NASA project ‘out of this world’ for USD professor, students

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Five University of South Dakota students and their teacher Collin Hover, assistant professor of graphic design, collaborated with NASA for an out of this world project that resulted in a half dozen international design and creativity awards.

“NASA: Prospect,” a project by NASA’s Humans in Space Youth Art Competition, was a pilot study for undergraduate students with the goal of increasing space exploration awareness as well as a teaching tool for the solar system. The students who brought the project to life were Amanda Connelly, Amy Gehling, Ashley Palmer, Calvin LaBrie and Keaton Solomon. According to Hover, NASA officials approached USD to take part in the pilot study and because the students had no prior experience with web development, Hover provided the advanced coding assistance needed for the project.

“Working on the project ‘NASA: Prospect’ was both a rewarding and challenging experience,” said Gehling of Grand Meadow, Minn. “Professor Hover did his best to simulate a ‘real-world’ work environment for us to collaborate on this site. This made the project a great practice in holding yourself, as well as your peers, accountable for completion of all aspects of project.”

“NASA: Prospect” is an interactive story of the planet prospectors, left behind by NASA to recover golden objects of humankind scattered across the solar system by a global disaster. The story takes the computer user on a journey, providing detailed descriptions about space and the characteristics of the eight planets, from Mercury to Neptune. The website garnered six awards for its unique story and design, including one of the top design awards in the world from Awwward Site of the Day. Other honors included the CSS Design Award, the FWA short-list, the Smashing Design Award via SmashingDesign.com, QIndex and QNT Gallery Web Designs and Other Inspirations.

“Being given the opportunity to work on such a great project in a beginner-level course really allowed me to get a taste for experimenting with all the possibilities that the world of web design has to offer,” added Gehling, who graduated from USD in May with a B.F.A. in graphic design. “I really enjoyed being a part of the project and am proud to have it as a piece in my portfolio.”

The project can be found at http://nasaprospect.com. For information about Graphic Design-Multimedia at USD, please visit www.usd.edu/fine-arts/art/graphic-design-multimedia.cfm or contact www.usd.edu/art.

Download screen images of “NASA: Prospect”: (1) and (2)

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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