The Charger Blog

Chargers Share Passion for Graphic Design With High School Students

As part of Summer Studio: Discovering Graphic Design, two graphic design majors served as mentors for local high school students, teaching them about the field and helping them develop their art, while also growing as artists themselves.

October 1, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Summer studio group.
Summer Studio enabled rising high school juniors and seniors to explore the visual arts.

Christopher Colquhoun ’22 has been passionate about art since he was a kid. He is also good with computers. Interested in having the “best of both worlds,” he combined both interests this summer while sharing them with local high school students.

A graphic design major, Colquhoun served as a teaching assistant for Summer Studio: Discovering Graphic Design, a four-week program for 10 rising high school juniors and seniors in Bridgeport who are interested in the visual arts. He helped guide the students, providing ideas, input, and insights for their work while also finding inspiration for his own.

“What I liked the most was being able to see all the students’ different ideas,” he said. “In the art field, no two ideas are the same. I learned a lot working with this program. I watched the kids, and got ideas for projects of my own. It was an amazing opportunity.”

Image of summer studio classroom.
Summer Studio: Discovering Graphic Design was offered to 10 high school students from Bridgeport.
‘An incredible experience’

Colquhoun says the program enabled students to not only improve their own work, it offered them a unique opportunity to explore and experience the graphic design field. Offered to students free of charge, it was designed to encourage young artists to explore their creativity. Led by professionals and students such as Colquhoun, it explored topics such as typography and composition.

Colquhoun’s classmate Bayley Fair ’22 also served as a teaching assistant. She, too, enjoyed sharing her knowledge and expertise with the students while also learning from them and from the instructors.

“Summer Studio was such an incredible experience,” said Fair, a graphic design major who is now a teaching assistant at Sacred Heart University. “I hope the students learned a lot about the programs, but the biggest thing that I hope they learned from this experience is that there are so many paths to take in a creative field that will lead them to be successful.”

Christopher Colquhoun helping a student during Summer Studio.
Christopher Colquhoun ’22 helps a student during Summer Studio.
‘This program is something I have never really seen before’

Initially a forensic psychology major at the University of New Haven, Fair changed her major after her first semester. She says she was eager to pursue a career in a field that would enable her to explore her creativity, and she says now she can’t imagine doing anything else. She enjoyed sharing her interest in design and creativity with the students at Summer Studio.

“I'm passionate about it because design is what makes the world appealing,” she explains. “Everywhere people are looking, they're seeing graphic design and they don't even realize it. The University prepared me to be a TA because they thoroughly teach us the material but also give us hours to work on projects that help us learn the programs inside and out.”

As part of Summer Studio, students learned basic skills, principles, and tools of design, including graphic design, digital media, and animation. They explored the career possibilities in the design industry and learned how to showcase their work and build a portfolio.

While gaining hands-on experience in software, such as Photoshop, students connected with mentors in industries such as advertising, media, and entertainment. During the course of the program, they completed three projects that enabled them to implement the skills they developed.

“The program was good for students who want to improve themselves,” said Colquhoun. “It allowed those who were unsure if they wanted to enter this field to have a chance to experience what it would be like. This program is something I have never really seen before. Having the ability to learn a lot more before college helped prepare the students for what college will be like.”