Career Connect Success: IADS Capstone

An Outstanding Course

Author: Marla Baltazar.

In Fall 2018, Dr. Lauren Cross from the Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies partnered with Career Connect to provide her students with a service learning project. Students enrolled in her Capstone course were tasked with planning and executing a symposium for the Denton community. The goal of the project was to help students understand how to market themselves in the arts and recognize through practice how their skills play a role in their own career development.

“It was very hard to orchestrate something we had never orchestrated before,” said graduating senior, Lauren. The experience was new to many students and it involved many moving parts. Students from both sections met to discuss ideas for the event and then divided into committees, each of which was responsible for a different aspect of the event. Committees included marketing, programming, project management, and design. Over the course of the semester students organized a guest speaker, established student panels, and successfully advertised the “STAND OUT BRAND OUT” symposium.

Students like Victoria, who was part of the management team, recognized the power of their own connections to the workplace and how their skills contributed to executing a successful event. Her experience included designing the t-shirt and reaching out to various organizations to invite them to the event, she reflected “…it was a big experience learning how to work with other people, and learning to be professional and how to network… “.

Dr. Cross shared that her hope with this project was for students to know that there are vast opportunities for employment within the industry. Additionally she wanted to create opportunities and experiences that many students wish they would have had before graduating college. Based on student feedback, this service learning project did exactly that. “Capstone is focused on us wrapping up our college degrees…[it] allowed everyone to get into these different areas that are their strengths and focus on that”, stated senior, Sara. As one of the last classes students take before graduating, its’ important that students integrate and apply what they have learned for this culminating project.

The students were not the only ones who benefited from this experience. Dr. Cross reflects…“I’ve learned so much from Career Connect about honing and owning that role and providing that support”. As the facilitator of this activity, Dr. Cross was able to assist her students in finding their strengths and directly applying these skills to create an incredible event.


The “STAND OUT BRAND OUT” symposium was sponsored by the Department of Art Education and Art History and the Greater Denton Arts Council. It targeted branding, visual identity and marketing strategies in the arts.