MCC Student Wins National Graphic Design Competition

Three of the 10 finalists in the Achieving the Dream graphic design contest were MCC students. Left to right: Kennth Bryant, Ashley Shira andLaura Shaler.Muskegon Community College sophomore Laura Shaler has been voted one of two national winners in the first-ever “DREAM Big for College” t-shirt graphic design contest sponsored by the non-profit Achieving the Dream organization, whose 150 community college members in 30 states are committed to student achievement and success.

Shaler of Grand Haven, Mich., and co-winner Levi Miller of Century College in Minnesota, will each receive a $1,000 cash prize. They will have their original art featured on limited edition t-shirts presented to all attendees at the Achieving the Dream Annual Meeting on Student Success. The two student designers will receive additional cash for classes by collecting $1 for each t-shirt sold at the annual meeting being held Feb. 28-March 2 in Dallas, Texas.  Achieving the Dream has committed to the purchase of 1,000 of each design.

The t-shirts will be sold online for $20 to the general public by You and Who (, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based company. For each t-shirt sold, You and Who will donate one meal to an organization serving those in need   in the MCC and Century College communities. Shaler and Miller will be featured on the firm’s website.

“There is a tremendous pool of talent among community college students,” said Nicole Melander, Achieving the Dream chief technology officer, noting that the contest is the start of a larger Dream Big campaign. “(It) will provide community college students with many opportunities to shine on a national platform and engage in a national discussion about college completion, all while earning money to offset the cost of college.”

Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven partner organization, Achieving the Dream is now the most comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in community colleges. In addition to its community college members, the organization has more than 100 coaches and advisors and 15 state policy teams.

Two other MCC graphic design students, Kenneth Bryant of Muskegon, Mich., and Ashley Shira of Fremont, Mich., were among the 10 finalists from nearly 100 entries representing 19 colleges in 10 states. To enter, students had to be in good academic standing at an Achieving the Dream member institution. Students submissions expressed creativity and initiative while featuring designs that encouraged other students to “finish what they start” and earn their degree or certificate.