Students know me as the Professor who will bust your butt, expect the world, and push you to extremes never thought possible. Colleagues recognize me as someone who cares deeply about her professional accomplishments, but even more about the success of her students. And my kids, well, they simply know me as “mom.”

      Although I have been an active artist most of my life, my journey in design began in the early ’90s when I tried my hand at the high school newspaper and literary magazine. These extracurriculars led me to the Graphic Design program at Indiana University where I learned type on an actual printing press; developed a passion for all things typography, branding, and packaging; and began my ongoing career as a freelance designer.

      After graduating from IU in 2003, I explored the design field while also spearheading  my own independent business. Although life as a practitioner gave me experience and helped pay the bills, my gut nagged constantly, screaming that something was missing. ENTER FATE. In 2006, while working at Clear Channel Outdoor, I was asked to spend
a day at my Alma Mater speaking with Advertising students about my background in  design and marketing. That was all it took . . . the experience was amazing. Standing in front of those classes and INTERACTING WITH STUDENTS WAS EXHILARATING. For the first time in my life, I knew what it was I was truly meant to do. I went home that night and began the process of applying to graduate school.

      Ten years, loads of school loan debt, and an MFA in Graphic Design later, I live a life which many only dream. I am not famous. I do not make millions of dollars. But I have a career which I absolutely love and never consider to be a job.” I TEACH. I work closely with students, encourage their talents and capabilities, and push them to the highest levels of design possibility. I see the tears, hear the frustration, and note the lack of sleep. I also see within them my own primitive learning years: the self-doubt, the uncertainties, but also the ultimate pride felt when recognizing the scope of one’s accomplishments and capabilities. I relish in their ultimate excitement for what they’ve learned and live vicariously through them. Maybe that’s why I love it so.

      BUT IT’S ALSO THE RELATIONSHIPS. Every time a graduating class walks out of my door that one last time, I feel a part of me also leaves. However, through the teacher/student foundations built upon trust (and later, friendship), I am grateful to say I still remain an active participant in of many of their lives. I am able to watch them grow; not only as designers, but also adults. To me, that is the ultimate reward.

      So here I am: Associate Professor of Graphic Design at The University of Tampa. Freelance designer. Academic scholar. Mom. Life is never (ever, ever) boring. Sleep is often a luxury, and most of my down time is spent thinking about innovate research and pedagogy. But I love it. I love EVERY.SINGLE.BIT.