My interest in graphic design started in a computer coding class I was struggling with. My course instructor suggested I would do well in an upcoming program that the vocational school was offering the following year. It was brand new and called Graphic Design Technologies.
My career has seen many transitions. I started in the publishing industry with a small-town buy, sell, trade publication and advanced to a daily newspaper. Here, I learned how an office environment works and the importance of working as a team with salespeople, accounting, publishers, and printers. I am proud to experience working with paste up boards and manually applying color separation. The newspapers eventually progressed to print-to-plate.
After my newspaper days, I entered the private sector and worked with a government contractor. Here I learned how to navigate a corporate environment and juggle multiple design requests and deadlines. The design work was a wide variety of newsletters, forms, presentations, programs, event materials, proposals, and more. I also experienced working within a corporate matrix structure. In this position, it was important to be fluent in multiple software programs to give the client what they needed. I also created several internal training guides on how to use software for our department’s needs.
After my corporate experience, I started my print and design business. Here I learned the importance of writing estimates, sending invoices to clients, budgeting for supplies and equipment and its maintenance. During this time, I successfully won contracts from local school districts and even a restaurant chain for design and print projects. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t make business grow enough to be self-sustainable. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I am grateful for the experiences during the process.
After my self-employed days, I entered the public sector by working at a public library. I have lots of customer service experience through my years working with clients, but the library taught me how to work with difficult ones and de-escalate situations. The library also gave me an opportunity to help and empower others. I could use my knowledge of multiple software programs to teach patrons how to use them on their own. I was not only a designer, but an instructor. Watching patrons build their confidence in their skill-sets is the best experience ever!
My public library experience brought me into higher education. I now work with a creative department that provides services to all of Health Sciences at the University of Arizona. I primarily work on designing and updating websites and providing graphic design support. As a web designer, I also teach content editors how to use their website and make updates. I can do one-on-one learning sessions through Zoom and provide detailed instructions through photos and text. This has fueled my passion for entering Arizona State University’s M.Ed. Learning Design and Technologies program. I hope to continue using my design skills to improve the learning experience for others.