Bear’s Beat Report: Student Profile – Caitlyn Patton


“The crossover, it just builds us all as a community more. I know that the journalism students and the engineers are literally on the opposite ends of campus, and so sometimes it might be nice to meet in the middle, you know?”, says Caitlyn Patton, a junior at Mercer University.

Caitlyn Patton is a junior at Mercer University studying electrical engineering. But this engineering major has a liberal arts side, too. Patton found her passion for layout and graphic design in high school and continues in that passion with The Cluster.

“I really liked to do layout and so I came to Mercer and I saw that The Cluster was at the Bear Fair and I wanted to get involved in that because they are like, ‘Get involved in something that’s completely outside your major in general, something completely different.’ And so I thought, ‘Let’s give the Cluster a go.’ When I come over here I get to hear about other people’s classes, how things are going, what sort of projects they do and what they focus on. And so I can take that and really think about what I need to develop to really stick out from the competition within engineering. And then how I can apply the skills that I’m learning here to engineering”, says Patton. “With design I can build onto my experiences with The Cluster to really shine in those classes and develop my skills further there.”

She says the crossover between disciplines helps her hone in on her skills in both engineering and graphic design.

“It does add a lot to my communication skills and I can show that I can take information that people give me–just big unrelated chunks–and put it together and organize them in a way that other people can read it and understand it. A big part about layout is knowing who is going to be reading the page and guiding them through that page and through the story. While there is a written story on the page, you’re also telling a visual story,” says Patton. 

Patton’s favorite part of layout has been contributing to the changing style of The Cluster and improving that visual storytelling over the years.

“I’ve really enjoyed seeing, over the past two years, how we’ve been able to develop a very specific style for The Cluster. Because when we came in, we has a very traditional look and now we’ve really prospered on going more toward taking advantage of graphics, taking advantage of color and really making our stories pop out and making people want to read them. And so I think my favorite part is just seeing us develop and grow overall as a staff”, says Patton.