IVCC students win national
engineering poster contest

Three graphic design students at Illinois Valley Community College are winners in a national poster contest focusing on engineering careers.

Megan K. Crabbe of Ottawa won third place, and Lisa Phillips of Lostant and Derek Liesse of Delzell received an honorable mention in the "Engineering Make a Difference" contest sponsored by the Engineering Education Service Center.

Two other IVCC students, Robert Kennedy of Ottawa and Veronica Rivera of LaSalle were finalists in the competition. Three of Phillips’ entries made the finalist list.

Liesse, at left, Crabbe, in the center with her 
winning entry, and Phillips, at right. 

Crabbe, who had no graphic design or art background before enrolling at IVCC, said she was surprised and excited when she was named a finalist.

"It’s great to be recognized," she said. Crabbe said she is considering a career in magazine advertising.

A 2003 graduate of Ottawa High School, she will receive a $50 prize. The daughter of Greg and Linda Crabbe, she resides in Ottawa with her husband Cory Brady and their three children.

Liesse said "My head’s still in the clouds."

A 2006 graduate of Hall High School, Liesse also began his graphic design studies at IVCC. He is the son of Susan Angelo and Richard Liesse.

Phillips labeled the win a "validation."

"It feeds your motivation," she explained. "It keeps you going."

Phillips, who is planning to enroll in a Master of Fine Arts program at Illinois State University, makes custom furniture. She is married to IVCC geology professor Mike Phillips; they have two children.

The five students are enrolled in Visual Communication II taught by Graphic Design Program Director Francie Skoflanc. She learned about the contest as a result of her participation in a National Science Foundation grant recently awarded to IVCC to increase interest in engineering careers.

Skoflanc said when she saw the winning posters from previous contests, "I knew my students could do better."

One of her students went further: "We felt we could blow them out of the water," said Kennedy.

Skoflanc added: "And we did."

The IVCC students captured three of the ten prizes in the national competition. The other winners are students at colleges and high school from across the country, Hawaii to Delaware.

The winning entries will be posted on the EECS web site (www.engineeringedu.com) and used in campaigns promoting engineering careers.