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Campus Alert

Cara Olson Student Excellence Showcase Carroll Community College

Course: Diversity in the U.S., SOC-215
Dr. Roxanna Harlow
Assignment Title:
Social Issues Project: Wear Red

Assignment Details

This course focused on social issues that take place within the United States, and my classmates and I each had to focus on one social issue to bring awareness to and advocate for in our signature assignment. The project I decided to make was a mini graphic novel depicting and bringing awareness to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), which is an epidemic that has been and still is plaguing the Indigenous communities within the United States and Canada. For this project, I specifically chose to focus on MMIW within the U.S. and had to research and relay the historical context of how MMIW started, how it is currently affecting indigenous women and indigenous communities, and what actions have been implemented to bring awareness to the rest of the U.S.’s population. I then wrote out my storyline and illustrated pages using comic paper, ink, watercolor, and linocut prints that visualized everything I had found throughout my research.


I can use the experiences that I learned through making this project, specifically the research of a topic and drawing storytelling illustrations, to create other projects and possible future graphic novels. Though I primarily want to work in art galleries and possibly museums for my career, I now know some of the most important steps in what it takes to create a graphic novel and to be able to visually relay a story. If I ever want/need to create a novel or something similar in the future, I now know the first steps that are needed for me to begin that process again.


I learned that making a graphic novel, no matter how short or long it may be, takes a lot more research, time, and energy than one may anticipate. You not only have to come up with a story or idea, but you have to also: research that idea/topic, write up a readable storyline that relays all the important information you researched, research subject matter or items for the illustrations, create all the compositions for each page that relate to and visually tell the information of your story, and cite everything you used page by page of the finalized novel. If you want to create a graphic novel, you need to anticipate that it is going to take many months, even years, to create and revise before it is finished/published. 

I also learned that advocacy for an issue can come in many different shapes and forms. While you can protest, write papers on, and vocalize evidence and facts about a specific issue, you can also use your skills to create something that others can appreciate and enjoy that accomplishes the same goals. Advocating and bringing awareness for an issue can take place in a variety ways, one just has to choose the direction they are going to utilize for their advocacy.

Challenges and Successes

The biggest challenge for me for this project was time management. When I first decided that I was going to make a short graphic novel, I did not realize how much time I would have to put into creating the project. I had to spend multiple weeks researching and writing my outline, and drawing all the illustrations took me an additional week or two to complete. I was also overworked during the semester I was working on this project (Fall 2023), which caused me to have poor time management. I lost a lot of sleep to this project, which in turn wore me towards the end of the semester.  But I was still able to complete something I am proud of!