Meet Our Alumni
Dominic LoSassoGraphic & Web Design , 1996
The Art Institute of Colorado
"Working with mediums that I wasn't necessarily familiar with opened my eyes to other possibilities. Learning these processes [in school] prepared me for a career in Visual Communications."Read More
Dominic LoSasso is a marketing manager at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a large commercial real estate firm representing properties and buildings throughout the Denver area. “I work with internal staff and outside clients to promote these properties and increase leasing opportunities. The projects I create are for print and web.” Before joining JLL, he worked in graphic design for LaBac Systems, Sir Speedy, Experian, and Ultimate Electronics. He also had his own graphic design business.
In his career, Dominic has worked in departments of all sizes—from 20 people to just one. “I'll admit, it's hard to stay motivated and creative when you're the only one, but there are tools and resources out there to keep you fresh and sharp.” To keep his creativity flowing, he’d start up friendly competitions with colleagues for logo design or brainstorm sessions for a project. He also subscribes to trade publications including Communication Arts and participates in networking groups such as Art Directors Club. Dominic also attends portfolio reviews at his alma mater, The Art Institute of Colorado, to see what recent graduates are producing.
He says that communication is a consistent challenge in his industry. “[There will always be people who] say ‘I don't know what I don't like, I just don't like it.’ I find that providing options is the best solution. I also ask them to give me examples of other things they've seen (internal or a competing company) that communicate what they're looking for.”
Dominic, who in 1996 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communications/Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Colorado, says that his education provided a broad knowledge of different art mediums and showed him how to apply them in a career. “Working with mediums that I wasn't necessarily familiar with opened my eyes to other possibilities. Learning these processes prepared me for a career in Visual Communications.” He adds that design is an all-in career. “There's no two-ways about it, you have to go full-force, if you want to work in this field and succeed.”
See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.Read More...
Samantha De La FuenteFashion Design , 2015
Miami International University of Art & Design
“[My education] prepared me in the sense of developing a great work ethic, meeting deadlines, being on time, and most importantly understanding the design process and being able to work with different types of personalities.”Read More
Samantha De La FuenteSports Designer, Named “People’s Choice Award Winner” at Charleston Fashion Week
Samantha De La Fuente is an apparel and technical designer for Dynasty Apparel Corporation in Miami, Florida. She’s a men’s and youth and sports licensed apparel designer for Major League Baseball (MLB) and private labels. Samantha also researches and builds seasonal collections that follow key concepts, fashion trends, and design aesthetics for brand development. “I designed the ‘Stitches 2018’ line and presented it at the [Florida] Marlins’ baseball park to the sales team and MLB licensing division,” she says.
Prior to joining Dynasty Apparel, Samantha interned with Eduardo de las Casas, Julian Chang, Gottex Swimwear, and ArtNexux Magazine. “Every day is different [in fashion]. There is always a lot to be done. We design collections, make tech packs, work on submittals, create graphics, and catalogs.”
Samantha believes in the power of networking to land a job in the industry. She also sought assistance from the career services team at Miami International University of Art & Design to find her first job. “I am the type of person that is not satisfied until I reach my goals. Aside from working as a designer for a company, I am also working on my own collection and entering competitions to get my name out there.”
She worked full time while creating a 12-look presentation that was shown at Charleston, South Carolina Fashion Week. “To see my collection walk down that runway was such an amazing experience! I also won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ that night. It was one of the best nights of my life!” Samantha plans to move to Asia to build her professional career.
Samantha, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Miami International University of Art & Design, says that her education helped her to build a strong work ethic. “[It also instilled the importance of] meeting deadlines, being on time, understanding the design process, and being able to work with different types of personalities.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/289 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Andrew ChambersMedia Arts & Animation , 2015
The Art Institute of Phoenix
“[My education] gave me a taste of the real world and helped me to understand what life was like in an art studio setting.”Read More
Andrew ChambersCreates Vector Art Images Used on PING Golf Merchandise
As the customization coordinator for PING Golf, Andrew Chambers is responsible for producing the vector art used in production of PING golf merchandise. He also manages digital files and folders, processes merchandise orders, and submits completed work to licensing companies. “Throughout my day, I create several vector images used on merchandise,” he says. Prior to joining PING, Andrew was a lead concept artist for a gaming company. He’s also freelanced to create concept art, a children’s book, and character design for a video game.
He explains that in his industry, 100% commitment is needed in order to succeed. “Getting my job at PING definitely showed me that hard work and determination can pay off.” He adds that creative individuals must continue to push themselves and never give up. He finds inspiration by looking at comic books, drawings, and action figures—placed on his walls and desk. “I even have a whiteboard to doodle on. I think others see my stuff and they can relate in one way or another. It starts a conversation.”
Andrew mentions that he is often challenged by the daily demands of his work—pushing him to work faster and create better art. But the work is worth it because he’s in a position that he enjoys. “[It can be a challenge to find] a good job in the industry. They are definitely out there but they can be hard to find. With determination, you can find a job you’ll love.”
Andrew, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of Phoenix, says that his education help him to develop as an artist—and as his own manager. “It gave me a taste of the real world and helped me to understand what life was like in an art studio setting.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/30 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Sabrina PaduaFashion Marketing & Management , 2016
The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University
“No matter how long the days are, I enjoy that I get to be in this industry making a difference, alongside my team. It's great to finally be able to have a career that I've always envisioned myself being in.”Read More
Sabrina PaduaResearches and Creates Trend Plans Two Years Before Final Product Hits Stores
As the product line coordinator for Lucy Activewear, Sabrina Padua has many responsibilities. She coordinates and manages data pertaining to the product line, product creation, and development—and works with the “tops” category team to help to determine new product and consumer needs, price points, and strategic developments. Prior to her current position, she worked with prAna, Mel Cotton’s Sporting Goods, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters.
Each day is a balance of new tasks and outstanding projects. “My work consists of creating multiple presentations on PowerPoint [for] different cross-functional partners, managing data pertaining to the product line on multiple Excel files, and ensuring the integrity of its contents. I also attend prototype fittings, organize salesman samples, attend meetings with different teams (design, product development, marketing, sourcing) to go over seasonal collections, and coordinate all of the important gates and milestones when it comes to the product life cycle,” she says.
Sabrina adds that she didn’t quite know what to expect on her first day at work. “I had butterflies in my stomach and I would think to myself, ‘Am I going to do a good job? What if I don't catch on? What if this isn't for me?’ But the moment that I walked into the office and met everyone, all of my fears were put to rest. I realized very quickly that I knew my strengths and my skills, and I was prepared for any challenges that may come.”
She explains that fashion takes a high level of commitment—but it’s an exciting field full of creative individuals. “[I work with people that] I can learn from and look to as role models. I see what it takes to be successful and I strive to learn and adapt quickly, and to contribute to the future of the brand as much as I possibly can.”
Working on projects two years before they hit stores can be a challenge. “We are really in the forefront of the product's lifecycle. I help my team brief the new ideas and we work together with the designers to create an entire product line. My team goes out in to the market to find out what styles, fabrics, and technologies are trending, and we work with our designers who then create the collection based on the details our findings.” From that point, the project evolves to include fittings and samples of the designs that will be available in stores.
Sabrina, who in 2016 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education taught the key skills needed to transition into the fashion industry. “It’s great to come into the field knowing industry terms, departments, and how they pertain to the product line.” She adds that it’s also important that individuals in the industry continue to innovate and create. “It's good to be adaptable, flexible, and on your toes. There's so many different moving parts when it comes to introducing the product and brand to the market.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/383 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Bri MaxeinerBaking & Pastry , 2011
The Art Institute of California—Orange County, a campus of Argosy University
"My education prepared me to stay focused and take pride in everything I do. I always wanted to be the best in my class, and that level of drive has gotten me to where I am today."Read More
Bri MaxeinerManages Pastry Department for The Ritz-Carlton
Bri Maxeiner is a pastry chef at The Ritz-Carton on St. Thomas, in the British Virgin Islands. She’s responsible for managing the pastry department and all operations for the pastry team. Bri also oversees the production of breads and desserts for the buffets, weddings, and holiday banquets held on the property. Before joining the Ritz-Carlton, Bri was the general manager of a celebrity-focused boutique studio in Brooklyn and New York City.
She says that moving from New York City to St. Thomas was a big challenge—the conditions were far different when it came to baking. “Dealing with humidity and heat with pastry is not just challenging, it’s nearly impossible,” she states. “Learning to change recipes and techniques because of the environment was a huge learning curve for me. Adapting to a whole different atmosphere was also just exhausting. I built a great team to help me solve my problems and to work together through them built us into such a close relationship. My team is my work family.”
Because the culinary industry is so demanding, Bri recommends that current students understand the level of commitment needed to succeed. “But, if you love it then it will be worth it. I have days that I think I should have picked a different career path, but when I think about what I would do, I always come back to the kitchen. Some days feel like I get paid to play all day. I love cooking and when we are testing new recipes and turning our imagination into reality, it is so rewarding.”
With a long list of upcoming functions, Bri must be detail-oriented and plan out production needs. “We keep a running list of all items that need to be produced for an ongoing, 200+ recipe organization,” she says. The company she works for has recognized her efforts—and she says she’s earned respect from coworkers because of her work ethic. The property’s PR manager even wrote an article about new desserts that Bri’s team created, which was picked up by the local news. Bri is also a believer in teamwork and its importance within the kitchen. “Our holiday buffets and our new menus are always a collaborative effort. Getting everyone’s opinions or input is important to me, because at the end of the day I can't run it all by myself.”
Bri, who in 2011 earned a Baking & Pastry Diploma from The Art Institute of California—Orange County, says that her education provided the focus she needed. “I always wanted to be the best in my class, and that level of drive has gotten me to where I am today.” She adds that she continues to challenge herself to grow as a professional. “I have never been one to be complacent in a role, even when I reach the top. There's always higher to go, there's always more to learn, there's always something new to try.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/352 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Terrence Anthony TookesCulinary Management , 2014
The Art Institute of Atlanta
“[My education] gave me the skills and confidence to be a critical thinker—but to know when to allow others who are better suited for the take to take the lead.”Read More
Terrence Anthony TookesWorks with Team to Build Loyalty and Repeat Business at Company With Over 800 Restaurants
Terrence Tookes is a corporate executive chef for Darden Restaurants in Orlando, Florida. He is responsible for developing innovative Italian-American menu items that drive brand loyalty and repeat businesses. He says that a typical day starts with a team meeting, then moves on to tastings with vendors. Finally, he spends the rest of his day either in a local restaurant or in the test kitchens.
Terrence says that working within such a large restaurant group means it’s imperative that he continues to lead from the front while consistently striving to create food that brings people back for more. “Day in and day out we are challenged to improve systems and recipes that are already used in the restaurant, as well as research and develop new systems and recipes that are edgy but drive down the complexity—so that it can be easily executed and consistently duplicated for the entire brand.”
Terrence is also a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps for four years, earning the rank of Sergeant E-5. He says that when he was working toward his degree, he drew on the strength that he obtained as a member of the military. “Although I found security in being a restaurant general manager, being a chef at heart I wanted more of a creative outlet.” He went back to school—as a single dad—and admits that it took more sacrifice and commitment than he expected.
Now that he is working in the civilian world, he says that he enjoys seeing the benefits of his hard work—in the smiles of his customers and team members. Terrence adds that to grow customer loyalty, he places himself in the position of the guest. “How can I create food and an experience for them that will [bring them back]? One of the awesome pleasures of this position is instant access to gratification for a job well done.” Terrence states that working on the development team means that he is constantly doing research and that he’s found there is more to Italian cooking than he could have ever expected.
Terrence, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts Management from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that his education provided the knowledge he needed to understand the business side of the culinary industry. “It assisted me in having a broader understanding of the challenges of the corporate world and [showed me] how to navigate them. It gave me the skills and confidence to be a critical thinker—but to know when to allow others who are better suited for the task to take the lead.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/313 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Matt FordererVisual Communications , 1986
The Art Institute of Colorado
“No one could have [known] the revolution coming in design. But the foundation I received—in good craftsmanship, cutting, air brushing, photography, and illustration—all helped me to easily adapt to computers.”Read More
Matt FordererMatt Forderer is a Photoshop artist for Found Image Press, a company that takes old, copyright-free imagery and turns it into paper productions. He also pursues a fine art career as a collagist and painter. “I am basically the entire graphics department and am constantly restoring these images, as well as doing any custom work that comes our way,” he says. Matt has worked with the company for 16 years—and also freelances creating murals for restaurants, bio-tech buildings, and other clients in San Diego and La Jolla, California.
Because Matt graduated prior to computers being such an integral part of the art process, he needed to adapt to new technology and software. “I fell behind. Eventually I got [a computer]. I have found that you can specialize, and have been making a career of just Photoshop.” He recommends that current students appreciate the opportunity to learn in a real-world school environment. “One of my favorite quotations is from Theodore Roosevelt, ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’”
Matt’s interest in collage stemmed from artist Max Ernst, one of the founding surrealists. He adds that he enjoys creating surrealistic imagery and is constantly inspired by nature. “I’m just doing it because I want to. I am committed to following my imagination. At work, I am faithfully restoring tens of thousands of old images that are printed on cards, calendars, and other products and scattered around the country.”
His work as a muralist allows him to add to the design and artwork of the San Diego area. Matt admits that he truly experienced the benefits of his hard work was when he saw his first 10 x 20 wall mural installed in a La Jolla bio-tech building. One recently completed project was window graphics for an adult gaming building called Escapology in Belmont Park, San Diego. “The client had so many things they wanted to incorporate [into the mural design. This included] steam punk and modes of transportation, I had two weeks to complete it, being grilled by a team of designers. I also had my day job. But I made my way through it, step by step. The ‘all-nighters’ I used to put in all the time at art school, helped me to deliver come crunch time.”
Matt, who in 1986 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communications/Advertising from The Art Institute of Colorado, says that while he was in school, he couldn’t have predicted the changes that would come into his career. “We were just barely beginning with computers. No one could have [known] the revolution coming in design then. But the foundation I received—in good craftsmanship, cutting, air brushing, and illustration—all helped me to easily adapt to computers.”
The Art Institute of Colorado is one of The Art Institutes, a system of over 45 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of Argosy University. The Art Institute of Colorado, 1200 Lincoln Street, Denver, CO 80203-2172. © 2017 The Art Institutes. All rights reserved. Our email address is email@example.com.
See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Courtney CampbellDigital Photography , 2014
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
“I have always been an artist but the idea of having a career as an artist seemed unrealistic to me until I found The Art Institute of San Antonio.”Read More
Captures Images for University, Oversees Photography for Sombrilla Magazine
As a photographer, photo editor, and archivist for the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA), Courtney Campbell is responsible for capturing and producing a wide range of high quality images of general, medical, and scientific phenomena and subjects. She utilizes specialized techniques of modern photography to produce a wide variety of creative images for clinical, teaching, research activities, special events, the university website, as well as print publications.
Courtney oversees the editorial planning and photography for the school’s magazine, Sombrilla—a publication with a circulation of 80,000. She also serves as the photo archivist for the university, organizing all digital assets and fulfilling photo requests from colleges, departments, and the media.
In addition to her work at UTSA, Courtney runs her own fine art business, Sparx Photography. "I've been exhibiting since 2011. In just the past few months, my fine art has been exhibited in Italy, San Antonio, San Francisco, South Korea, and Budapest." In May 2017, she's exhibiting in London and Rome. Courtney is also an active marketing volunteer for San Antonio Pets Alive.
She recommends that to prepare for a career, current photography students should push themselves—and never just do the minimum to get by. “Nobody makes you go to college. You make the decision, so why not make it work for you? Every single project I was assigned in those four years, I took and made it my own. I imagined it was for a client, or for an exhibition. Doing this gave me a very strong portfolio in the end.”
Courtney also states she had to overcome a health crisis while in school—a stress-induced seizure that led to other, smaller seizures that would occur up to 20 times a day. “This totally threw my motivation off-course. I thought, how could I go to an interview? How can I talk on the phone? How can I have a successful career with this? I wasn't able to drive for a year and a half.” After graduation, she applied for positions including the job at UTSA—but she was terrified that she’d have a seizure during the interview. “For months, I was working on managing stress but still, I was nervous. I nailed the interview. I had no seizures. I followed every single detail that all my instructors told me over the years. I think channeling those reminders got me through that interview.” She says that soon after starting her job, the seizures began to subside—they’re now almost completely gone. The experience taught her to better manage her stress. “If something is out of your control, let it be. If there is something stressing you out, fix it or change it.”
The positive work environment at UTSA adds to the commitment she feels to her craft. “Work doesn't seem like work so much when you get to talk about art and photography all day. However, your superiors need to see that commitment so that is why I have made a habit of helping others where I can.” When she has downtime at work, Courtney asks others in the design suite if they need assistance. “Working at a university, you not only need to be committed to your job, but the entire vision of the school.”
She’s proud of the impact she’s made in her position, receiving kudos from coworkers for changes she instituted within the school’s magazine. “I really try as an artist to halt literal interpretations of an editorial story. I motivate people to see the value in strong composition and design control.” She cites an example of a feature story about a person—and asks, “what would motivate someone to read the story?” Courtney believes that moving away from a traditional head shot makes all the difference when it comes to reader engagement. “A beautifully lit environmental portrait in a lab or a greenhouse can really change the entirety of the feature story. It will draw viewers in and engage them in a different way.”
Today, Courtney continues to grow in her position. When she was first hired, she was an events photographer. Within two months, she became an archivist and implemented Photoshelter's Libris, a digital asset management system to help organize the school’s 30+ years worth of photos. She continues to enjoy the surprises that come with being in a creative profession. “The main thing that challenges any photographer is how every situation is different. Every head shot, portrait, editorial, or event is different. So you have to keep growing in the technical field of lighting. Earlier this year, I went to shoot the most important photo for the magazine, the cover shot. For the first time ever, all my lighting failed. One trigger broke, than another and it was completely out of my control. I had limited time and had to think fast to come up with a solution. I ended up shooting three separate shots to composite together to get the shot we needed.”
Courtney, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education change the course of her life. “I have always been an artist but the idea of having a career as an artist seemed unrealistic to me until I found The Art Institute of San Antonio.” She says that the small classes helped her to feel that the education was personalized. Courtney adds that the instructors got to know their students and helped them to develop the skills needed in the real world. “[They] were professionals who allowed me to pursue my personal [goals] versus a strict pathway. They taught from real life experiences, not from a textbook. [For example], getting a true critique on your artwork is very different than getting a score on a test.”Read More...
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