Name: Christen Lena Gomez
Year in school: Senior
Major: Graphic design and media
Advisor and committee members: Art professor Ashley Doughty (faculty advisor), English and Honors professor Heather Lusty (Honors advisor), and business professor Jack Schibrowsky (committee member)
I decided when I was very young that I wanted to go to college, but when it came time to decide where to go, I wasn’t too sure. I was in the web design and development program in high school and loved the design aspect of the curriculum, so I looked into the new graphic design program at UNLV. The idea of studying in a new city was attractive to me, but I was even more excited about the idea of being part of UNLV’s growth while staying close to my family and saving money.
In my design classes at UNLV, I became increasingly interested in children’s design and the idea of using design to improve people’s lives. When I learned about the Research and Creative Honors Program through the Honors College website, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand on my specific interests.
My thesis is composed of a bilingual children’s book, board game, and accompanying marketing plan. The book, Soy Lolita, follows a cat’s adventures through Latin America. I
selected this topic because there’s a great deal of diversity within the Latino community, but it’s often represented as one monolithic culture. I wanted to help change that perception. I also wanted to create materials that contribute to early childhood bilingual education.
The program has taught me that I’m not alone in my educational journey. My advisors have all been great sources of support and information, and I’ve found a whole group of students like me who love what they’re studying and want to make meaningful contributions to their fields. I’ve learned to not be afraid of things that I’m not familiar with. Before this project, I’d never written for children, illustrated a book, or created a board game. There are aspects of my project that might not be as successful as I hoped, but it’s all part of the process. I’d rather experiment and learn than play it safe.
Working on this project solidified my desire to go to grad school. I’ll be studying information design at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom starting this autumn.