Slavery in the 21st Century: A WaVE Exhibit of Writing, Art and Activism

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Campus

Created through collaboration between College Writing and Graphic Design classes, this student exhibit combines student writings and visual design projects to take a close look at slavery as it exists and persists in the 21st century.  For this project, writing and graphic art students did research, wrote creative and academic texts and designed posters that work to inform and inspire change.

Students in Jacqueline Regan’s writing classes conducted research on the topic of modern slavery and posted findings on a blog that is shared with artists in Janet O’Neil’s graphic design course Computer Graphic Design for Social Responsibility.  Artists and writers used the shared blog to collaborate online to create many different texts for this exhibit. Artists looked at research posted by writers and drew upon it to inform artistic choices; artists and writers posted and discussed images that reflect the plight of modern slaves and writers wrote poetry to accompany the images.  Writers also created abstracts for their academic writings.  These are also will part of the exhibit.

To see all parts of this exhibit, click on the tab above “Slavery in the 21st Century.”  Follow the menus to see the work of FDU students.

andrew_remeniski slavery in the 21st century - Copy

Artwork above by Anonymous, Student at FDU, Graphic Art Design

The current exhibit is connected with FDU: Reading the World, our campus author series. During the years of 2014- 15 and 2015-16, incoming freshmen read the work of James McBride, our selected campus book author.  McBride’s book, The Good Lord Bird, which focused on John Brown’s efforts to end slavery and his march to Harper’s Ferry, was featured,but other texts connected with the themes of slavery and racism were also tackled.  As part of the yearlong reading program, students researched modern forms of slavery and read Little Princes, a book by Conor Grennan about his work to end child slavery in Nepal.  Grennan visited FDU in April of 2016 and spoke to students for the opening of the show.

Modern Slavery Poster Janet FINAL sp 16

Above poster design by Janet O’Neil, Associate Professor of Graphic Art Design

To see the rest of the exhibit, look at the drop down menu on this tab. 


Gestures of Love: A Student Writing and Design Exhibit in Support of the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children

Gestures of Love: A Student Writing and Design Exhibit in Support of the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children

A WaVE ExhibitWriting and Visual Expression @ FDU

This exhibit is the result of collaboration between students in art and writing classes at FDU.

Janet O’Neil’s Graphic Design Students have created posters to raise awareness about AIDS.  These will be donated to the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children.   Two of the artists have provided a reflection about this project and about their work.

Jaclyn Harte’s Research Writing Workshop students studied and wrote about current AIDS issues and designed and implemented service learning projects for the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children and for St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center.   Writer reflections are included here.


AIDS tedesco Katie Anybody can be a hero               Katie Tedesco

Artist Reflection:

My name is Katie Tedesco and I am a senior graphic design major. As a graphic designer I am often working on multiple projects at once. It sounds nightmarish working on up to ten different projects at once, but I enjoy it because I like to multitask. What keeps me sane is taking on a lot of different projects so that when I am just about to lose my mind on one I can switch to the next which is always an entirely different experience. This is all relevant because the course I am taking right now is titled The Digital Children’s Book ; however, I am not writing about experience with creating a children’s book; instead, another assignment was given out in this class—to create a poster for AIDS awareness. As someone who prides herself on having a largely diverse group of friends the majority of whom are gay, I am embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about the disease when I was first given this assignment. But I fell in love with the movie The Dallas Buyers Club a few years ago and became heavily invested when award season came around, hoping for the movie, especially the actors to win the Oscars because this topic is so important.  The movie inspired me so I looked back to it for this project.

The first thing I did to work on my AIDS awareness poster was to do some research on the film, hoping to base my poster on its amazing story. This ended up not being the best idea because according to many AIDS advocates the film didn’t depict the disease or story realistically and there is lot of hate towards the actor who played a transgendered character.  I decided that I didn’t want to base my piece around a movie character who may or may not be based on a real life person, and instead, I researched actual historical figures.  I want to honor actual people who gave their lives to the cause rather than focus on a fictional character.  One article that inspired me is by Fallon Fox, who is a transgender MMA fighter. Fox wrote the article Forget The Oscar: Jared Leto Was Miscast in Dallas Buyers Club. It’s one of the first things that you will come across while researching Jared Leto’s character.

I decided to take the Fox’s advice and educate myself on the real heroes who devoted their lives fighting this disease both publically and internally. I came up with six celebrities whose stories were all just so inspiring and everything they did felt so heroic. That’s when I got the idea to depict them as what they are, heroes. Being a huge comic book nerd, I was excited to create this piece with the classic comic book elements while still keeping the theme of showing the strength behind these brave individuals. I hope when people, especially those my age and younger, look at my piece they will take time to look up the names of the heroes so that they can read and be inspired by their stories as well.

–Katie Tedesco, Artist and Writer

Student Volunteers Reflect: Jennifer Cannella

AIDS Resource Foundation for Children (ARFC)

The AIDS Resource Foundation for Children (ARFC) is going to profit from the action plan my group designed. Our intention is to collect various stories from boys and girls ranging in ages 0 to 21 years old. After each of us has found of five stories, we are going to compile them into a book. Each story will be put into a scrapbook that we will decorate to make look inviting. The completed book will be given to the foundation. The goal is for children to understand that they are not alone and that others have gone through the disease and come out the other side. By showing the children stories of people who have become successful, we are hoping to inspire hope and stimulate growth within each child. Service work in the HIV Awareness area had a completely different effect on me than I had thought it would. Before joining this English class, I had not fully wrapped my head around how big of an issue HIV remains. I thought that the epidemic had calmed down and not was many people were suffering from the virus. After the first two weeks of class, I knew that I had been naïve in thinking so. Between hearing people speak passionately about wanting to help others and hearing the incredibly sad stories about those who have lost countless loved ones due to the disease, I could not help but to be motivated to make a change. Every effort made will directly impact a variety of people’s lives in drastic ways, including the smallest attempts. When a person is doing what they can to help other human beings, they are able to witness the alterations first hand. There is nothing that comes close to the feeling of seeing a difference made within a person’s life.

— Jennifer Cannella, Writer

SERVICE PROJECT:  Jennifer was member of a group of three students who made a “scrapbook of hope.”  The group collected success stories of children who have been affected by AIDS to donate to the children at the ARFC.

lorencovitz mark aids poster fa 2015Mark Lorencovitz, Artist and Writer

Artist Reflection:

When approaching the design of my AIDS awareness poster, I thought a great way to grab the attention of the viewer was with numbers.  I wanted the numbers to be from a credible source, so I thought that anything from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) would be a value.

I think the bar graph as the main focal point really draws the viewer in to take a closer look. The next element down in visual hierarchy—the phrase “HIV by age”—communicates to the viewer what the bar graph is about.

I used the color red to put emphasis on the “20 – 29” bar and show its connection to the main subject “HIV by age.” I also used red to communicate a sense of urgency as well as the danger of HIV and AIDS.

Finally, I chose to put the passage from the CDC on the poster because it gives added information.  Also, it shows that the numbers from the graph are from a credible site and not just made up or from a questionable source.

–Mark Lorencovitz, Artist and Writer

AIDS mcarty amanda What if it were you     Amanda McCarty

Rich Reidy richard_reidy


Alex Duarte        AIDS alex_duarte greet aids with open arms   

Lama Shahat        AIDS lama_shahat Keep calm fight on

AIDS evan_ericson2 think positive     Evan Ericson

Latonya Stevenson  latonya_stevenson - Copy

rachel_muldowney Rachel Muldowney

Yuliesy_lopez Yuleisy Lopez

rebecca_chester Rebecca Chester


Connor Vallee  connor_vallee - Copy


evan_ericson` - Copy Evan Ericson


Neil Ullman  neil_ullman

AIDS Catalog sheet - Copy

Voices for Change:  A Student Writing and Design Exhibit for Animal Welfare

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

This exhibit features student written and design work on the topic of animal welfare.  Two classes have been working on this project.   Jaclyn Harte’s Research Writing students have been volunteering at St. Hubert’s, a local animal shelter, conducting research and writing about animal rights and running a number of related on campus fund-raisers.  Their writings will be featured as part of the exhibit.   Janet O’Neil’s graphic art students have designed posters that work to encourage pet adoption and heighten awareness on animal abuse. 

Representatives from two local shelters have also been invited to the opening. 

Design students were asked to reflect on their artistic process; writers responded to designs, wrote about volunteer experience and offered observations on the topic of animal welfare. 

Voices show tedesco katie fish in bottle sp 15  “It’s not a Joke” by Katie Tedesco:  Coming into this project I knew it was going to be a struggle. I am a huge animal lover and have a hard time researching the cruel things done to them. I figured my classmates would be focusing on dogs, cats and farm animals so I immediately wanted to do marine life and be different. I started by researching animal smuggling, and I came across some pictures of beautiful tropical fish being transported in small, dirty water bottles. I used those pictures to try and think of something clever to do with smuggling tropical fish, but I ended up really disliking the end result. Although I did submit that so I could meet the deadline, I continued to research other marine life horrors, which lead me to the documentary Blackfish. I watched the film when it first came out and a few of the scenes really haunted me but for the sake of research I decided to watch it again. The night after I reviewed the film, there was a guest speaker event for the graphic design department. The presenter, ginger Jess,  showed her piece titled Tilikum’s Nightmare, which she created after watching the film Blackfish, and that helped me think of a few ideas for how to create my poster. I’m still not thrilled with the outcome of my piece because I think it’s a very simple example of a very complicated topic. I will probably work on it more in my free time only because the film affected me so much and I want my representation of it to be just as effective. The rest of the class’s posters are phenomenal and a lot more graphic than I imagined they would be. Overall I think as a class we did a great job at portraying these very sensitive issues and they look really cool hanging in the gallery.

Katie is a graphic design major at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Her passion for her craft comes from her grandmother who was the graphic designer for the Independent Press Newspaper. She uses her digital illustration skills to create minimalist designs.

Tilicum's Nightmare tumblr_myr8caY3jw1rhs9fzo1_1280  Tillicum’s Nightmare by Ginger Jess

Katie has two pieces in this show.  Both demonstrate her concern about marine life.  Her second poster asks her audience to think about the effects of captivity on Killer Whales:

voices show katie_tedesco 2 whale


 “Keep Their Innocence” by Alexandra Duarte:

Voices show alex_duarte sp 15 keep their innocence Alex is a junior majoring in graphic design and minoring in PR and advertising.  She is also a member of the swim team and enjoys weight lifting.

voices show candace_ayers  sp 15  be a lover dog kisses




“I’m a Lover Not a Fighter” by Candice Ayres-Arnold

Candice is an FDU alum currently pursuing a career as a Graphic Designer at Fox News Channel in New York City. She back at FDU to take a class with Janet O’Neil to focus in on typography skills and improve her skill-set as a designer.  The focus on animal welfare for this exhibit holds a very special place in her heart, which is why she chose her own pit bull, Oliver, as the main image.

A thought about dog fighting…

Ema Dias: Animal cruelty is a lot more common than most of the public thinks. It is more than using innocent animals for dog fighting; it is neglecting to feed and love them, leaving them in the hands of inadequate or unstable care, and treating them as objects rather than living creatures.

voices show haran_miller sp 15 bandaged dog  “What do you have to say?”  by Anonymous

voices show jessica_scrudato sp 15 piece of meat   “Do I Look Like a Piece of Meat?” by Jessica Scrudato.  Jessica is a sophomore graphic design major. She currently works for FDU’s Campus Life Program as a graphic designer.

voices show mackenzie_appler_updated black background correct versionMcKenzie Appler is a senior communication studies major with a focus in advertising and humanities. This is her first exhibition at Fairleigh Dickinson.  McKenzie submitted two designs for the exhibit: at right, “You Can’t Tell the Difference” and below, “Fashionable?”

voices show mackenzie_appler_02 tiger sp 15    “Fashionable?” by McKenzie Appler

Some thoughts about endangered species and the fashion industry…

Anonymous Domestic animals are not the only animals at risk. Rare or endangered species of animals are even more at risk for mistreatment due to the perceived monetary value of the animal.  Killing these animals has been a practice going on for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Anonymous: While researching, I found surprising statistics about the number of animals being used to make clothing. Fur coats take the lives of over 70 million animals. A large number of animals are used in the production of leather items.   It is astonishing that people continue to produce and buy products that cause so much suffering for cute animals, such as rabbits and minks.

Voices show macy_bozzo sp 15 makeup“Buy Cruelty Free” by Macey Bozzo.  Macey is a graphic design major. She worked for a couple years at Camp Bow Wow, a daytime and overnight care center for dogs.  Her love for animals is evident, and she hopes the posters prove to be impactful.

Some thoughts about animal testing…

Sara Orkline: Animal testing is still happening. Although it is banned in the United States, there are definitely still places that still use animals for testing cosmetics and other products. These animals are not treated fairly and are most often killed after the testing is concluded. There are laws against animal testing but unfortunately people find ways around the system without ever getting caught.

Arielle Golod:  The government spends billions of tax dollars on animal experimentation and people who advocate it justify their actions by saying “they’re not like us,” but they are like us.   Doing simple things, like buying non-animal tested products, can make a big difference for animal welfare.

Voices show evan_ericson sp 15  she doesn't blend  “she doesn’t blend” by Evan Ericson

voices show rich_reidy  sp 15 kitten with dreams “I Have Dreams Too” by Rich Reidy.  Rich is a junior in Fairleigh Dickinson’s graphic design and animation programs.  He rescued his pet cat Haley when she was a stray in the forest and enjoys cuddling with her for a nap.  In his free time, he lifts at a local gym.

Voices show melissa_carles sp 15 for that dog world is changed   “The World Will Change Forever” byAnonymous is a junior, majoring in marketing with a digital concentration and minoring in computer graphic design. She is a member of the women’s soccer team and is involved in many clubs and activities on campus, including the Student Government Association and Colleges Against Cancer club. In her spare time she loves to listen to music and write poetry. One thing you may not know about Melissa is that she starred in an MTV game show called The Substitute back in 2012. She hopes one day she will be able to truly inspire someone through her words, artwork, and actions.

A thought about how volunteering changes lives…

Anonymous: After volunteering at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and listening to class discussions in general, I learned that the welfare of all animals depends our decisions and actions. When someone chooses to adopt a puppy, that animal’s life is forever changed for the better.  The decision to adopt affects the animal’s whole life.  Also, when people decide to donate to shelters or welfare groups, no matter what the amount, it helps support the life of an animal or multiple animals.  Overall, any small act of kindness towards animals counts.

voices show Opemipo_Sokan2_02 sp 15 bring joy   “Bring Joy to His World” by Sokan Opemipo.  Ope is an aspiring graphic artist whose one, true love is comics. He loves to draw.

A thought about how pet adoption changes lives…

Anonymous: While researching the organization for my final research paper, I came across a great number of organizations that support animals. There are many organizations out there that support all different kinds of animals. They range from small animal shelters to sanctuaries and rescue groups. Many are specific to certain animals, such as elephant sanctuaries or dog shelters. But all of them exist to make the world a better place for all animals.

voices show michael_roman  “What is Love?”  Michael Roman

voices show latonya_stevenson_updated “Fight for Animal Rights” by Anonymous.  Latonya is a junior at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her major is graphic design. In her spare time she loves to curl up in her bed and scroll through Pinterest for new ideas.

“Fight for Animal Rights”  by Sydney Worek.  Sydney is a junior here at FDU, majoring in computer animation and minoring in computer graphics. This is Sydney’s second show in the WaVE.

voices show sydney_worek


A final word and a thought on Animal Rights…

Sydney Clopton: Animals have lives of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us.




Voices for Change: A Student Writing and Design Exhibit for Animal Welfare

Covering the Good Lord Bird: A Student Design Exhibit

Covering the Good Lord Bird: A Student Design Exhibit

November 19, 2014 – March 2015

Covering James McBride all student images

This student design exhibit is linked with the College Writing Program and celebrates the importance of process in writing, thought and art.  Author James McBride comments on this essential trait of creativity and his music presents it to us as well.  On the back of his album The Process, James McBride writes:

“The process is continual, it evolves, it is its own self, it takes its own form and it never ends.”

Students in Janet O’Neill’s introductory graphic design course were asked to read and think about important ideas in McBride’s book, The Good Lord Bird and then create a new cover for the novel. Their work is on view as a WaVE exhibition in the College Writing Office, upper floor Monninger Center, room 222.  Thumb nail views are posted above.