As a high-school senior, Emily Karr enjoyed drawing, and art topped her list of subjects to study in college. Yet, in her mind, the concept of graphic design was just about designing logos and brochures – and that sounded kind of boring.

Late in her senior year at McCook High School, she looked into the Graphic Design and Visual Communications program at Mid-Plains Community College. It seemed like she found a way to enjoy her art while earning a degree.

Karr received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communications in May of 2017.

“After applying to MPCC and meeting the graphic design instructor, Becky Meyers, my mind was immediately changed,” said Karr. “I learned that there was so much more to design than I could have ever imagined.” 

Less than 14 months later, she was called to the podium in Anaheim, Calif., – not once, but twice to receive first place in the nation for her work in desktop publishing and computer animation. The awards were part of the Phi Beta Lambda organization’s national competition against students from four-year universities and other two-year schools.

“PBL was a big part of my success,” said Karr. “The fellowship I experienced in the organization gave me the support I needed to succeed, especially when it came to the competitions.” 

Competitors in the desktop publishing category created a campaign based on a business. Their portfolio included a logo, poster, brochure and newspaper advertisement. There was also a test over basic skills, terms, methods, hardware and software.

For the computer animation category, competitors were required to create a character that would be the centerpiece for a campaign on business ethics. Contestants presented the animation to a panel of judges for review and discussion on the techniques and methods used.

Emily Karr holds up the logo she designed for a commemorative event at the college.

“I was very, very excited to take my success to the next level and earn first place recognition at the state level and then again at the national competition,” Karr said. “I will always consider it one of my biggest accomplishments.”

Not only did MPCC provide Karr with a memory that will last a lifetime, it also helped her grow as a person and allowed her to fine-tune her interests and marketable skills.

“I absolutely loved my time at MPCC,” Karr said. “I spent most of my days in the graphic design lab with an amazing instructor and so many tools at my disposal. It really allowed me to develop an eye for design and focus on the areas I enjoyed the most – which were illustration and animation. But, I loved it all.”

Karr received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communications in May of 2017.