AAF-Akron presents nearly 30 ADDYs to UA students and faculty


The latest local round of the American Advertising Awards, presented by the Akron chapter of the American Advertising Federation, or AAF-Akron, was once again a triumph for many of our Myers School of Art graphic design students as well as faculty and alumni. The awards were presented Feb.21 at the Akron Civic Theatre.

AAF-Akron is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020. The milestone was recognized with proclamations from Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan; County Executive of Summit County Ilene Shapiro; and State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes.


A very happy group of student and faculty winners with their awards at the 2020 American Advertising Awards.

Among the winners of AAF-Akron American Advertising Awards were 15 students, three faculty members and numerous alumni.

“As in years past, Myers School of Art really stood out,” says Melissa Olson ’10, serving her second year as president of AAF-Akron. “The judges continue to be very impressed by the caliber of work coming out of all the area colleges, but especially the way the students at The University of Akron can see projects from many angles, including the consideration of copywriting and marketing as important elements of campaigns. Professionals notice the level of skill Myers students are taking with them into the workplace as they leave the classroom.”

Maria Groom won the Student Best of Show for a second year for her Integrated Brand Identity Campaign “Tea Dude” done at UA, which also earned a Gold Student ADDY. Additionally, Groom earned a Silver Student ADDY for her Cross-Platform Integrated Campaign “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” Groom will graduate in May and has garnered a lot of interest from advertising agencies across the state and region due to her continued success.

Maria Groom with BestOfShow Award

For a second year, Maria Groom won the Student Best of Show award.

Each year a scholarship is presented as part of the ceremonies. This year, senior graphic design major Abby Palombo was presented the $1,000 AGS Custom Graphics Scholarship.

The School of Art’s unique in-house student design studio, Design x 9, which provides a professional atmosphere, both in philosophy and physical space, won a professional Silver Award for a logo and T-shirt done for the 40th anniversary of UA’s Steel Drum Band.

The award-winning studio, now in its 24th year, is led by Janice Troutman, professor of art and director of the Myers School of Art, and John Morrison, associate professor and graphic design area coordinator. It offers graphic design students an opportunity to extend their training beyond the traditional classroom environment to work on real-world projects with deadlines, client meetings and budgets.

Also collecting a number of awards were faculty members Dave Flynn, Bob Kelemen and Dave Szalay.

Flynn won a Silver ADDY for his magazine campaign “Let’s Compare” done for Gardner Pie Company.

Kelemen won a Silver ADDY for his poster “Ham at Twenty” done for Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.

Abby Palombo with check

Pictured above, from left, are Wes Vanderwende, president, and Adrienne Sisler, senior account executive, AGS Custom Graphics ; scholarship winner Abby Palombo, senior graphic design major and marketing minor; and Jacob Farrar, director of UA’s Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing.

Szalay won a gold ADDY for his piece “Szalay Promo – Hope for Wilderness,” done for The CAT Agency, Inc. and a Silver ADDY for his piece “Ignite Fall: Living in Poverty,” done for NEOMED Ignite Magazine.

“It was another fantastic year for The University of Akron’s Graphic Design Program at the American Advertising Awards,” said Troutman, who was at the ceremony. “I am extremely proud to be part of the Myers School of Art’s talented faculty who lead the students to become skillful, creative professionals. Congratulations to the faculty, students and alumni.”

Here is the list of other student winners recognized for work done at UA:

  • Andrew Baker, Silver ADDY for “Sprint Annual Report,” and two Gold ADDYs for “Crushers Rebrand,” and “Crushers Logo.”
  • Amanda Ebert, Silver ADDY for “EQUALL.”
  • Niko Elenchevski, Silver ADDY for “Addiction is a Prison.”
  • Maria Englehart, Silver ADDY for “Encourage Her, Self Esteem Campaign.”
  • Andrew Kovac, Gold ADDY for “Norka Soda Rebrand.” 
  • Logan Mackulin, Silver ADDY for “83 Brewery.”
  • Kali Madden, Silver ADDY for “Don’t Talk Down.”
  • Nahan McDevitt, Silver ADDY for “Let’s Grow Akron Rebrand.”
  • Summer Patterson, Gold ADDY for “Chill Ice Creamery Rebrand.”
  • Tommy Phan, Gold ADDY for “Poké Fresh.”
  • Astrid Sidaway, Silver ADDY for “Bright Futures.”
  • Katie Simpson, Silver ADDY for “Crooked River Bikes Rebrand.”
  • Jake Spinner, Silver ADDY for “Campaign for Good,” and three Gold ADDYs for “Guinness Mailer,” “Earth Day Coalition ReBrand” and “Aviators Logo.”
  • Kim Wengerd, Gold ADDY for “Glow-in-the-Dark UFOFEST Poster.”