Student Project

A Review of the 2015 Senior Thesis Projects

June 1, 2015
Dennis Cheatham

Seniors in the Graphic Design Program at Miami self-select social issues to address via a design problem solving process. This semester-long, culminating experience takes the form of the Senior Thesis Project and an the exhibition where these projects are showcased. Here are the 2015 Senior Thesis Projects!


Creativity Guide to Event Programming

A Senior Thesis Project by Maddy Haigh

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The Problem: University programming efforts aren’t effecting students which causes feelings of alienation and exclusion from the Miami student community.

Success Statement:
More creative event programming
More diverse attendance at events
More students impacted
More memories of their Miami experience

Target Audience: Event programmers who want to effect campus life and reach students with a desire to make unique Miami experiences for themselves and others.

Design Solution: The goal of the Creativity Guide to Event Programming is to inspire people to put the contents of the box down and begin to ideate with one another in a creative environment. The box contains tools to help people think outside of what they have been taught by conventional event programming efforts to fulfill the ultimate goal of creating new and exciting events that cater to different Miami students.

Design thinking for social need is an incredibly important endeavor that I am excited to have experience in. I can apply the new skills from this project into any future concept or work assignment through the prototyping, testing, and refining, and application of my ideas.

1 Box
1 Creativity Guide
1 Event Planning Guide
1 Bag of Words
2 Expo Markers
6 Sharpies
6 Hats
Post-it Notes

Process: Download a PDF of the process notebook for this project. 

Karma Kards

A Senior Thesis Project by Alexandra Bishoff

The Problem: Miami University Students are faced with incredible amounts of pressure. This leads to stress, anxiety and sadness.KARMAKARDS

Success Statement: I will be successful if I can help to relieve stress, anxiety and sadness by creating something that promotes moments of happiness, both personally and socially.

Target Audience: Miami students who are overwhelmed with stress stemming from multiple different areas of their social, academic and personal life.

Design Solution: Karma Kards has made me so ecstatic. I have seen my Kards all over, including outside of my original test group at Miami, both in spaces owned by friends-of-a-friend and in both my and their family members homes. I created a mock-up of the website that I could potentially create in order to push for future use, complete with customization and personally selected Kards based off of a small quiz on the users current mood. I learned that people everywhere deeply appreciate feeling remembered and empathized with. My mission statement states: Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 6.01.40 PM

I am very pleased with the response I have gotten and overall with my final project. Designing for social and mental wellbeing was something that I am very passionate about and I’m proud that I was able to use my skills to create something that enhanced the days of others.

Process: Karma Kards Process Book

Plant Your Own Produce

A Senior Thesis Project by Bethany Strotman _DSC5845

The Problem: Recent Miami graduates and current students, who would like to garden food but have limited space, don’t see it as an option because they don’t know where to start.

Success Statement: Recent Miami graduates and college students will know how to start gardening in a limited space and will see it as an option no matter where life takes them after they graduate.

Target Audience: My target audience is students at Miami University who don’t see gardening as an option while at school.

Design Solution

 Process Book: ProcessBook_BethanyStrotman

Got Guts

A Senior Thesis Project by Shelly Navarre

The Problem: 

Miami University students don’t think about becoming an organ donor until they go to the DMV to renew their license and at this point their decision is rushed.

Success Statement: 

Prepare and facilitate an environment for Miami University students between the ages of 18-20 to think about becoming an organ donor so that they can make the appropriate choice for themselves.

Target Audience: 

Miami University students ages 18-20

Final Concept: Got Guts



A Senior Thesis Project by Haley Wright


The Problem: Miami University college women don’t know how to accept and love their bodies due to the body image standards set by the media.

Success Statement: My solution will have succeeded if more women accept their body and start to love it despite the body image standards set by the media.

Target Audience: Women ages 18 – 22 attending Miami University

Design Solution: Shape is a positive body image campaign that catches women in those moments of reflection throughout the day where they would least expect it. More information can be found on Shape’s twitter page about what other campaigns are doing and how other women are coping with the media. A Mirror handout/buttons/ stickers are all given out for participating in the campaign along with a fold out poster to hang in your mirror at home.  A concluding statement about your project, its parts, and what you learned.



A Senior Thesis Project by Chris Kilmer-Lipinski

The Problem: Teachers, specifically at Kramer Elementary School, are finding difficulties when teaching autistic students because of their extreme “meltdowns” or  “episodes.”

Scoop_ipadSuccess Statement: Teachers will have a better understanding of how to treat the child when he or she has an “episode.”

Target Audience: Special aid teachers from Kramer teaching autistic children between the ages of 5-10.

Solution: Scoop is an app that allows for the student’s teachers/aids to collaborate on one platform to showcase different ways to calm the child during an “episode.” The name Scoop comes from the avatar the child will use through out the school year. The Scoop would be for the teacher and child to reference. Furthermore, an autistic child can have as many as 5 different teachers/aids; therefore, Scoop creates a platform for all the teachers to share notes and methods on how to prevent and calm the child if he or she is having a “meltdown.” The app also includes things such as the child’s schedule, IEP, and even complies social stories. Lastly, the avatar the child has created will be seen where ever the child goes in an educational setting. For example, the child will see his or her scoop on the bus, and they will know where to sit.

Family Vacation

A Senior Thesis Project by Brianna Doxsey

ipad_2595949bProblem: Video Games on smart phones are too isolating, creating a lack of social interaction between family members.

Success Statement: There will be more social interaction between family members while gaming, ultimately creating stronger bonds between them.

Target Audience: Families with children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Final Solution: Family Vacation is a game which brings families closer together by making their gaming experience more social and interactive. By using an app in combination with a game board, it eradicates half of the mess used to play a board game while bridging a generation gap. Many parents prefer playing board games, while many children prefer simply playing what is most available to them on their phones. Family Vacation combines the two in a fun and unique way in order to help develop closer communication between family members. Another way in which Family Vacation achieves this is by having different decks of cards which create interactions between its players. One card, for example, may prompt you to state something you know about another player, while another card may have you act something out.

From testing Family Vacation I gained a lot of confidence within the game. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but modifications still need to be made. The biggest criticism was that it is easier to play a one player game, so my next would be to solve that by making a more convenient game board.



18 Cents Smarter

Senior Thesis Project by Shelbie Milam

IMG_1732The problem: Graduating women at Miami University lacking confidence to negotiate their starting salaries due to negative gender stereotypes.

Success Statement: Graduating women at Miami University will feel empowered to advocate for themselves by negotiating their starting salaries regardless of negative gender stereotypes.

Target Audience: Graduating women at Miami University.

Final Solution: The resulting concept is called 18 Cents Smarter, because female graduates make an average of 18 cents less /dollar than their male counterparts. This campaign utilizes disruptive, bold colors and simple wayfinding icons to show what 18 cents difference looks like in a physical setting. The staircase installation does not allow women to enter the top 18%, to demonstrate the 18% of their salary that they could be missing out on. Women were also given pencils that were missing 18% of the length. Both of these methods were used to grab women’s attention and direct them to the campaign’s facebook page, serves as an informative resource. Since it’s launch, I have been continually posting resources and articles. It has gained a lot of traction in the last month, with over 140 followers, and over 3000 people reached.


IMG_8705The Problem: We are living longer and saving less.

Success Statement: 13.70 will be successful if participants are informed as to why saving in your 20s is beneficial and are encouraged to make choice financial decision to begin their journey to financial accountability.

Target Audience: College students about to graduate and enter the workforce.

Design Solution: I ultimately decided to create a kit. After the feedback I received both from those who I tested my prototypes on and midterm critique, I needed to create a solution that was less intimidating and overwhelming. Essentially, the kit strives to break down the content in such a way that interacts with the target market at point of purchases and channels in which are easy to comprehend and engaging.

Process: Download a copy of the 13.01 process book here

Build A Discussion

A Senior Thesis Project by Sam SwindellTextures

The Problem: Choice reading is hard for teachers to implement into lesson plans.

Success Statement: Choice reading is easier for teachers to implement into lesson plans.

Target Audience: High school English teachers and students.

Design Solution: Build A Discussion encourages classroom interaction in a positive way, by giving students something to guide them. Utilizing many hands on materials and activities is the key to this solution. When students have something to hold and touch it feels more connected and helps them with their discussions. These tools will help lighten the load on teachers and allow them to structure choice reading lessons with less difficulty.

Process: Download or view on the web!

Ride to Class

A Senior Thesis Project By Collin Pagenstecher


Problem Statement:  Students at Miami have forgotten the joy of riding a bike, and aren’t aware that it is a viable means of transportation around campus.

Solution Statement: Show students that biking is a viable alternative to walking and or driving to class.

Final Solution: Originally, I wanted to provide bicycle rentals to students on campus, as a promotion to get people physically on bikes and to remember how enjoying the experience of riding is. I had print materials, advertising the event designed and talked to the local bike shop, who were willing to donate bikes. Unfortunately however, due to the way Miami handles event scheduling this was not possible.

After taking a step back, I re-evaluated my thesis and realized that the end goal was to get students on bikes. And since I couldn’t actually provide the students with bikes myself I wanted to come up with a means to get people excited about biking through a promotional print campaign targeted towards freshman students. Who are most likely to be influenced into not only bringing their bike to campus but riding it to class as well.

Going Forwardac_redbike-700x615.widea

Throughout the course of this project and semester it has become apparent that Miami students are definitely perceptive to the idea of biking to class. The problem is that many of them have forgotten the joy of riding.

Everybody has that distinct memory of the first time they rode a bike the goal however is to leverage those memories in a way that gets students excited about biking.

The best way of doing this is by getting students on bikes. In the future Miami should consider programs like Cincinnati’s “Red Bike”

process book – Abuse of “Study Drugs” on Campus 

A Senior Thesis Project by Mikala Marrone

Mikala Marrone The Problem: Undergraduate students attending Miami University choose to illegally misuse prescription “study drugs” in order to study more, party more, and sell to fellow students across campus.

Success Statement: If successful, my solution will bring valuable knowledge to students that prevents them from misusing “study drugs”.

Target Audience: Undergraduate college students attending Miami University. 

Design Solution: is an established website were users can utilize to gain and test their knowledge on the privacy of their cell phone, laptop, or tablet device. This website contains carefully selected trusted articles containing the information that college students need to know concerning the risks of misusing “study drugs”. After viewing the information provided on the site, users are offered to participate in an on-line quiz/survey to asses their gained knowledge and opinion surrounding “study drugs”. All participants are automatically entered to win a $25 Chipotle gift card just for providing their email and completing the quiz/survey. Wristbands and fliers were distributed uptown at bars and across campus respectively. These locations were determined by predicting where students using “study drugs” for both work and play. This promo advertised the web-page with an incentive of the Chipotle gift card.

Process: Download a PDF of the process notebook for this project.

Sleep Easy

A Senior Thesis Project by Morgan Holliday

final app design homepage mockupThe Problem:Miami University students do not have an on-hand solution to educate them on healthy sleep habits.

Success Statement:Miami University students will be more aware of how sleep can negatively affect them.

Target Audience:Students at Miami University

Design Solution: Sleep Easy is a resource form Miami students to use to help them not only sleep better but also to learn more about the effects of sleep. My Final revision features a “choose your own adventure” style where you take a test at the beginning of using it to decide which feature works best for you. I also mocked up a semi functioning version of the app that allows you to see how the app will work.

Process: Download a PDF of the process notebook for this project.

DFY Do For You

A Senior Thesis Project by Hannah Fogle

The Problem: College aged students in the US are living a monotonous lifestyle causing them to become bored, stressed, frustrated, or unproductive.

Success Statement: College aged students in the US will be more willing to try new things, or disrupt their lives, actually causing them to become less stressed and more productive.

Target Audience: College Students (Specifically 23 students from 23 schools)

Design Solution: DFY Do For You is a concept turned lifestyle. It helps students and recent grads get out of the rut they are inevitably in. My project helps users by giving them a place to start, activities they can do to interrupt their monotonous lifestyle. Ideally, the user would find something they love to do and something that makes them happy when life is stressing them out. Participants can use scratch off cards to reveal a dare, a phone app to help them get started, stickers as a constant reminder, and a calendar to keep them accountable all year long.

Process: FogleProcessBook

Little Talks — Big Thoughts

A Senior Thesis Project by Nicole Berry

The Problem: SONY DSCParents of children who are experiencing a suicide related death in their family are not starting the conversation to explain the loss.

Success Statement: Parents will see the importance of starting the conversation and be given the information and/or tools to discuss the suicide related death with their children.

Target Audience: Families, with preschool—elementary age children, who are coping with a suicide.

Design Solution:  The book series Little Talks—Big Thoughts gives parents the tools to start the conversation about a suicide related death with their children. It gives them three levels of explanation; book one-mental illness, book two-death, and book three-suicide. The series also includes a parent guide which gives information on each intended subject description, questions that children may pose, and responses that would be helpful to answer them. Additionally I created marketing materials so that parents know the benefits of this new tool. Posters will distributed to counseling center and flyers can be given by friends and family that give information on the series and where to purchase it. Ideally I would like to partner with suicide awareness organizations (i.e. American Foundation of Suicide Prevention) to get this tool in the hands of parents who need this sort of help.

Toast and Buckethead

A Senior Thesis Project by Megan Mattera


The Problem: To address the lack of fire safety education among college students on campus at Miami University in Oxford, OH.

Success Statement: Miami University students will know more about fire safety so there will be fewer fires on campus.

Target Audience: My target audience is Miami University college freshman, sophomores, and sororities in on campus dorms on Miami University from the ages of 18-23.

Design Solution: “Toast and Buckethead” are quite the dynamic duo. They are featured in a booklet for the University that deals with the topic of fire safety. This pair figures out how to extinguish fires in a more humorous fashion. Although, Buckethead usually does not have the brightest ideas of how to put out fires or get them both to safety. Toast and Buckethead use humor to connect with students, help them understand a serious topic and make them more aware of the rules. So far it’s been a hit!

Process: View Process Book

Parking At Miami

final Mk HOMEA Senior Thesis Project by Yuenyi Cheung.

Design Problem: There is a concern within Miami University that always bother students and visitors. Miami University’s parking policy is always so complicated due to its permits as well as the parking markers on campus.

Success Statement: Miami University students, functionary and visitors will find a parking space more easily.

Target Audience:  Miami University students, faculty and visitors.


Design Solution: Parking At Miami App. Miami’s parking police is very complex and confused. Students and visitors always report a difficulty finding a right parking spot. They also indicated that the parking map doesn’t help much because it was very hard to keep and use. Therefore, I come out the idea of Miami Parking App. This App can quickly lead you to a right parking spot on campus as long as you go to the App and follow its indication. For example, you just need to define yourself as student or visitors and input your destination, the App will outcome a map like a GPS and show you the map as well as direction. As a conclusion, students and visitors find a proper parking spot easier and quicker.

Processes book-Yuenyi

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Dennis Cheatham

Associate Professor of Communication Design

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