Penn College graphic design students earn Student American Advertising Awards

March 21, 2016

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Five graphic design students at the Pennsylvania College of Technology have earned Student American Advertising Awards from the American Advertising Federation of Northeast Pennsylvania.

In an impressive showing, the Penn College students captured four of six gold awards and six of eight silver awards. They were honored at the association’s annual awards banquet Feb. 26 at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton.

Zachary G. Bird, of South Williamsport, won three gold Student American Advertising Awards and one silver. Bird received golds for his “American Bird Conservancy” annual report, “Bijou Theatre Arts & Events Guide” in the special event materials category, and his “Is College Tuition Really Too High?” magazine feature. His “Epic Percussion” entry captured a silver award in the integrated brand identity campaign.

Also capturing a student gold award was Laura H. Pursel, of Williamsport, for her “Guitarley’s” logo design. Pursel also received two silver awards in the packaging category for her “Himalayan Pink Rock Salt” and “The Squeeze Juice Bar & Café Takeaway” entries.

Silver honors also went to Onolee M. Oberrender, of Bloomsburg, for her “Switch Foot Brewing Company” beer packaging; Todd R. Surkovich, of State College, for his “” magazine ad; and Nicholas J. Vetock, of Shippensburg, for his “Great American Smokeout” poster.

Gold award winners from the regional level move on to a district competition in New York City.

Bird, Pursel, Oberrender and Vetock are seniors in Penn College’s bachelor of science degree in graphic design. Surkovich is a junior in the major.

As an affiliate on the American Advertising Federation, AAFNEPA is dedicated to promoting greater effectiveness in the use of advertising and fostering higher standards of practice in advertising and public communications.

AAF’s Student American Advertising Awards Competition, part of its American Advertising Awards, is a national program honoring college students and recognizing excellence in advertising. The American Advertising Awards are the largest creative awards competition in the advertising industry.

“The American Advertising Awards are a great opportunity to have Penn College student design work viewed and evaluated by professionals in the field,” said Nicholas L. Stephenson, instructor in graphic design, who accompanied the students to the awards dinner. “Our students have had enormous success in this competition at both the local and regional level in large part because of our commitment to ‘real world’ design solutions that balance concept, form and function. We had a great evening. As always, the AAFNEPA put on an amazing awards show.”

An exhibition of graphic design, illustration and Web design by seniors in Penn College’s graphic design major will be held April 29 through May 13 at The Gallery at Penn College. “Design: 2016” will feature an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 29. The exhibit is open and free to the public.

To learn more about the graphic design and art majors at Penn College, visit

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated March 21, 2016