What’s your background?
I’m originally from New Hartford, N.Y., but now reside in Manlius. After high school, I attended Pratt MWP College of Art and Design in Utica for my first two years of college and instead of completing my degree at their Brooklyn campus, I transferred to Cazenovia. At the time, being that far away from home was not in the cards for me, so I came to an open house at Caz and absolutely fell in love with it. I came here on a transfer scholarship and also played lacrosse my junior year.
I graduated from the Visual Communications program in 2015. After college, I worked at a screen printing and embroidery company, then as a retail visual manager. I didn’t love where my career was going, so I started looking for something else. My former professor, Scott Jensen, reached out to me regarding this graphic design position. I immediately applied and was so excited to come in for an interview with [Art Director] John Seiter. I had worked with him on the fashion show while I was a student, and he’s amazing. I just felt like the job was a perfect fit for me and I wanted to be back on this campus. I started here in January 2017.
What was your experience like as a student here?
The professors here are fantastic. They are constantly pushing you and making you better. They’ll work with you no matter what, and the small class size allows for that. That one-on-one relationship is what got me through and working very closely with my professors on my senior project and portfolio is what made it successful. That is something you don’t usually find, and what I loved most about Caz. Now, I tell students to take as many design classes as they can, to take courses in things they think they might not be interested in, and to do something out of your norm and challenge yourself.
What is important to you about the work you do?
I get to assist everybody in the campus community—professors, the Athletics Department, Jim Toczydlowski in Dining Services, and Admissions, designing promotional materials for prospective students, just to name a few. The work is very broad based and it’s always exciting. I get to do what I was meant to do and what I love every single day. I’m constantly learning new things and new techniques and really enjoy working closely with John. Everyone on campus makes me feel like I’m really appreciated here and it’s such a rewarding feeling.
Of the many varied things you work on, what is your favorite design project?
I love graduation time, preparing for it and taking photos on graduation day. It’s very exciting, it’s a happy time, and it’s great to see how excited everybody is. I love Reunion, too. I get to start from scratch and brand the event, and I very much enjoy working with Shari Whitaker. Another project I enjoy is Franklin Trek, making posters for the annual Franklin car conference on campus.
What’s it like fulfilling a creative function five days a week?
Sometimes it’s really hard to be creative all the time. Having a position like this, you need inspiration. If you get mind blocks, you have to take a break and walk around campus and search for inspiration and just clear your head.
I’m always looking for some kind of inspiration; something that catches my eye, seeing a photo or design and then transferring the idea to make it my own. I love looking at other peoples’ work and envisioning their creative process, and challenging myself to come up with something even greater.
What’s your philosophy about finding a satisfying career?
Find your passion and pursue it. I’ve been designing since I was young; I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. In junior high school I started playing around with Photoshop and Illustrator, designing album covers for my brother’s band, company logos for family friends, posters for various events. I advise people to do what you love, do what makes you happy, and never settle for anything less.
What is something people might not expect about you?
Most creative people are very all over the place, but I’m different. I’m probably the most organized human being in the world; everything has to be in its place; I guess I can say I have a touch of OCD when it comes to neatness and organization. A lot of times that surprises people, that I’m not scatterbrained and all over the place.
Where’s your fun?
I love dogs! I have a Chocolate Lab and a Golden Doodle and they are my entire world. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and I love the outdoors; hiking, camping, taking my dogs on adventures and snowboarding in the winter. In my spare time I do lot of freelance design for various businesses including logos, branding, promotional materials, business proposals and more. I also work on a lot of album covers for bands in Nashville and Los Angeles because of my brother’s musical connections.
I recently became engaged and am enjoying planning my wedding for next year with my wonderful fiancé, Chris.