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USM Graphic Design Students Honored at ADDY Awards

Students from the Graphic Design area ​​in The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Art and Design program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, were honored with a total of 53 awards at the American Advertising Federation Mississippi Gulf Coast (AAF-MS Gulf Coast) Awards, also known as the ADDYs, through a virtual awards show.

This year’s collective award count includes: 16 Gold and 33 Silver ADDYs, three Student Judge’s Choice, and a Best of Show.

“This prestige from ADDYs helps to create notoriety and strengthen a ‘brand’ of sorts, which can be beneficial to students entering the job market by indicating how great their education is, but also for potential high school students looking to receive the best education,” said Jacob Cotton, assistant professor in the Art and Design program. “Students also gain confidence which gives them the ability to take risks and allows them to grow.”

Parker Estes, a recent USM graduate and native of Petal, Miss., won the Best of Show for “You Are a Nurse,” a series of motion graphics that aimed to bring awareness to the ubiquity of worsening labor conditions for hospital nurses in the U.S., along with two Gold and one Silver.

“For me, and I imagine for many creatives, the most difficult aspect of the work we do is maintaining a healthy relationship with self-criticism,” Estes said. “To have your work recognized by trained professionals in one’s own field is a unique and humbling validation of all the late nights, second guessing, and discarded ideas that led to the final product.”

Christian Gammill, a Graphic Design student and native of Hattiesburg, Miss., won a Student Judge’s Choice for the packing design of a beer brand “Empress Gangan – 4 pack,” along with six Gold and one Silver.

He says it meant a great deal to him, “I am honored and blessed to be recognized for my work. I cannot wait to see how my projects hold up at district level and am excited to continue to embrace my creativity.”

Sydney Beech, a senior graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design and native of Ellisville, Miss., won six Gold and two Silver ADDYs. “It is such a special feeling to be recognized and applauded for something you put so much time and effort into,” Beech said. “I’ve grown so much as a designer and person during my time in the BFA program, and these awards serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come!”

Jeff Jones, who serves as VP of Education with AAF-MS Gulf Coast, presented the awards and praised students for planting their creative seeds during the ceremony.

“We are honored to recognize some of the amazing talent that will indeed continue to plant the seeds of inspired content, as this next generation of creative masterminds lead our industry to even greater heights,” he said.

The USM AAF-MS Gulf Coast ADDY Award winners, who will move forward to regionals include:

Sydney Beech: 6 Gold, 2 Silver; Hannah Cantrell: 5 Silver; Monte (Ali) Coleman: 1 Silver; Anna Denette: 1 Gold, 1 Silver; Deborah Elam: 1 Silver; Parker Estes: Best of Show, 2 Gold, 1 Silver; Caitlin Finch: 1 Gold, 2 Silver; Karson Gunn: 2 Silver; Michael (Christian) Gammill: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 6 Gold, 1 Silver; Preston Humphrey: 1 Silver; Brant Jambon: 2 Silver; Breanna Laborde: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 1 Silver; Mackenzie Masters: 1 Silver; Noah Rogers: 2 Silver; Maddie Seale: 3 Silver; Caitlyn Schintzius: 4 Silver; Keely Trail: 1 Student Judge’s Choice, 2 Silver.


Written by University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites in central and southern Mississippi, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 130 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and sport venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 40 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of approximately 15,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 36 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 24 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit


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