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Graphic Design Students Earn First & Second Place in 2021 AAF Student Portfolio Review

Two students from Villa Maria College walked away from AAF Buffalo’s Portfolio Review with the top honors.

Henny Zack, ‘21, and Kelsey Sikora, ‘24, won first and second place respectively.

The event, which was held through Zoom for the second year in a row, gave students the opportunity to meet one-on-one with 10 creative professionals who are based right here in Western New York.

During their 15-minute conversations, students presented virtual or PDF versions of their portfolios. For Villa Maria students, many of the portfolios were created as part of the required coursework for the Professional Practices class.

Included in the portfolios were 6 to 10 pieces of work with a select few showcasing the design process, a cover letter that reflects the student’s personal brand, and 2-3 professional references.

During the individual Zoom meetings, students receive feedback about their portfolios that can help strengthen them as candidates for jobs within their fields of study.

Historically, students from Villa Maria’s graphic design program have fared well in the Student Portfolio Review. According to the College’s records, a Villa Maria student has placed in the competition every year since at least 2014.

Previous years’ winners include:

  • 2020 winners: Lindsay Neilson, ‘21 (first place)
  • 2019 winners: Lindsay Neilson, ‘21 (third place)
  • 2018 winners: Francesca Bubb, ‘19 (first place)
  • 2017 winners: Travis Springer, ‘16 (first place)
  • 2016 winners: Samantha Lonczak, ‘17 (second place) and Ali Casarsa, ‘17 (third place)
  • 2015 winners: Grace Gruarin, ‘16 (second place) and Carl Hunley, ‘17 (honorable mention)
  • 2014 winners: Aziza Abdul-Alim, ’16, (first place) and Leah Alle, ’15 (second place)

To learn more about studying graphic design at Villa Maria College, visit