Pioneer Profile

Andrea Kohn '17

Majors: Graphic Communication and Theatre Arts
Minor: Arts Management

What made you choose this major?

I chose graphic communication because of its combination of art and business. It was comforting knowing that I could pursue an arts degree, but also have a better guarantee of getting a job when I graduate. I combined this with the theatre arts major because it allowed me the opportunity to combine my passions and work on graphic design for the theatre arts program. This is how I discovered my dream job: being a graphic designer for a theatre or arts company. In both majors, I was initially really excited about all of the professors in each program. They all have such a distinct perspective and are all continually working successfully in their fields.

How has what you’ve learned prepared you for your future?

We don’t just learn about how to use graphic design programs. We learn how to effectively design various materials, how to present our designs professionally, language to use when discussing the effectiveness of a design, and how to work with others or a client. These are all real-life skills that we will use when we get a job, and my classes have already prepared me for that. Having done a wide range of projects in my graphic design classes, I have been able to explore different types of design and really figure out what my strengths are and what I enjoy best before even entering the workforce.

What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?

One of the biggest things that stands out to me about both of my majors is the amount of personal attention I have been fortunate enough to receive from all professors. They are truly rooting for you and are there for you every step of the way. When I first got to Carroll, I was shocked that professors were willing to meet one-on-one, more than once if necessary, to discuss a project before it was due.

Theatre arts professor Jennifer Dobby believed in me from the moment I came to Carroll and hired me to work with her on public relations and graphic design in the theatre arts office. I knew almost nothing about public relations, but knew I wanted to eventually become a graphic designer for a theatre company, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Not only did she teach me everything I know about public relations for theatre, working on a team, and coming up with creative marketing solutions; she also has also taught by example on how to be an exceptional leader. I feel very lucky to have been able to learn so much about leadership at a young age, and even take on a leadership role in the theatre arts office as an upperclassman. Because of this invaluable experience, Carroll has become incomparable to any other university experience I could imagine.

What’s one unique experience you’ve had relating to the coursework for your major?

In one of my first graphic design classes, for our final project we were assigned a group to work with and then tasked to create a fictional company for which we would create design assets. We designed things such as a menu, postcard, logo, etc., and we all had to work together to keep all of the work consistent even though it was done by three different designers. Not only was this a lesson in design, but also in communication and teamwork. Although group projects can be daunting at times, I learned so much from this experience about what it will be like in the real world to work with other designers. Even from my first major course at Carroll, I was already learning skills that I could use in my field—this was something that really impressed me about Carroll and the graphic communication program.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you’re learning in the classroom?

I was also able to participate in many extracurricular activities while at Carroll and have participated in many productions. Because you don’t have to be a theatre arts major to audition for productions at Carroll, this involvement allowed me to work with those in my major while also meeting others outside of my majors. I have been involved in productions in many different ways, including acting, assistant stage managing, costume designing, choreographing and directing. From these experiences, I’ve been able to learn how to present myself well in front of others as well as management and leadership skills that can be applied to other professional areas of my life. I’ve also been involved in the Carroll Players student organization. I eventually joined the executive board, which was another great way to learn leadership skills.

If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?

The graphic communication major is great because of how it combines the art of graphic design with the business skills needed to market yourself and get a job. Graphic communication is all about taking information and translating it into a visual that will communicate the message clearly and effectively. If you’re a creative problem solver and like technology, this is the major for you! The theatre arts major at Carroll gives you the opportunity to explore as many areas of theatre as you would like. I never thought I would direct a play or especially write a play, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it after taking a directing class and a playwriting class. Because of Carroll’s small class size, you can audition for shows right away as a freshman. There is also the opportunity for many students to enter leadership roles such as stage managing, designing or directing. The professional relationships you will be able to build with the professors will help to best prepare you to enter the field after graduation.

Why did you choose to attend Carroll University?

I am so happy with my choice of attending Carroll University and I could not have imagined going anywhere else. The personal attention from numerous faculty members and all of the opportunities I have received have allowed me to already be working in my field part-time before even graduating. Carroll has become a second home for me and I always feel welcomed by all of the faculty and staff.

Learn more about the Graphic Communication program

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