Wilkes Colonels Shine at the American Advertising Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania American Advertising Awards

by Kelly Clisham
a crowd of people seated at the ADDY awards

Graphic designers often create behind the scenes, allowing their work to speak for itself. Recently, a few of Wilkes University’s finest stepped into the spotlight, earning honors from the American Advertising Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania (AAF NEPA) at the 2023-24 American Advertising Awards.

Lisa Reynolds, associate professor of digital design and media art, was honored with the Silver Medal. The award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to advertising and has been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.

Lisa Reynolds holding her Silver Medal at the ADDY awards

In addition to her academic work, Reynolds is a graphic designer, artist and illustrator specializing in book design. She designed the cover and layout for American Mother, the debut non-fiction book by Colum McCann and Diane Foley. She also designed The Possible, a pamphlet featuring excerpts of a speech by Senator George J. Mitchell to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland.

Reynolds is a long-time member of AAF NEPA, acting as the board’s vice president of education from 2018-23. She serves on the Luzerne County Arts Advisory Board and the board of In Concert with the Arts.

Even when she earns accolades for her work, Reynolds has her students in mind. “I’m incredibly honored by this acknowledgment by AAF,” says Reynolds. “I believe you can have a long and successful career as a creative in NEPA, and as an educator, I am thrilled to be honored alongside Wilkes alumni who won awards this year and are making a difference here in the Valley.”

Jessica Morandi ’21 was received the Rising Star award. The award recognizes an emerging talent in the advertising industry who exhibits outstanding potential and a commitment to excellence in professional endeavors and community engagement. The nominees in this category represent the future of advertising and are destined to make significant contributions to the industry in the years to come.

Morandi works as a graphic designer for Halibut Blue. Though she’s from Levittown, New York, she now calls northeastern Pennsylvania home and dedicates her talents to social justice and advertising in the area. Morandi knew she wanted to be a designer since she first opened Adobe Illustrator at 12 years old.

Nicholas Bukofski ’21 was also one of six nominees for the Rising Star award. Bukofski studied at Luzerne County Community College before transferring to Wilkes. He now works as a photographer for Knot Just Any Day and runs his own business, Bukofski Photography.

Eric Ruggiero, associate professor and chair of digital design and media art, attended the awards ceremony at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. He had the pleasure of cheering on the University’s honorees along with current students and DDMA alums, and he was impressed by the Wilkes presence at the event.

Wilkes crowd at the ADDY awards

“When this department was created in 2005, our mission was to attract, develop and foster creative talent in our region. Coming up on 20 years later, that realization was apparent,” says Ruggiero. “With Lisa and Jess being recognized, along with Nick’s nomination, the quality of our program was validated by our region’s industry professionals. I couldn’t be more honored and proud of our Wilkes team.”  

About the AAF NEPA
The American Advertising Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a not-for-profit organization that represents solopreneurs, educators, corporations, creative leaders, small businesses, nonprofits and students in the future-facing world of advertising. It’s part of a national network of nearly 200 local federations representing 40,000 advertising professionals. AAF NEPA presents annual awards to honor exceptional advertising created in the greater Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazleton metropolitan market. Recipients then compete at the district level with a chance to advance to nationals.

About DDMA
Wilkes University’s digital design and media art major provides students with a chance to create success on their own terms through a solid foundation in design principles and a choice of 10 minor specializations including art and game and emergent technology.

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