Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF)

GAERF Awards Scholarships to Competitors in SkillsUSA National Championships

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to the nation's top advertising design, graphic communications and screen printing technology students who participated in the SkillsUSA Championships held June 19-24, 2012, in Kansas City, MO.

"GAERF is committed to supporting programs that prepare our workforce of the future," said Ralph J. Nappi, GAERF President. "In this spirit, we are delighted to recognize our industry's most talented students and encourage them to consider the many exciting career opportunities the graphic communications industry has to offer."

The annual event, which this year hosted nearly 6,000 contestants competing in 94 different skill and leadership contests, showcases the top career and technical education students in the nation. Its purpose is to reward students for excellence, directly involve industry in evaluating student performance, and provide training relevant to employers' needs. To that end, the exhibition—which occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields—is held with the assistance and support of industry, trade associations and labor organizations.

To become eligible for the national competition, students must first compete at the local and state levels. Two representatives from each state—one at the high school level and one at post-secondary—then advance to the national competition.

Advertising and Design medalists at the secondary level were:

• Gold: Marissa Ebanks from Tampa Bay Technical High School, Tampa, FL

• Silver: Molly Marshall from Carroll County Career & Technology Center, Westminster, MD

• Bronze: Robina Ghosh from Westwood High School, Austin, TX

At the post-secondary level, the winners were:

• Gold: Lexie Helwig from Augusta Technical College, Augusta, GA

• Silver: Valecia Hopper from Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, NC

• Bronze: Danae Cierzan from Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, IA

Graphic Communications medalists at the secondary level were:

• Gold: Matthew Prior from H. C. Wilcox Technical High School, Meriden, CT

• Silver: Richard Brewer from Center of Applied Technology North, Severn, MD

• Bronze: Hunter Pipes from Hibriten High School, Lenoir, NC

At the post-secondary level, the winners were:

• Gold: John Bohnett from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI

• Silver: Heather Ashe from Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC

• Bronze: Jared Christofferson from Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, UT

Screen Printing Technology medalists at the secondary level were:

• Gold: Hunter Bowling from Hiram High School, Hiram, GA

• Silver: Bryan Dedeurwaerder from Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology, Reno, NV

• Bronze: Jordan Merritt from Wayne High School, Wayne, WV

At the post-secondary level, the winners were:

• Gold: Kelsey Freitas from Oxford Hills Technical School, Norway, ME

• Silver: Gregorio Miranda from Abram Friedman Occupational Center, Los Angeles, CA

• Bronze: Josh Helms from Arkansas Career Training Institute, Hot Springs, AR

For more information about GAERF scholarships, contact GAERF Director Eileen Cassidy at phone: (703) 264-7200 or email: