Three months ago, when three Linganore High School students came together to design a logo for the FBI, they never thought it would get any further than their classroom.
For seniors Alex McCaslin of Mount Airy, Helen Snell of Monrovia and Katie Russo of Monrovia, what started as a school assignment is now the visual representation of the FBI Baltimore Division’s Cyber Task Force.
“It really never occurred to me that [the logo] would win,” Helen, 17, said of being selected. “It was something cool to do.”
The finished logo features an eagle carrying the Maryland and Delaware state flags — which represent the Baltimore bureau’s jurisdiction — behind a background of binary code, a computer language of ones and zeroes that represent processor instructions. It will be used on several items for the task force, including its letterhead and apparel.
It took about two months for the Linganore High School classmates — who have known each other since seventh grade — to create the logo on Abode Illustrator before they submitted the final product. They were asked to make a few minor changes to the design by the FBI.
Initially, Helen and Alex were creating their own logo designs before they decided to team up. They asked Katie to join them after seeing an art assignment she had been working on.
“The eagle on the logo was something I had done for another project, and Alex joked around about stealing it,” said Katie, 17. “So we decided to combine our ideas.”
“It just all came together,” said Alex, 18.
About 15 students from Tracy Bozzonetti’s computer graphics class turned in logos for the contest.
Bozzonetti presented the opportunity as part of a class assignment in November, after a colleague introduced the idea to the FBI Baltimore Division. The Frederick County high school near New Market was the only one that participated in the contest.
Six ideas were eventually submitted to the FBI for consideration.
Each one of the members of the winning group received an iPod Shuffle from the Baltimore office. They also will get a patch with the new logo on it.
In addition, two special agents from the local division presented the computer graphics class with a pizza party last month.
“I’m very excited for them,” said Bozzonetti of the selected group. “It’s good experience for these guys.”
Special Agent Richard Wolf, spokesman for the Baltimore Division, said that the students did a “great job” creating the new logo.
“We are very, very happy with it,” he said. “[The Task Force] loves it....[And] It’s always good when our relationship with young adults brings a positive outcome.”
Formed last year, the Cyber Task Force investigates high-technology crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, computer intrusions and cyber-security threats.
The task force was considering having an independent designer create the logo, but decided against that once the idea for the logo contest was presented.
“I think the decision was easy after talking to the contact at the school,” Wolf said.
Alex said he hopes to continue his interest in graphic design in college. He has applied to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he hopes to pursue cyber-security or video-game design.
Helen has applied to several colleges, including the University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she would pursue a career in art.
Katie was accepted to both Salisbury University and Shepherd University. She plans to major in pre-law in the fall.
Helen said the logo has earned them the “instant respect” of their classmates
“They’re pretty impressed,” she said.