Art Student Awarded Prestigious SURF Grant

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By Lillie Wren, BFA Studio Art, Emphasis Graphic Design »

SURF Grant Awarded to senior, Lillie Wren, for Souvenirs Distributed at Suffrage Centennial Celebration

My project process began about one year ago when I had a meeting with the associate dean of College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Dr. Gayle Seymour, about my plans for my Senior Honors Capstone Project and BFA Practicum. During this meeting, Dr. Seymour presented her Suffrage Centennial Project idea to me and proposed an opportunity to work with her and contribute to this Centennial Project. I am passionate about women’s rights in America so I was thrilled. We began brainstorming about how I could contribute to this event. We had previously discussed how I became interested in graphic design, and I explained my dream job was to design packaging. Together we landed on the idea of souvenirs for the guests of the event. Dr. Seymour then encouraged me to apply for a Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grant.

This grant is usually awarded to students pursuing degrees in math and science, but she believed I could apply for the grant with this project. The application process was lengthy, but with the help of Dr. Seymour and a couple of other amazing professors who believed in me and encouraged me I was able to complete it. On December 17, 2019, I received an email informing me that both Dr. Seymour and I had been awarded $4,000 to pursue this project. I began planning this project in Spring 2020, but everything came to a screeching halt when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Over quarantine, I had a virtual meeting with Dr. Seymour to discuss the changes made to the event, and how I should continue working on the souvenirs. After sketching out ideas and planning the layout of the souvenir ballot boxes through mockups, I began working digitally. One of my professors suggested making a template for the ballot boxes in Illustrator and advised me to contact Wonder State Box Co. Inc. located in Conway for help producing the final product after collaborating on the best design of the box. Once I had the boxes all ready to go, I finished the rest of the designs for the cards and booklet that were included in the “goody bags” guests received at the last event of Dr. Seymour’s Suffrage Centennial Project.

The creation of “Thinking Outside the Box: A Suffrage Centennial Celebration To-Go” would not be possible without the assistance of Wonder State Box Co. Inc., part of the SMC Packaging Group. A special thanks also goes out to my faculty mentor, Dr. Gayle Seymour for encouraging me throughout this entire journey, and helping me pull it all together in the middle of a global pandemic.