By Shanleigh Reardon
Graduating senior Brittany Cormier will be one of the “29 Who Shine” who will be honored by Gov. Charlie Baker during a ceremony to be held at the Massachusetts State House on May 5.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) has been recognizing 29 graduating seniors from in-state community colleges and state universities with this award since 2011. Recipients must be nominated by a faculty member for their demonstrated commitment to “the civic and economic wellbeing of the Commonwealth,” said the DHE website.
Marc Cote, dean of arts and humanities, nominated Cormier based on her honors thesis project’s relevance to the award’s community engagement criteria.
Cormier’s thesis project, “Who are we? Engaging communities through design for social change,” created marketing and communication plans for the Framingham Public Schools’ After School Program Organization.
According to Cote, during the project, Cormier worked with students to develop logos and designs based on the identity visuals and group sketches students created.
Cote said, “She empowered children by involving them in decision making and, by doing so, helped them develop self-confidence and an investment in the project.”
Aside from Cormier’s successful collaboration with Framingham Schools to complete her thesis project, she has been a Peer Mentor for the First-Year Foundations Seminar program at FSU, a member of The Gatepost since her freshman year and a mentor for underrepresented middle and early high school students in Framingham Schools through the program Pelham Pals.
“What you put into FSU, you’ll get out of FSU,” said Cormier. “A lot of the opportunities and things I’ve been involved with here, I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t go out on a limb and get out of my comfort zone and try to get engaged with them.”
Cormier will also be graduating with a 4.0 grade point average from the University’s honors program, according to Cote.
He added, “Brittany has excelled in her classes.”
Nominations for the “29 Who Shine” award must include a faculty member who served as a mentor to the student.
Cormier’s thesis advisor and faculty mentor, graphic design professor Stephanie Grey, will accompany her to the ceremony.
Grey has been a mentor to Cormier for several years and teaches classes which focus on “the social impact of graphic design,” said Cote.
Cote added the use of “empathy, community engagement and design as a vehicle for progressive change” in these classes enhanced the development and execution of Cormier’s thesis.
Grey is currently on sabbatical and was unable to be reached for comment.
Cormier has not yet committed to any post-graduation plans but said she has some options available and will be staying local to do design work.
With her degree from FSU, Cormier would like to continue working on projects, such as her thesis, that facilitate social change through conscious designs which promote accurate representations of community members.
Cormier would like to focus specifically on education and the empowerment of underrepresented students “who don’t see college pathways in their future.”
[Editor’s Note: Brittany Cormier is an associate editor at The Gatepost.]