Senior graphic design major develops experience in the classroom, research, and the field
Studying graphic design
Why did you choose your major?
"I first found interest in it when visiting my brother in college when I was in middle school. One of his friends was studying graphic design and let me mess around with Adobe Illustrator, and it felt like I was shown a whole new world. I ended up taking graphic arts classes in high school because of that, and my love for graphic design hasn’t stopped yet! Looking back on it, I think I made the right choice, I don’t think there was even another option to consider."
Why should someone study graphic design?
"Graphic design is all about using your creativity to solve problems and effectively communicate to others. It opens you up to new people, stories, experiences, and perspectives, and then it becomes your job to combine all of those together into something beautiful, and possibly world-changing."
Do you have a favorite class?
"I have honestly enjoyed all my professors in CVPA. The classes I would recommend people take before they graduate are Experimental Processes and Making and Meaning. Both of those classes push you to experiment more with different materials, tools, digital fabrication methods, and more. They push you to think about your design process differently."
What brought you to UMass Dartmouth?
"CVPA offers every educational aspect that a private arts school offers for a state school price. I do not have the means to pay for an expensive college, nor do I want to take out extraordinary amounts of student loans to further my education. UMassD provided me with a great education, with extremely intelligent and kind professors, who for the most part have taught or still do teach at prestigious schools like RISD or Brown. Learning from them at a state school price makes for an excellent value. The campus is interesting, unique, and has beautiful spots (once you get past the learning curve of navigation, but that’s the fun of it!). CVPA especially is filled with people (students and faculty alike) who are kind, accepting, and not afraid of collaboration."
What advice would you give to a freshman at UMassD?
"Don’t be afraid to take the classes you're interested in. You never know where you might find something you’re passionate about."
How did you get started doing freelance work?
"My high school graphic arts teachers Jillian Donovan and Amanda Dodge (UMassD class of 2010 and 2014) gave students opportunities to work on projects for our high school and school district, which allowed me to build clients at a young age. I've since worked with about 6-8 different clients doing mostly branding and collateral for various campaigns and events. Most of the work I have done is pro bono for various organizations that run charity events for Bourne Public Schools, but I have done paid freelance work for small businesses like F&F Auto Inc. in West Bridgewater, MA, and for fellow students, as well as tutoring."
How much of your time does this take up?
"In terms of being busy, I try to manage my time between freelancing and school, sometimes it’s hard to manage all of it at once and it’s helped me learn my limits, to not overwork myself, and knowing when to say no to projects, etc. It’s been a great learning experience!"
Have lessons learned in the classroom helped you to run this business?
"Yes, definitely. Lessons in the classroom have helped me improve my design work and helped me learn more about myself as a human being and designer. More recently, I have been learning about forms and contracts, how to properly talk with clients about their projects, and properly presenting my work, which has helped me improve my own practice tenfold."
Do you have any other “real-world” experiences that add to your portfolio?
"Professor Michelle Bowers’ Design Studio course! She works so hard on gathering clients for students to work with in that class. Because of her I’ve been able to work with clients ranging from UMassD organizations to national organizations like the Alliance for Design and Construction Professionals (ADCP). Without her support, I wouldn’t have gained such great 'real-world' experience, or have the ability to work on Access@UMassD, which she is a co-advisor for with Pamela Karimi."
What is Access@UMassD? How’d you get involved?
"Access@UMassD is a semester-long collaborative independent study between fellow CVPA student, Eden McKenna-Bateman and I, co-advised by our professors, Michelle Bowers and Pamela Karimi. The project originated from conversations Eden and I had about our campus in former professor Rebecca Uchill's Processing Place class. The goal for this study is to create interactive projects confronting the accessibility issues on campus and create conversations between students, faculty, and administration on what we can all do to improve it."
What did it mean to be awarded a grant from the office of undergraduate research?
"It meant a lot! Eden and I have been working so hard on this project, and to see the support from various faculty and administrators has been such an encouraging push to continue our project! The grant we received will be put towards our second installation, the Access Tour, which will take participants on a guided tour showing paths that people with disabilities would have to take when navigating through our campus."
How can members of the UMassD community help with Access@UMassD?
"Our first project, the Elevator Survey, is currently running now! Located in the CVPA elevator, anyone is welcome to participate in it just by stepping inside the elevator and sharing their thoughts with sticky notes, or by taking the longer form digital survey. And make sure to look out for the Access Tour in the coming weeks!"
What do you hope to be doing after you graduate?
"I’m hoping to work in a studio rather than be an in-house designer somewhere because I like working on multiple different kinds of projects at the same time. Eventually I hope to either pursue a master’s degree or open up my own studio."
Is there anything else you want to add?
"I just want to thank my family, friends, and all the teachers and professors I’ve had along the way. There are no words I could say to fully express how much their support and encouragement means to me!"