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CAMD Alumni Support & Contribute to Positive and Productive Online Learning Environment

Digital Connection.

During these challenging – and completely digital – times, the CAMD community has unified, collaborated, and continued to inspire in innovative and valuable ways. CAMD alumni of various backgrounds, career paths, and locations have been at the center of many these efforts, helping to contribute to positive learning experiences for current students. They have supported, given back to, and shared their expertise with others, and have helped bring positivity and light to our tight-knit community. From providing feedback to student projects, to serving as RISE judges, to hosting online speaking events, CAMD alumni have been active and eager to contribute to CAMD’s rich online learning environment.

Digital Classroom Alumni Contributions

For Professor Margarita Barrios Ponce’s Graphic Design classes, a collaborative partnership between alumni and current students has made the final critique (crit) process – completely online – extremely valuable. Her former students (and many of them former members of Scout), now successful Northeastern alumni, typically join critique sessions in-person, but given the circumstances, they decided to still join in on these important conversations digitally.

Scout member using laptop. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University.

Alumna Christina Allan, who graduated from Northeastern in 2019, proposed using a tool she works on as a Product Designer at Drift to make the digital crit process go smoothly. It is called Drift Video, and while it is intended mainly for sales and marketing, Christina has experience using it for crit and was willing to give it a try in Professor Barrios Ponce’s class.

“I was excited to get online crit up and running for Professor Barrios Ponce’s classes because it brings a bit of the real working world into their classes and ultimately makes those students better prepared for the way design teams at bigger companies are working,” explained Christina. “My team at Drift posts in a Slack channel called #design every day (even when we’re not remote!) to show our work and get feedback from our peers, and even people we don’t work with day-to-day. It takes a lot of courage to put in-progress work up for everyone to see, so I was excited to help students flex that muscle before they have to do it professionally.”

The back-and-forth between Christina and the students ended up being incredibly effective online, and students were able to gain the valuable feedback and suggestions for improvement they would have received in the physical classroom.

As an alumna, I love seeing students push boundaries and grow as designers…

“Having the opportunity to make virtual connections with students younger than me has been the perfect way to stay connected even when, in the normal state of the world, I might not be able to make it to campus for regular class time,” Christina concluded.

Another CAMD alumna, Colleen Murphy ’14, was also able to deliver online crit successfully, after having the opportunity to get one session in-person completed (in February) before the students left campus. For the in-person session, she was invited to guest crit Graphic Design 1 (GD1) students’ national park posters – but the rest was all digital.

Colleen, like so many design alumni, has kept in touch with Professor Barrios Ponce since graduation. 

Colleen Murphy, Alumna.

“When she reached out to me about giving feedback online, I was totally on-board,” said Colleen, who recently came off Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential campaign as a designer, where she used slack to do crits and get designs approved quickly. “My previous design position had been great practice for online feedback, since most of the design crits were via slack for quick edits and turnaround. We had a very useful and strategic process of giving feedback, involving emojis, that I adapted to make sense for GD1 and GD2 classes. Essentially, the emojis help portray the meaning behind feedback that can get lost digitally, like facial expressions and tone of voice.”

Although the in-person crit process was cut short for Professor Barrios Ponce’s students, there were certainly some positives that came from the completely digital sessions.

“I think the online guest critiques were incredibly beneficial, allowing a few more points-of-view into the room without physically having to be there,” Colleen concluded. “For me, it was delightful to see student work and how they have improved…

Being a part of it has given me something to look forward to during this difficult pandemic.

Molly O’Neill ‘18, Founder & Designer at Fred & Co., and Nathan Hulsey ‘17, Designer and NYC Lead at Rocket Insights, have also been helping with critiques. Together, all of these CAMD alumni are highlighting the support and creativity that make our community so unique.

Connect, Inspire, Create: A Digital Speaking Event

On the Music Industry side, Emily White ’05 – entrepreneur, manager, and consultant –  is giving a digital talk to current students, faculty, and alumni.

Emily White. Photo by Adrian Buckmaster.

Through her presentation, which focused on her new book (How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams), Emily will be sharing her best practices and advice for musicians looking to build a long-term career. The event is open to all of CAMD’s community, but especially Music Industry students.

Emily, who is Founder at Collective Entertainment and #iVoted, has built a career that spans the entertainment industry, and she has truly embraced the opportunity to share her expertise with CAMD students, faculty, and alumni.

RISE Alumni Judges

Northeastern University recently held its annual Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo in a digital format. Known as RISE, the event brings together both faculty and student research at one important event. Each year (although typically held on-campus in Cabot Cage), there are hundreds of presenters who have been nominated and vetted to be part of the expo, and share their breadth and depth of research, entrepreneurship, and scholarship with guests and judges.

This year, CAMD sponsored three RISE Focus Awards, which several alumni served as the judges for. These alumni are coming “back” to Northeastern to review student projects with their professional eye – and helping exceptional work get recognized and celebrated.  

Design Focus Awards (sponsored by CAMD)

Brian Gregory, Head of Design & User Experience, Signify (Philips Lighting)
Jeffrey Montes, Chief Space Architect, Head of R&D, SpaceFactory, Inc.
Kelly Smith, Founder, Minni

Data and Digital Storytelling Award (sponsored by CAMD and CSSH)

Rachel Lake, Marketing and Community Affairs Manager, The Rose Kennedy Greenway
Alexander Simoes, Co-founder, Datawheel

Health Communication Award (sponsored by CAMD and BCHS)

Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director, Life Science Cares
Lilly Stairs, Patient Advocate, Head of Client Relations at Savvy Cooperative