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Blugold earns national award for design work on Honors newsletter

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: Blugold Carly Bower’s graphic design skills earned her national recognition for a newsletter she designs for the University Honors Program. (Photos by Bill Hoepner)

Thanks to her efforts in and outside of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire classrooms, Carly Bower knows her skills as a graphic designer have greatly improved during her years as a Blugold.

Now the UW-Eau Claire senior has a national award to prove it.

The National Collegiate Honors Council named “Honors Headline” — a weekly publication Bower designs for the University Honors Program — the best Honors electronic newsletter in the country.

Carly Bower

“I can’t express what it’s like to see something I’ve developed from the ground up win national recognition,” says Bower, a graphic design major and art history minor. “I started working on it when I was just beginning to develop my knowledge and skill in design. As my final semester nears, it feels like my progress within my field is demonstrated by where ‘Headline’ started to where it is now. ‘Headline’ winning an award makes me feel like I’m progressing from student to professional.”

Bower was a freshman when a friend told her Honors was looking for a design intern.

“At the time, I’d barely any experience in Adobe Illustrator and had only designed posters for a couple clubs on campus,” says Bower of Green Bay. “I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and offered myself up for the role.”

Within days of starting her internship, COVID-19 shut down campus, moving classes and programs online. Honors staff quickly asked Bower to be their media manager, a job she still holds four years later.

The newsletter, which goes to 850 Honors students, faculty and staff, includes information about everything from new courses to events.

“It’s undergone many changes since I took it over,” Bower says. “I’ve created over 75 newsletters and still enjoy putting it together every week.”

Honors newsletter

The publication is a “big task,” says Dr. Heather Fielding, director of the University Honors Program, adding that Bower does “outstanding work” designing it.

As a Blugold, Bower says she’s learning what it means to “pursue a life of art in the modern age,” noting that at its core, art is “a means of sparking conversation.” As an artist, she strives to introduce ideas in ways that “create space for interaction and encourage other voices.”

“In a world where we do so much talking and so little listening, art is a valuable piece of communication that crosses language and time barriers,” Bower says. “I love graphic design because it’s one of the few art forms where I’m providing a voice for someone else. Through my work, I can express others’ ideas in ways they can’t do on their own. That allows me to create joy and purpose, and that’s everything to me.”

Bower says Honors is the “biggest and most important opportunity” she’s had in college. She credits Fielding with “pushing me to break out of my comfort zone and develop my skills in ways that three years ago I’d never have had the confidence to do.”

In her future career, Bower says she will continue to “amplify the voices of others through design.”