Kansas, also had an opportunity to work with Bailey Lauerman’s creative director Casey Stokes and graphic designer Hannah Smith on editing and adjusting her original design. Her design is now displayed as a mural on the south wall of the Bailey Lauerman Student Commons on the third floor of Andersen Hall.
“Working with Bailey Lauerman was an eye opening experience to the creative side of advertising,” Kawaoka said. “Specifically, working with Casey and Hannah gave me opportunities to push the envelope of my design and learn more about the creative process. They were able to bring the mural to life and helped me use design to communicate diversity.”
Bailey Lauerman (BL) created the competition in 2020 to celebrate and advance diversity in Nebraska and to further one of BL’s top goals—to change people’s perspective of Nebraska.
“We’re constantly working to dispel the flyover myth and prove that big things happen outside of America’s 10 largest cities,” said Greg Andersen, CEO of Bailey Lauerman.
The competition gave Kawaoka a chance to create something that she believes will leave a lasting impact. She learned that asking for feedback from fellow designers is an important step in her creative process.
“Asking for feedback can be a great source for when you’re low on inspiration,” Kawaoka said. “It’s also important because in design it can feel like your work is never done, you can always find a reason to make another adjustment.”
Kawaoka encourages CoJMC students to sign up for the competition when it’s offered in the fall. For her, the scholarship paired with the chance to work with some of Nebraska’s top designers was invaluable.
“The CoJMC is filled with forward thinking students who want to create real change in Nebraska,” Kawaoka said. “We want to see more diversity in our industries and have a better understanding of the world around us—participating in a competition like this is a step in that direction.”
Kawaoka will graduate in May 2023. She’s not exactly sure what she’d like to do for a career, but she’s not worried either. She knows she’ll never stop designing.
“I hope my uncertainty in what I want to do in life makes some students feel more at ease,” Kawaoka said. “I know I love design and I know that it’s part of everything, from album covers to advertisements to murals– whatever I decide to do I know design will alway be a huge part of my life.”