Two graphic design majors named to GDUSA’s 2024 Students to Watch

headshots of Ashley Curtis and Helen O’Dell
(l to r) Ashley Curtis and Helen O’Dell

MACON – Two senior graphic design majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been named among Graphic Design USA’s (GDUSA) 2024 Students to Watch.

Ashley Curtis game design/packaging sample

Ashley Curtis, from Cartersville, says she is passionate about sustainability and reflects that in the work she creates. She is planning to stay in Macon after graduation, and she said her goal is to work at a museum or gallery designing their promotional content.

“My love for art started at a young age. I particularly enjoyed drawing, and in high school I began learning graphic design,” Curtis said. “In my designs, I use a lot of color, and I am inspired by seeing the way colors interact in a composition. My favorite areas of design to work in are packaging design, publication design and illustration.”

Helen O’Dell brand design sample

Helen O’Dell, from Macon, says her designs are driven by community, and she strives to connect people through the commonality of design. She is planning to stay local after graduation to continue her design work for Cherokee Brick.

“I love to bring a community together through design,” O’Dell said. “I have collaborated with nearby businesses to enhance their branding and resources, enabling them to effectively connect with the community.”

Tennille Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, said this is a well-deserved honor for the students. “I am proud of the work ethic and creativity both Ashley and Helen have shown in their senior year of the design program,” she added.

Along with other Mercer 2024 graduating fine art and design students, Curtis’ and O’Dell’s work will be on display in the annual senior gallery exhibition, titled “Play” at the McEachern Art Center (the MAC) April 19 through May 31. The show’s opening reception on April 19 will coincide with BEAR Day from 6-8 p.m., as a presentation of research from the art department.


Since 1963, GDUSA has been a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals. GDUSA covers news, people, projects, trends, technology, products and services through its brand which includes a 100,000 visitor-a-month website, monthly e-newsletter, a digital version of the magazine formatted for desktop, tablet and phones, and several national design competitions that showcase the best in graphic design, inhouse design, web design, package design, health care design and digital design.