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A positive ending

The show went on for Rogue Community College graphic design students who were displaying two years worth of work — but a day later than planned after the downtown Medford campus was evacuated Thursday because of a threatening note.

Portfolio Day was moved to Friday and, although it attracted a lighter crowd than expected, Digital Design Program Coordinator and Design Instructor Heidi Harless said she appreciated that the community still came out to show its support for the students.

The event was the capstone project for students finishing their graphic design degrees.

"We didn't want yesterday to be the end of the story," Harless said on Friday as students met with business representatives and other community members to review their portfolios. "This represents two years worth of effort and hard work. We wanted to end on a really positive note." 

Harless said a few students decided not to attend because of the threat made on Thursday, but most decided to come to Portfolio Day after it was rescheduled. Harless and students communicated using social media and decided to push on with the event, especially since displays were ready and people were in town for graduation.

"It was a little scary coming in today," acknowledged student Lacramioara "Aki" Mititiuc. "It reminds you of your own mortality."

An investigation is ongoing about an anonymous note left in a campus mailbox that referenced the 2015 Umpqua Community College mass shooting that left 10 people dead in Roseburg.

Pushing thoughts of the threat aside, Mititiuc described how she worked on a variety of projects, from using Photoshop to design a room interior with peacock feather wall decor, to making a magazine layout about a video game, to creating a mock rebranding campaign for Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country made up of islands in the Persian Gulf.

Not knowing much about the country other than its location, Mititiuc reached out to an American blogger living there and was then able to contact a native-born resident of the nation to learn more about Bahrain.

Her marketing campaign emphasized the nation's wish to be seen as a warm, welcoming destination spot for vacationers. The country has also instituted reforms to improve women's rights.

"They are actually surprisingly progressive on women's rights," Mititiuc said. "I thought I would have trouble as a woman communicating with them, but they were actually really welcoming. It was an eye-opening experience."

Student Shannon Woerner already had a bachelor's degree in fine art when she decided to expand her capabilities by taking graphic design, comic and animation classes.

She learned how to turn a script into a series of comic book drawings, design characters and make sure they looked consistent from a variety of viewing angles. Woerner also improved her already strong drawing skills, creating professional caliber comics.

Student Elizabeth Grace Blodgett said she wasn't sure in the beginning whether graphic design was the right path for her.

"I started in photography before I came to RCC," she said. "I looked at the different majors and decided to do graphic design. I was hesitant at first. I thought, 'Am I a designer? Am I in the right field?' But all the teachers help build your skills and get you on the right path."

Blodgett, who did an internship with Southern Oregon Magazine, said having different skill sets will help her professionally.

"I look forward to the opportunity to market myself as a photographer and a graphic designer," she said. "It's important to be able to do both mediums. I'll be one step above by being able to do it all. I can take photos and do the layouts."

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Rogue Community College graphic design student Christopher Levin showed off his work to the public and professionals as RCC held its Portfolio Day on Friday. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]