Success by design: A big year at the Addys for UW-Green Bay

A UW-Green Bay student is advancing to the national American Advertising Federation Addy Awards competition, having qualified at the district level earlier this year.

Senior Matt Vanden Boomen is one of two UW-Green Bay graphic design students — along with fellow senior Sarah Schrader — who were honored during the district awards ceremony, held in February at Lawrence University in Appleton. Two faculty members — Toni Damkoehler and Addie Sorbo — also took home Addy Awards during the event, which recognizes outstanding student and faculty work in advertising.

Vanden Boomen (pictured above) is a senior Design Arts major who received two Student Silver awards and one Student Gold award at the district competition. The Student Gold designation automatically qualifies his piece to be judged at the national level, with awards presented June 8 during the AAF’s national conference in Phoenix.

Receiving three trophies during the district-level Addy gala is notable because even professional designers rarely receive even two, organizers say. Vanden Boomen remains humble despite the success, he looks toward the future and how the designation may turn the heads of potential employers.

“The company I was interning for offered me a paid position soon after they found out about my work winning awards at the Addys,” Vanden Boomen said. “This accomplishment will definitely set me a part from others designers in the future, too.”

Vanden Boomen received Student Silver medals for his Design Studio III coffee shop “404” campaign and for his Design Studio III “Mustache Milk” men’s cologne package design. The Student Gold medal was awarded for his part in the graphic design of last fall’s issue of UW-Green Bay’s student produced magazine, the Sheepshead Review.

Designing the Sheepshead Review is a collaboration among many students and a faculty adviser, Vanden Boomen said. He was the creative editor on the project, while fellow student Jake Jenkins participated in the effort as the journal’s chief layout editor. The student editor-in-chief, Kelsey Duquaine, gave input into the final product, and faculty advisor Chuck Rybak, English and Humanistic Studies, was also key during the design process, Vanden Boomen said.

Schrader (pictured left), a senior Design Arts major, was recognized for her work in advertising design. No stranger to the Addys, Schrader received a district Student Silver Award for the second consecutive year. She noted that her time at UW-Green Bay has been filled with opportunities to pursue goals outside of academics, and she insists every student should do more than just class work. Earning recognition during the Addys was that something extra for Schrader.

“This is a recognizable award, it’s not just a local event, it’s possible to receive national attention,” Schrader said. “Everyone is striving for it.”

Schrader received Student Silver for her “Open MIC Night” poster for the University Union, where she is a graphic designer.

The image of the brooding artist doesn’t accurately describe Vanden Boomen or Schrader. Their creative process allows for constant change and adaptation, both say. Each year the Addys come around and the two students set out to find their best work from the previous year.

“I don’t design anything with the intention of entering it,” Schrader said. “I prefer to review my previous year’s work, and then decide which has been my strongest piece.”

UW-Green Bay students weren’t the only ones hauling in the hardware during the annual gala. Associate Prof. Toni Damkoehler received three awards during the Feb. 28 ceremony. Damkoehler, a UW-Green Bay alumna and current faculty member in the Design Arts department, earned a Gold Addy and two Silver Addys for designing a promotional poster for the UW-Green Bay Theatre program. Her creation of a poster illustration for the UW-Green Bay Theatre and Music production of Gone Missing was awarded with a Gold Addy. The same poster received a Silver Addy in the “advertising for the arts” category. Finally, Damkoehler’s work on UW-Green Bay Theatre’s bobrauchenbergamerica poster was awarded a Silver Addy.

Another UW-Green Bay alumna, lecturer Addie Sorbo, received a Silver Addy award for her design of the poster used during the advertising campaign for the 2012 production of UW-Green Bay Theatre and Music’s Cabaret.

Visit for more information on the Design Arts program at UW-Green Bay.