AUGUST 8 - 22, 2019

From 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


8 Ashburton Place, 6th Floor

Boston, MA 02108


Open Monday - Thursday, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM


Suffolk University’s College of Arts & Sciences presents "Breaking Clear” the 2019 Master of Arts in Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition.


This collective of six MAGD candidates have selected topics that align with their values and passions, and have worked to bring clarity to these issues. Pushing through stigmas and misconceptions; using the tools of Graphic Design to revel true meaning—breaking clear of all rhetoric.

Breaking Clear features the work of designers Brooke Rauseo, Cindy Chen, Joanna Mahoney, Liz Taylor, Kathy Nguyen, and Paul Deane.


Creativity and curiosity have driven not only my academic and professional decisions but also my life actions. I fell in love with the desire to explore and create beyond my comfort zone. When I am not designing, you can find me volunteering at a local animal rescue as caring for animals have been my lifelong passion. This body of work was inspired by my journey to adopt a pet of my own to which I found much difficulty. Driven by my research and first-hand experience I was determined to make a change utilizing graphic design. My efforts were focused on providing design solutions to streamline the pet adoption process, and increase involvement by building a three-part app for pet adoption and pet care, called Two Tales. Two Tales provides design solutions within the pet adoption process for kids, adopters, and shelters to ultimately increase adoptions. Let’s get pawsitively creative!

My thesis is about achieving cognitive flow through playing games. I felt the same flow while I was  designing as I did while playing games, and I wanted to recreate this feeling for others. Hence, I designed “Living in a Daydream," a game where players are sent on quests to uncover information that could escape the room they are locked in. Instead of unlocking a door, I designed a website that is locked by a passcode, which would be unlocked by solving the clues in the game. Ultimately, the game represents escapism and by finishing the game, we open a portal back into reality. 


Flow is argued to be the state that we feel most ‘present’ as humans, and daydreams are the opposite of that because it encourages us to dwell on an absent mind. Therefore, the name of the exhibition “Living in a Daydream” is derived from the fact that we are stuck in a cycle of daydreams, and must break out of shroud to be mindful of the present.

Above all else, I’m passionate about helping women and minorities to gain equal ground in this field. Having worked in both non-profit and corporate settings as a marketing professional, I became frustrated with the subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) sexism that I had to navigate in order to succeed.


The world of graphic design is not exempt from this sexism. According to the AIGA census, only 11% of leadership positions in graphic design are held by women, despite the fact that a vast majority of design students in our universities (Suffolk included) are women. As someone who strongly believes that our leadership should be reflective of the communities it serves, I have focused my thesis efforts on designing a mentorship program with educational tools and community-building events that will help women rise to the top.

I have loved drawing ever since I was old enough to pick up a pencil. From an early age, I was emotionally influenced by the art I saw in the world around me, from museums to picture books to cartoons I watched after school. Because of this, I always knew that I wanted art and design to be part of my career.


I believe that emotions play a huge role in the world of art and design, particularly from an early age. My thesis project combines art and design with education and emotion in a series of flipbooks called Feelings. Each flip book centers around a different emotion that combines fun, colorful illustrations with graphic design in a manner that encourages young children to learn about their emotions through interactive play. Research shows that in order to know and understand how others are feeling, children must first know and understand themselves. By becoming active participants in their own learning as opposed to passive ones, children will grow up feeling confident in themselves and their ability to successfully navigate complex emotional situations. In doing so, they learn to stand on their own two feet and successfully enter society as emotionally mature adults.

An issue I struggle to deal with is the silent mental health crisis. The stigma that perpetuates around it is an ongoing problem. Mental health runs a prolonged history in my family; making sense of it was never easy, and it still isn’t. I have always been the visual type, thinking and learning better when I can visualize something. I thought, what could help educate myself to understand a topic that’s so hard to see? Graphic design is a tool to help de-stigmatize mental health. Design helps embrace differences instead of putting labels and stereotypes on the subject. My thesis will immerse the audience to understand that mental health is not black or white or this or that. It is a human complexity that needs to be accepted as a norm. Mental health history is rooted in the visual image, which is essential to make sense of a complex subject. Working with the elements of design that I gravitated towards the most, my thesis communicates my very own mental health experience.

Constructed in three distinct modules, my thesis seeks to use graphic design as a tool to increase democratic participation and confront the continuing legacy of voter suppression. The Penny Wall is a large scale data visualization examining the role financial exclusion plays congressional campaign funding. Ineligible is a website that connects the dots between the racial-motivated voter suppression of the not-too-distant past with the voter suppression of today. Finally, aVOTEcado is a millennial-targeted video campaign that raises the question, what might it look like if we incentivized voting?

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