Melissa Gamez

Melissa Gamez

A good concept trumps everything else. Melissa Gamez , Graphic & Web Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Charlotte, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

For me, it’s been more of a life-long interest and enjoyment of creativity and design. I‘ve worked in architecture, animation, video games, web design, and graphic design, and I’ve enjoyed them all.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I always relate what I teach in class to real-world situations and experiences. Letting students know that what they’re doing has value—that it applies to the real-world— makes the work more relevant and interesting to them. They understand that this isn’t "busy work," but real skills they’ll be expected to apply in their careers.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

In one of my classes, we play Pictionary®on the first day. I divide the class into two teams and have them use the white board. They’re used to working on the computer and relying on technology, so this exercise gets them out of their comfort zone and shows them they can get the same results using only their brains and a dry erase marker. It also reinforces one of my favorite teaching mantras: a good concept trumps everything else.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

When students leave school, they’ll be expected to work with diverse people with different skill sets, expectations, and backgrounds. By collaborating on projects here, they’re preparing for life out there.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

The most important thing they can do to be successful is to ask questions when they don't understand what’s expected of them.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Be proactive!