Salina Student Designs Winning Logo

Thanks to a generous donation from a faculty member and some ambitious students, a recently launched center at Fort Hays State University now has a visual symbol to call its own.

Paige Simpson, a graphic design student from Salina, won the logo contest for the Center for Empowering Victims of Gender-based Violence (CEVGV) – and the $300 first-place prize that went along with it. This logo includes words that embody the values of the center, such as empower, love, grow, and transform. It will be used to represent the center in all official documents and communication tools.

The CEVGV, a regional hub for collaborative research and service, was established in March 2020 with support from the Departments of Criminal Justice, Communication Studies, Sociology, and Art and Design. It is housed in the Department of Criminal Justice.

In 2018, Dr. Ziwei Qi, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Dr. Hsin-Yen Yang, associate professor of communication studies, were selected as entrepreneurship faculty fellows by the Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of the Provost at FHSU.

This fellowship supports Drs. Qi and Yang to pursue their innovative approaches to empowering survivors of gender-based violence from rural communities to gain economic independence and long-term security. Their initiative addressed the importance of social entrepreneurship, safe housing, employment, counseling, and healthcare for survivors’ financial freedom and social justice. Dr. Tamara Lynn, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, became the center’s third co-founder along with Drs. Yang and Qi.

Dr. Keith Campbell, professor of sociology, was interested in helping the center get off the ground and offered a $500 personal donation.

“I have been following the work of Drs. Ziwei and Hsin-Yen as they formulated their ideas on how to assist women in need,” Campbell said. “When they decided to start a center and had a formal structure, I felt that this was my opportunity to assist financially. I am pleased that I have been able to provide this assistance, and I encourage others to consider donating to this important cause.”

The co-founders believed that having students engaged in the logo design could help them better understand the center’s mission.

A total of 11 entries were turned in to the logo contest and judged by the panel of four judges.

Simpson’s first-place entry was followed by one designed by Crystal Rojas, a junior political science major, who won the second-place prize of $120. Maria Moore, a junior English major, was the winner of the $80 third-place prize.

The winning entry was one of several success stories for Simpson, who is now working as a freelance designer for Leo Burnett Worldwide out of Chicago, one of the most creative communications companies in the world. FHSU has had a relationship for more than 25 years with Leo Burnett, which conducts portfolio reviews of FHSU students each year. Simpson won a scholarship for the top junior portfolio last year, then won the overall portfolio competition this year as well.

Simpson came to Fort Hays State to study graphic design at the suggestion of Eric Montoy, an FHSU alum under whom she worked an internship during the summers while she was attending Ottawa University.

“Eric taught me a lot, but he told me if I really wanted to learn graphic design from the best, I should go to Fort Hays State and learn from Karrie, Chaiwat, and Travis,” she said in reference to faculty in the art and design department.

Karrie Simpson Voth is a professor and department chair, Chaiwat Thumsujarit is a professor of graphic design, and Travis Schlitter is an assistant professor of motion design.

“I have gained a lot of valuable knowledge at Fort Hays State,” Simpson said, “and will continue my journey working with more talented people at Leo Burnett.”

For more information on the CEVGV, visit or