CCD Student & Creative Director of The Star Journal Featured by Community Resources, Inc.

CCD Student Matthew Hickson Mentored Local High School Students While Finishing His Degree

In a recent article by Community Resources, Inc., CCD student Matthew Hickson and his mentee, East High School senior Riley McGill, were featured to highlight the Academic Mentors Program.

Hickson is a CCD graphic design student who graduates in December 2018 and plans to work in editorial & web design while learning user experience/interaction app design in San Francisco. While finishing up his design degree at CCD, he also worked as the marketing and design manager for the BootUp Camps grant program, which provided high-quality, high-demand workplace skills training to help students obtain industry-recognized certifications. The program has successfully helped students earn 40 certificates in high-growth, high-wage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.


male with glasses in a black and white photo
CCD Student Matthew Hickson

As part of the BootUp Camps program, Hickson was able to mentor and oversee more than 10 high school student interns over the past year and a half. "I went into BootUp Camps thinking I would do my work in quiet and be a background player," he said. "What actually happened is that I became one of the faces of BootUps and helped to create a program that has allowed over 500 individuals to experience and learn a new career. The interns I've had the privilege of working with have opened my eyes to how dedicated and talented high school students can be and led to me accepting a mentor position with CRI, one of the best decisions of my life."

Hickson was also the creative director and designer of CCD's The Star, Journal of Excellence, which focused its 10th edition on showing how CCD students see themselves as individuals, but also how those differences connect them and bring them together as one. Its cover captures submissions from more than 200 students who wrote up to five descriptors of how they see themselves. On it, you'll read, "I am ... a Dreamer," "I am ... a journalist," "I am ... a proud daughter," " ... a hard worker," " ... a survivor," " ... a fighter," and so on. Regarding the cover, Hickson wrote, "Every single day I'm on campus, I learn another amazing person's life story and am humbled at the sacrifices you all make for the sake of education."

Below is the article from Community Resources, Inc.

Creative Connection Made Possible by CRI Mentorship Program

For 46 years, Community Resources, Inc. has supplemented the education of Denver Public Schools students through a variety of programs, including its innovative Academic Mentors Program, which connects local professionals with students interested in their particular fields of expertise.

When East High School senior Riley McGill applied for a CRI mentorship this fall, she hoped to be paired with a professional graphic designer. Now almost finished with her mentorship with graphic designer Matt Hickson, she says she feels lucky to have been selected to participate.

“I think the most impressive thing is the great ideas we’re coming up with and actually producing,” Riley said. “I plan to follow graphic design for a career, and this has definitely opened my eyes to the different areas of graphic design I can go into.”


man in glasses in front of computers and young woman holding a design
l-r:Matthew Hickson, Riley McGill
Community Resources, Inc.

Matt, who currently serves as the marketing and design manager for a grant program that operates within the Community College of Denver, said he and Riley meet once a week at CCD. He added that getting involved as a mentor was easy thanks to CRI.

“Laura Kent is such a pleasure to work with,” he said, referring to the CRI Academic Mentors Program manager. “The experience has been great so far!”

In addition to building on what she’s learned in her school’s graphic design classes, Riley is focusing on typeface design with Matt. Early in the mentorship she designed a personal brand logo and began designing her own typefaces, all of which will be combined in a unique portfolio made of acrylic.

“Mentorships are crucial in bridging the gap from student to professional or from entry level to expert. Those transitions are extremely difficult, and having someone to guide you on your way is invaluable.” ~ Graphic Designer Matt Hickson

Matt said that by the end of the mentorship he hopes Riley has “a beautiful new portfolio with great examples of her work” but also that she feels “more confident and able as a designer.”

“Everyone learns and designs differently,” he said, “and I would never presume to tell Riley how to do either. If all I do is help her find her own voice and style, I will be very happy."

"Aside from that, I hope Riley leaves this mentorship feeling like she has a resource she can reach out to with questions about life, design, and everything in between. I see a bright future for Riley, and I'm excited to just be a small part of that."

“But above all else, what impresses me about Riley is her maturity. At her age, there is no way I could sit and listen to someone blabber on about graphic design, yet she is present and engaged every single time we meet, and more than ready to design. It's been a lot of fun.”

In addition to connecting students with volunteers through its Academic Mentors Program, Community Resources, Inc. also hosts in-school family nights featuring everything from the arts to health to mathematics as well as special events such as fire safety programs and art days as well as science and career fairs. The CRI Classroom Speakers program also brings volunteers into schools to share their skills and knowledge with students.

To learn more about CRI programs and how to volunteer, visit the CRI website or contact Sue Edwards, executive director, at 720.424.2300 or Sue_Edwards@dpsk12.org.

Support CCD

To support CCD and help students like Matthew attend CCD through scholarship support, please visit the ColoradoGives.org donation page or visit CCD-Foundation.org/Donate.