MLK Poster Contest Winners Announced

Posted on: January 22, 2015

IMG_9153-wAfter a week of voting, the public has chosen three winners out of 12 finalists to receive scholarship awards for the college-wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest.

All the winners were from the Department of Advertising + Public Relations and include:

  • First place – senior Tessa Gebhart, $1,000 scholarship
  • Second place – senior Courtney Hughes, $500 scholarship
  • Third place – senior Jodi Kurniawan, $300 scholarship

Gebhart's poster was an assignment she created for Assistant Professor Paula Storrer's ADV 324: Intro to Creative Media class, which encouraged many other advertising students to participate in the contest.

"It took me a long time to find inspiration for the poster," Gebhart said. "I then came across the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, 'Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.' The idea of spelling out love with images of my hands hit me."

Participating students were asked to create original poster designs that incorporated aspects of the Civil Rights Movement or the Civil Rights Act, and include an aspect of diversity, inclusiveness, equality, cultural appreciation, liberty or justice. Students also were asked to incorporate MSU in the poster.

There were 38 submissions with the 12 finalists selected based on contest criteria.

Below the posters, which are on display in the first floor hallway of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building, are quotes as to what inspired each student to create the poster they did.

Tessa Gebhart, First Place
"I chose to make this poster about love for a few reasons. I truly believe that loving each other and respecting all races is the only way to actually overcome racial oppression. This may not happen with the current generations, but if we instill this value in our children, the world could see a very different future. I created the letters for love from reconstructed images of my hands. I thought it was an interesting way to showcase different skin colors on the poster. In order to include MSU, I made the opaque Spartan head for the background and included the 'Spartans Will' phrase from MSU's ongoing campaign along with a phrase that supported the ideas of the poster. The 'Spartans Will' phrase is a very powerful campaign and I would love to see it continue."

Courtney Hughes, Second Place
"The inspiration for my poster comes from the word unity. When I think of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I think of the unity that he brought together not only between black and white people but also between people of all races and cultures over time. Unity reminds me of a circle and the trust that each person has within it. Therefore, I wanted to incorporate the image of a circle and the man himself, Martin Luther King Jr. My poster symbolizes the idea that when you look past the color there is a grey area between them all where everyone is equal. Unity plays a big role in my life today. Whether it is as big as the unity I have with my fellow Spartans or as small as the unity within my family at home."

Jodi Kurniawan, Third Place
"Martin Luther King Jr. inspired not only the United States, but also the world that there are no races but the human race. All men are created equal and have the right to be treated equal. With roughly 48 thousand students, Michigan State University is home to many different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs. We come in all different shapes, sizes and colors but we stand together as a whole. We are all here united as one in pursuit of higher education and in pursuit of our dreams."

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