Meet the Manifest Student Team

Published on Feb 21, 2017

By Neal Steichen

This Spring semester is already moving quickly towards May, which brings tidings of final exams, but also of Manifest: Columbia College Chicago’s Urban Arts Festival demonstrating the work of graduating students in all fields.

“It is the premiere showcase of student talent!” says Julian Rojas, a graduating senior studying Game Design originally from Boston. “There really isn’t any other festival like it, where you can see young artists “manifest” into what they are and what they are going to be.” 

Rojas is just one of a team of students leading the charge in making this year’s Manifest one to remember.

“I am the Digital Media Assistant, so I write and direct the Manifest Showcase series, which I also edit with students from the Office of Student Communications, Reed Carson and Halonah Paiss. The series is hosted by two fellow Manifest Student Team members, Robert Mediano and Aleya Washington.”

Mediano is a junior from Whitter, California studying Music Business Management, and he also acts as the Sponsorship Assistant for Manifest. Washington, a Live and Performing Arts Management major, is the Marketing Intern for Manifest, responsible for creating content for all the social media that Manifest utilizes. The team also includes Emily Veldman of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a graduate student in the Arts Management program. She works as the Programming Assistant for Manifest.

“As the Programming Assistant, I work as a liaison between students and their departments. I also coordinate volunteer management and recruitment, along with the food trucks and other elements of the street festival.”

Leading the pack is JJ McLuckie, a senior Illustration major and Illinois native who serves as the Manifest Creative Director. 

“My goal for manifest this year is to, with the help of the rest of the wonderful team, make this Manifest one of the most notable yet. I hope the posters, shirts, and materials created will not just be a backdrop for the day, but items that people would like to hold onto and look back on ten years from now and still be able to recall memories from.” 

“One of the things I’m most excited about,” says Mediano, “is seeing all the showcases. Being a Business major, I am usually only seeing what is happening in my department. This is an awesome opportunity to see what the rest of the departments are accomplishing.”

Even though these diligent students are working to make Manifest work as a whole, they are also contributing to its success on an individual level, including Rojas.

“I’m devoting a lot of time to my senior showcase at Manifest, a third-person action-adventure video game called “FIZZ.” It will be on display in 916 S. Wabash.”

With all of these events and displays going on for graduating students, it is important to remember that this is open to all Columbia students and the public at large. Washington wants to spread that message so the whole city can have the chance to take part. “There are so many opportunities for all students, not just graduating students, to get involved and participate, but many are just unaware.”

To keep up to date on Manifest, watch for updates on your Columbia Loop email address or follow “Manifest Urban Arts Festival” on Facebook. To get involved, even if you aren’t a graduating student, go to to see all opportunities.