Ten finalist teams from 12 sections of the Washington State University’s First-Year Success Seminar/University 104 course presented apps on the theme of “resilience” at the third Adobe Creative Jam, and three teams took home top awards, said Cynthia Williams, program director.

“Thanks to our ongoing partnership with Adobe, our students were once again able to demonstrate the skills learned in UNIV 104 to creatively identify and communicate their innovative solutions to a complex problem,” said Williams. UNIV 104 is part of First-Year Programs, a unit in the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement in the provost’s office.

The fall 2020 Jam’s first-place winners are Sidney Serna, Ashley Driesler, and Isabella Croston, for their app “Unbottle.” They will receive a 12-month subscription to Adobe Stock’s collection of images, graphics, videos, 3D objects, and templates and Creative Jam backpacks full of swag.

Second-place winners are Maryann Hanes, Blake Jones, and Niel Wright, for their app “Concord.” They will receive a 12-month subscription to Adobe Stock as well as Creative Jam swag.

Third-place winners are Miriam Padilla Castaneda, Max Baer, and Lauren Kauper, for their app “Vital Mood.” They will receive a 12-month subscription to Adobe Stock plus Creative Jam swag.

The top eight teams will receive a 12-month student subscription to the Creative Cloud online collection of more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

Top team’s experience

“We as a team knew we wanted to make a self-help app,” said Serna. “We all had different ideas how to go about creating it, but I really emphasized creating an app where people can come together and just talk about their past experiences.”

“My favorite part of this experience was honestly gaining access to such a cool program and having the time to play around with the software on my own as well as creating an app design that I could see being genuinely helpful for people of all backgrounds,” said Driesler.

Samantha Solomon, the team’s UNIV 104 instructor, said, “Sidney, Ashley, and Isabella’s project stood out because it embodied the theme of ‘resilience’ by demonstrating a real need for students to confront issues they are dealing with during these stressful times with COVID and remote learning.

“They worked really hard to create a unique, user-friendly app that responded to our current environment, and put a positive spin on it. Their fellow students and the Adobe Jam judges clearly related to it,” said Solomon. “I could absolutely see myself using it!”

Developing career-ready skills

“This project allows students to develop in-demand career-ready skills such as complex problem-solving, project management, teamwork, professionalism, and public presentation while also engaging with course themes in a novel way,” said Williams. “Developing their apps around an important theme, and later presenting that work to peers and expert judges, allows students to see their work in a real-world context, and to learn new skills that can be used later in their college education or in a future career.”

“Every semester students’ submissions have become stronger, reflecting revisions to the project made through the ongoing partnership between WSU and Adobe,” said Karen Weathermon, director of First-Year Programs. “This semester’s theme of resilience resulted in projects that were especially striking at providing students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of core concepts covered in the course.”

Some of the fall topics addressing the theme included stress management, academic discourse, study skills, and self-care tips.