MC design students win 12 ADDY awards 

MC design students win 12 ADDY awards 

March 13, 2020

Four Maryville College design students were recently recognized for their outstanding work in graphic design by the Knoxville chapter of the American Advertising Association (AAF).

In its 200 chapters nationwide, AAF annually sponsors the American Advertising Awards (“ADDY Awards”), which is considered one of the largest advertising competitions in the world. Cassidy Forbes ’20, Chloe Vaccaro ’20, Alyssa Kral ’21 and Christen Watson ’21 took home 12 ADDY awards on Feb. 29, during the Knoxville chapter’s 2020 awards celebration and gala at The Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville. The theme for this year's event was "The Roaring ADDYs." 

“An ADDY award is recognized across the industry as a major professional accomplishment,” said Morgan Manning, assistant professor of art at Maryville College. “For undergraduate students, this recognition is truly invaluable as they complete their coursework and begin looking for design jobs. The ADDYs get their names out into the professional community and help demonstrate their place as rising talents in the field.”

Adrienne Schwarte, chair of the Division of Fine Arts and associate professor of art at Maryville College, said that MC students have been entering their work for juried competition in the ADDYs since 2013 – and at least one student has won an ADDY every year.

“This year in particular, we had four students that received ADDYs, which is the most we’ve had since 2013,” Schwarte said. “In 2019, we had two, so we were delighted that we doubled the number this year! This year, we were one of only four other regional institutions that had students receive awards.”

Schwarte said that winning an ADDY award provides more than just regional exposure.

“A student can truly go anywhere nationally, and those in the industry will know the prestige of an ADDY award,” she said. “And, the attending of the award ceremony itself is a wonderful networking opportunity for our students as they are meeting creatives who are the best in their industry.”

Forbes wins bronze awards for illustration, art direction

Forbes, a design major from Gallatin, Tenn., won two bronze ADDY awards – one in the “Illustration” category and one in the “Art Direction” category.

Both pieces she entered were also class assignments. One project, an illustration of a Canon camera, was for her History of Design class. The other piece was a brochure called “M.O.R.E. Skincare.” It was created for a Design 2 class project that was focused on “design for good.”

“I was thrilled to be there and get to celebrate with the other girls (who are extremely talented) and my professors who encourage us daily,” Forbes said. “I think we all had a blast getting to celebrate each other.”

Forbes said she hopes to move to Nashville after graduation and get a job as a product designer, “but I am open to any opportunity and am excited for my future!”

“I think the ADDY award will help my resume and it has helped build my confidence for this career,” she said. 

Kral wins three awards for photography, multimedia design

Kral, a design and marketing double major from Knoxville, Tenn., took home three ADDY awards in the categories of “Photography” and “Multimedia Design.”

She won a bronze award for a photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge, which she captured during a visit to California last summer. She won a bronze and a silver ADDY for a panel about the Maryville College farm, which was created during a class and used as part of a display during the College’s Bicentennial Celebration at the Clayton Center for the Arts in October.

“The ADDYs was a very special experience,” said Kral, who plans to pursue a job in the design field as a graphic designer. “They definitely knew how to make it an official award ceremony, but it felt really good to have award-winning work, especially as a student. I never really expected to win one, but I am truly grateful I did and hope to apply again next year.” 

Watson wins bronze awards for posters

Watson, a design major from Wartburg, Tenn., won two bronze ADDY awards in the “Single Poster” category.

Her first project, called “Woven in Time” was made to “create an intergenerational program that would bring together the community through senior and youth interaction,” Watson said. It included a poster, ID system, data visualization, merchandise and logo. The second project was a poster made with pieces from the Maryville College Archives as part of the College’s 200-year celebration.

“I was so proud of the recognition!” Watson said. “It meant a lot to me to see the appreciation involved in my future career field. I was excited to share the evening with my fellow classmates too! The venue was especially beautiful.”

Watson said that she hopes to one day own an art and design studio – either as part of a team or a one-woman operation.

“Receiving an ADDY helps to remember the drive I want to have to make pieces that are beautiful and influential to fellow designers,” she said.

Vaccaro receives five awards

Vaccaro, a design major from Knoxville, Tenn., won a silver ADDY for an app she designed called “Pearl,” which was created as part of a class project focused on “doing good.”

“It’s an app that I created for other women and females to make friends and find other female friends locally,” Vaccaro said. “With the Silver ADDY, I get to submit it [‘Pearl’] to go to regionals, so I am excited for that.”

She also received four bronze awards for other individual designs.

“I got to meet and network with a lot of people (during the awards gala),” Vaccaro said. “Since I’m graduating and staying local in Knoxville, it was a really good opportunity to see some of the design firms, what they are putting out, and what might fit best with where I want to be.”


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”