The Graphic Design program, housed within Wilkinson College, has formed a partnership with the Orangewood-based high school Samueli Academy to improve the college and career readiness of students in the academy’s Design Pathway program. Samueli Academy, which opened in 2013 to provide a better education for disadvantaged students, takes a work-based learning approach featuring a cross-disciplinary, customizable, and project-based curriculum. 

“Many of our students at Samueli start their educational journey behind the opportunity curve so it is vital that we provide them with a program that inspires their passion and delivers the 21st Century Skills that will move them directly into college or career,” said Patricia Vining, a design instructor at Samueli Academy and a former Art Instructor at Wilkinson College.

Through this innovative partnership, high school students at the Samueli Academy will gain further insight into higher education and careers in graphic design by attending guest speaker lectures and career discovery days. Samueli students will gain exclusive access to events like Wilkinson Department of Art’s Margo Pawell Design Symposium and the Orange County Portfolio Review, where they will be able to network and learn from artists and other industry professionals. 

Samueli Fashion Club students host Avril Graham, Beauty and Style Editor of Harper’s Bazaar

The partnership will also provide opportunities for mentorship and “two-way” internship opportunities for current Chapman students and Samueli students to work together on projects.

“Several years ago Chapman made a concerted effort to support our local schools in underserved communities,” said Chapman Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Mike Pelly. “This includes forging partnerships with Orange County Community-Based Organizations, whose primary purpose is serving students. Samueli Academy fits this model well and is a natural partner.”

Wilkinson’s Graphic Design program and the Samueli Academy will also be working on developing a community college matriculation framework to give Samueli students a better chance at Chapman admission after first completing their associate’s degree.

(Clockwise from top left) Samueli students Destiny Garcia, Nicholas Sanchez, Sam Naismith, and Faith Sullivan present projects they have been working on in their curriculum. Their projects are featured at Samueli’s annual student exhibition, the Firewolf Festival.

The program reinforces the notion that a career in graphic design is worth pursuing through encouragement and mentorship from Wilkinson faculty and current students. 

“Wilkinson College is proud to provide these high school students the opportunity to participate in college seminars, workshops, mentorships, and professional design portfolio review,” Dean Jennifer D. Keene stated. “This partnership moves these students past the traditional college tour, it demonstrates to them that college is attainable. More so, it gives them concrete hope that following your passion and talent, such as graphic design, in college can lead to a fruitful and successful career.”