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Scout Labs Team, Fall 2019. Photo(s) by Artie Ghosh.

Scout, Northeastern’s student-led design studio, is known for being innovative and forward-thinking – and for producing results for its clients that are professional, customized, and exciting. It is also known for being a women-led organization that empowers women designers and helps them develop their skillset and position them for success after graduation. With its leadership team for 2019-2020 having just been announced, the upcoming year is poised to be another successful one, with women continuing to innovate, lead, and support Scout’s mission of fostering the university’s design community.

Northeastern students Liz Pratusevich, who is studying Business and Design, and Gabi Homonoff, who is studying Graphic Design, will be the team’s Co-Directors. In the coming year, they are focused on supporting Scout’s mission by growing the organization’s community, solidifying their relationships within Mosaic, and spreading the word about all Scout has to offer.

“We think Scout is amazing and the whole world should know,” said Liz and Gabi. “As an organization, we’ve made strides to have our name recognized outside of just the Northeastern community – our alumni work around the world, we won a Webby award, and we put on a Conference! We hope to continue to build on the current momentum to take Scout to the next level.”

Scout’s mission was established by its co-founder, alumna Laura Marelic, who graduated with a BFA in graphic design. She co-founded Scout in 2013 to give a studio team of student designers exposure to real clients and real work along with bringing design and design thinking to the Northeastern community.

When Laura started the organization, however, she had no idea it would grow to be a 50+ person design studio with an ever-growing client list.

“When I was a student at Northeastern, my classmates and I all felt so energized about design and what it looks like outside the classroom,” she said. “We thought about how we could apply the skills and flex the muscles we were developing in class to outside projects; this challenged me to put on more of a business hat and I absolutely loved it. I am a total projects person, so from the very beginning, Scout has been an exciting place for me to work and learn – I fed off the energy of the people around me, colleagues and clients alike.”

Laura attributes the long-term success of Scout to the supportive community Northeastern University offers.

“Scout went from being an idea in my head to growing to a fully formed organization. I don’t think that can happen many other places,” she said. “The school gave us enough flexibility, support, and runway to succeed, and now Scout it totally thriving. It has impacted my life immensely.”

Much of the support Northeastern students receive during their time here (and beyond) is from the faculty. Margarita Barrios Ponce, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Art + Design, has served as Scout’s faculty advisor since 2015, when one of her students, Julia Wilson, looped her in. Since Professor Barrios Ponce knew that Julia was a hard-working, serious student, she decided to jump on board and has served as the faculty advisor ever since.

“What Northeastern offers all students, but definitely our women leaders, is the opportunity to run their own organization with support and respect in a way that should happen in the real world, but doesn’t always,” said Professor Barrios Ponce. “The people that go through Northeastern, our design program, Mosaic, and specifically Scout, among other things, have this amazing expectation about how the real world should work based on their experience at Northeastern, and they are making it happen. They come away from college with an experience of having done something, which gives them a complete confidence and trust in their leadership and eliminates the elements that make people doubt themselves.”

Continue reading about some of Scout’s prominent alumnae in Part 2 here.