Student wins award for design skill

Kayla Shine poses with past MVPs and Larry Yarrell (far right), the COO and co-founder of the Marcus Graham Project on Feb. 3rd.

Madison MacArthur

Since Kayla Shine thought she was going to be a finance major when she went to college, she never thought she would be accepting an award for visual communication design.

Shine won the MVP award in a four-day workshop for her graphic design skills, earning her spot at the Marcus Graham Project summer boot camp in Dallas, Texas.

However, the MVP award meant more to her than just the boot camp.

“That means that I put a lot of dedication and hard work into winning the program, because when I first came I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and then we started working on it and I decided I wanted to win,” Shine said.

Talea Drummer-Ferrell, the director of the Student Multicultural Center (SMC), sees major promise within Shine, which is what prompted her to bring Shine into the SMC’s graphic design internship.

“One of the questions was how do you connect the work that we do in the Student Multicultural Center to what you want to do, and how does this connect to what you want to do for a living,” Drummer-Ferrell said.

Drummer-Ferrell said she appreciated Shine for wanting to show other students with similar experiences how they can succeed in design.

“This is a field, and there’s many fields that are like that, where if you don’t see a reflection of yourself, you get this immediate impression that it’s impossible for you to do,” Drummer-Ferrell said.

Seeing her success, Drummer-Ferrell connected Shine to Jason Garrett, a Kent State University alumnus. Garrett introduced Shine to the Icr8 program, founded by the Marcus Graham Project. Garrett participated in the program as a student and also won.

The program was a four-day long workshop where five groups set up their goal: creating a campaign for why the Cleveland Cavaliers should partner with Goodyear Tires. Participants varied in experience and were from multiple disciplines. Shine was the only graphic designer on her team — all the other teams had two.

Upon receiving the MVP award, Shine also received an automatic bid to the Icr8 bootcamp in Dallas, Texas, with all expenses paid. Shine will be working with companies such as Apple and Fossil for the whole summer.

Garrett, according to the SMC’s newsletter, said Shine’s work spoke for her.

“Kayla stood out because of her impeccable design abilities and her ability to bring her teams ideas to life,” Garrett said.

Shine enjoyed the program because she saw more minorities there compared to her classes at Kent State. Her freshman year, she would be the only black person in her class.

“I think my goal after college is to give back to the community, specifically minorities, because there isn’t a lot of us in my major specifically… maybe after college even teach to get the number to increase,” Shine said.

Drummer-Ferrell is “speechless” thinking of Shine’s accomplishments.

“One, it shows that your color is not a hindrance to anything that you’re doing.”  Drummer-Ferrell said. “The fact that her ethnicity gives her a different experience from a different viewpoint, but it doesn’t hold her back from anything.”

Shine has been described as humble, often working from behind the scenes, but she wants to show others that look like her that they can step out and try something different. She particularly wants to encourage middle school and high school students to know that they can do something differently.

Drummer-Ferrell agrees on the importance of breaking the ideas that certain fields require certain looks.

“By (Kayla) opening this door, she opens minds and eyes,” Drummer-Ferrell said. “It gives exposure to the fact that it’s not just a shut up and dribble story, but showing that there are talents.”

Madison MacArthur is the diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]