Following a day in the life of The Mill course

(Photo from The Mill Agency)

Stevenson University’s “The Mill” course – a simulated agency in the form of a student-run design and integrated-marketing class in the School of Design – allows students real-life experience working with local clientele. In the past, such clients included Baltimore Rails to Trails Greenway Coalition, the Eastern Communication Association and SU’s School of Design itself.

This semester, The Mill is working with client and former Mustang Megan Lanasa Basdekis, a business communication graduate and owner of BricknFire Pizza, on multiple projects ranging from branding, public relations, social media and the creation of in-store designs.

The course is taught on a rotating basis by faculty in the School of Design. Currently, the course is taught by Dr. Leeanne M. Bell McManus, professor of communication. According to McManus, The Mill operates like an internship. “It’s a good class for students to take because it allows them to get that experience that some of them might be lacking,” she added. Not only will students work with an actual client from the local world of business, but they’ll “realize how to manage their time—there’s a lot of work that needs to get done,” McManus added. 

A typical day for students of The Mill consists of meetings to go over feedback received from their client on the deliverables from each group’s projects. Then, the class will be briefed on what each group will be working on for the rest of the class, after which they’ll move into breakout rooms, where they work as a team. The groups this semester include:

An example of content the social media team created. (Photo from Instagram, @bricknfire)

• Social Media– where students work on creating posts and campaigns for the clients using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 • Design– where, this semester, students work on a pizza box design and a mural for BricknFire’s physical location in the Marriott Inn in Baltimore.

 • Events– where students plan potential publicity events for the client.

• Promotions– where students work on promoting The Mill course at Stevenson.

Rysleigh Reeves, a senior at Stevenson, who is a designer in The Mill and working on rack cards (brochures) for BrickNFire, said, “I liked that I was able to pick and work in a group that played to my strengths.”

Any student in the School of Design is eligible to register for the course, and those interested in registering for The Mill course can contact Dr. Bell McManus at

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