Alumni Success Stories & Testimonials

The International Academy of Design & Technology is committed to helping prepare creative, tech-savvy professionals for exciting opportunities throughout the design, fashion, and media arts and technology industries. We're inspired by the goals our students set for themselves and proud of their achievements.

We thought you might like to meet a few of the thousands of IADT graduates who have honed their skills and polished their portfolios at our schools before making their mark in their chosen fields. We invite you to click on the names of graduates below to read success stories and testimonials from some of our accomplished alumni. Perhaps one of them will be all the inspiration you need to make the decision to pursue your passion at IADT!

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Ryan Lee: BFA Game Production

Ryan Lee
BFA Game Production, IADT-Seattle, 2011
User Interface Artist and Designer

Why did you choose to attend IADT? I had previously attended another school for a similar degree. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the school had to cancel their program. I looked around at other similar schools, but couldn’t afford their tuition. Continuing my search, I found IADT and decided to visit the school and hear more about the program. After visiting the campus and being able to meet a few of the instructors, I was confident that IADT had what I was looking for.

How did IADT influence the direction you took as a professional? I knew I wanted to be in the games industry since an early age. However, just the passion of playing games does not get you a guaranteed job. I knew that I would have to get formal education in order to pursue my dreams. IADT as an institution, along with my instructors, were able to give me the knowledge and further develop my skills in order to help me get a job in the game development industry.

How are you able to use what you learned at IADT in your everyday responsibilities on the job? Although most of my IADT curriculum focused on the creation of 3D objects, almost all projects focused on presentation and design. Being able to artistically display your design choices and ideas as well as clearly stating why you made particular decisions will help solidify the product as a whole, especially with new intellectual properties (IPs). The most successful games tell a story, not only literally, but by the cohesion of all its parts.

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on? It was actually day one of my first game-related job where I was tasked with designing and animating the digital gauges of the Warthog, a vehicle featured in the world-famous Halo series. I worked closely with my art director and some art leads to complete the look and feel of the Halo Warthog gauges.

What do you consider your biggest professional success since graduation? In all honesty, it would be that I landed a position in the industry. I went to school with a lot of talented people that could have been in my same shoes. But because of the dedication that I had during my schooling to push my projects to an entry-level height, I believe was that extra step that put me here today.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? Dedication and commitment. It’s advice that I would give anyone attending any institution. The fact of the matter is that you’re entering a very competitive business. Your time spent at IADT should be building blocks that prepare you for your professional career.

With that said, you have to enjoy it. Play a game to break down every detail and protect/defend the choices that were made to make it successful/unsuccessful. Design, play and draw things that are out of your comfort zone; you never know what type of game you will be working on. (What, “Barbie’s Playground” doesn’t sound like fun to you?!)

Also, get your digital portfolio up and running, day one, even if there is nothing to show. Treat every assignment like it will be shown to an employer. When you think it has reached a final stopping point, post it to your portfolio and have others critique your work. Accepting others’ feedback is crucial; believe me that it will always turn out better in the end. If you follow through with this, through the 3-4 years of projects, your portfolio will be ready and polished for the beginning of the job hunt.

Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. The experience of the alumni is not representative of all students. International Academy of Design and Technology cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.iadt.edu/disclosures.

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Adam Mager IADT-Seattle

Adam Mager
BFA Graphic Design, IADT-Seattle, 2012
Designer, WDCW

Why did you choose to attend IADT? I felt it encompassed the necessary environment for me to excel as a designer.

What is your current title and employer? Currently, I am a designer at WDCW, a very well-established advertising firm in the Seattle area.

How are you able to use what you learned at IADT in your everyday responsibilities on the job? The core principals and professional standards of design I learned from IADT instructor Brandon Walker is what I carry with me throughout my everyday responsibilities at WDCW.

What do you do to stay inspired creatively? I stay inspired by taking on challenges that push me out of my comfort zone. I also regularly view portfolios and articles on design websites and participate in design-related events.

What do you consider your biggest professional success since graduation? Working for the largest and best independent advertising agency in Seattle is my biggest professional success since graduation. With a lot of help and encouragement from Brandon Walker, I was able to win several ADDY Awards - both locally and a Silver ADDY at the Northwest District - all from the work I created at IADT.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? The IADT staff is happy to help in your success, but you also need to be proactive and ask questions and take advantage of all that IADT has to offer.

For more information on Adam and to see his work, visit www.adammager.com.

Reported October 2012

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Carol Plymill

Carol Plymill
AS Digital Photography, IADT-Tampa, 2009
Fashion and Still Life Photographer, VTBeauty

Why did you choose to attend IADT? I never really planned to attend a school and get a degree in photography, but one day I saw an advertisement from IADT which made me very curious to go check it out. They gave me a tour around the entire school and I was even able to witness a photo shoot session that was going on at the time. Right then I knew strongly in my heart that I had to attend IADT and get my degree in photography. It was like a spark! I didn’t even think twice! I was very impressed by the facility and the environment not to mention the top-of-the-line equipment!

How did IADT influence the direction you took as a professional? I knew for sure I wanted to shoot people until I took the still life class (product photography). I was in love with still life, but after I took the fashion class a few months later, I realized that was it! On my very first group fashion shoot, my instructor said, “Carol, you have the eye for fashion.” I fell in love in the class. Even though fashion is my first love, I never stopped loving still life!

What is your current title and employer? I’m proud to say I’m a full-time fashion and still life photographer. I currently work for VTBeauty, which is the umbrella company of GKhair and Tibolli.

How are you able to use what you learned at IADT in your everyday responsibilities on the job? I can honestly say that I use 100% of what I learned at IADT on a daily basis. I shoot beauty/fashion for campaign ads and commercials as well as all their product lines, from hair brushes to flat irons to shampoos, sprays etc.

What do you do to stay inspired creatively? Fashion is a lovely CRAZY world! I love creating different, unique imagery, but to stay inspired I’m constantly researching campaigns from major beauty and fashion companies. I’m always following fashion looks and trends of the season. Even though I shoot beauty 90% of the time, the fashion editorials are what keep me inspired.

What do you consider your biggest professional success since graduation? My biggest success after my graduation so far is definitely my job. Being able to say I’m a full-time professional photographer is priceless to me.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? If LOVE is the main reason why you would join, then you should dive into this journey. Love kept me smiling from start to finish even though it was not easy! My instructors pushed me very hard only to make me realize I can do anything I set my mind to! I hope this school changes your life the way it changed mine but the most important thing is your goal, your passion and determination. If you stay focused you’ll leave out of there skyrocketing.

 

www.carolplymill.com
www.facebook.com/CarolPlymillPhoto

 

Reported June 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Kristin Talbot
BFA Graphic Design, IADT-Detroit, 2009
Art Director, Quicken Loans

Kristin Talbot had a bachelor’s degree and was working in mortgage sales for two years when she found herself asking, “What’s next?”

She recalls, “I figured if I was ever going to go back to school, this was the time; I needed to do something that I loved. So I did some research on Graphic Design programs in the area and found the International Academy of Design and Technology in Detroit.”

Kristin exhibited strong leadership qualities and took advantage of every educational and professional opportunity offered. In addition to her tutoring services, she also served as AIGA vice president for the IADT- Detroit student chapter and was a contributing member of the student creative team for Interfaces 2009, IADT- Detroit’s annual design conference.

While in her last year, Kristin tapped into her past career in the mortgage industry and combined her connections with her design knowledge. She approached her previous employer for an internship in the Marketing and Design department, which they gave to her. Her internship led her to her current position as Art Director at Quicken Loans.

Kristin is enthusiastic about continuing to work at Quicken Loans, ranked as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” and Computerworld Magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work in Technology.” Kristin works on a variety of projects, including print materials and interactive projects, and says, “My experience at the Academy provided me with a great foundation so I could hit the ground running once I was let loose back into the real world.”

Kristin continues her advocacy for IADT after graduating by participating in a faculty development session on classroom management where she voiced the student perspective. She also volunteered her time to be a part of an alumni panel discussion at Interfaces 2010 and recently helped develop an internship opportunity at Quicken Loans for Graphic Design students.

Reported March 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

 

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Anastasia Chatzka
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Chicago, 2007
Owner, Anastasia Chatzka boutique

Anastasia worked diligently while attending IADT to start develop her own line of clothing. Immediately following graduation, she spent some time in New York working with well- known designers such as Betsy Johnson and Anna Sui. She returned in 2007 to Chicago and while freelancing, started to concentrate on her own business. She eventually opened her first boutique in June 2009 in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood. She presently designs ready-to-wear 1960's-inspired women's garments and works with IADT to take on interns who potentially are hired on after graduation.

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Brent Rolland
BFA Multimedia Production and Design: Interactive Media, IADT-Chicago, 2005
Office Manager/Web Designer, Fig Media

Brent graduated summa cum laude and at the top of his class in September of 2005. Through the help of one of IADT's instructors, Brent was recommended to Fig Media Incorporated in Chicago during his final term at school. He started off as a design intern and worked his way up to his present-day position as graphic and web designer for the company. Brent also currently serves as president of IADT-Chicago's Alumni Association. He attends portfolio reviews at the college to help prospective graduates gain perspective on design and remains extremely connected to the IADT community.

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Suzi Mijailovic
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Chicago, 2002
Owner, Weddings 826 Bridal Boutique

Suzi majored in fashion design while attending IADT-Chicago and obtained her first internship with Amy Bond Couture in Pasadena, Calif., in 2001. After completing her internship, Suzi moved back to Chicago to graduate with a bachelor's degree in September 2002. After a few months of hard work and networking, she was hired on as an intern for Weddings 826 in January 2003. Suzi quickly worked her way up from intern to part-time and then full-time consultant. Using her alteration skills, she applied her knowledge of tailoring and styling to effectively communicate with brides and develop strong relationships. In 2005, the owner approached Suzi about becoming the next business owner of the boutique. Today, Suzi runs the successful bridal boutique in the affluent neighborhood of Lincoln Park and presently works with IADT Chicago to secure interns and part-time assistance from the Fashion and Merchandising programs. She also refers other business owners to IADT for assistance in their employment needs.

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Edis Causevic
BAS Information Technology, IADT-Chicago, 2009
Application analyst, Methodist Hospital of Chicago

After a successful internship as a desktop support associate, Edis was introduced by the Career Services Department to HyperQuest, a suburban information management company, where he worked as a Technical Support Associate. After HyperQuest, Edis found a new position that matched his career goals at the Methodist Hospital of Chicago, where he currently works as an Application Analyst. Edis is also studying for A+, Cisco and Microsoft Certifications and hopes to continue his education to obtain a master's degree in information technology.

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Daisy De La Cruz

Daisy De La Cruz
BFA, Visual Communications: Communications & Advertising, IADT-Chicago, 2008
Founder/President of De La Croix Media Group

Why did you choose to attend IADT?
I chose IADT because it offered me exactly what I was looking for: private attention, hands-on training and a three-year degree.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the path you took as a professional?
Having REAL WORLD experience was priceless to me. I had two professors that stand out in this occasion, Lauria Locsmondy & Robert Gramillano. I had the pleasure of being in several of Ms. (now Mrs., I believe) Locsmondy's classes. She made it a point to push our limits and really get creative with our projects. Our finals included presenting creative pieces to professionals in the industry for REAL criticisms. Everything was hands on, and I couldn't thank her enough for the experience. Mr. Gramillano urged each and every one of us to network, network, network!! Networking is sort of an art in itself; it takes a great deal of practice. Had it not been for Mr. G., I would not have ventured off as young as I did. I am eternally grateful for his "nagging"!

What other jobs/positions have you held in your career and where?
While in school, I made it a point to venture off and get as much experience as possible. Before graduating, I had successfully completed four internships in completely different industries: boutique PR, corporate PR & marketing, local business (mom & pop shops) and real estate/social-media marketing. The experience was incredible and further assured me that I had chosen the right career.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT?
"Begin the journey with the end in sight" - have a clear goal of where you want to be when you receive your diploma and STOP AT NOTHING! Your instructors are all there to assist you to reach your goals.

Links:

Published October 2010

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This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.


Brady Buchanan
BAS Information Technology, IADT-Chicago, 2010
Information Technologist at Pea Pod

Why did you choose to attend IADT?
Because IADT offered an IT degree/program.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the direction (path) you took as a professional?
I knew exactly what I wanted to do and the path I was looking for. My passion is Help Desk and Server Administration. IADT only helped me gain more knowledge in those two areas with the IT courses they offered.

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft?
Within each class at IADT, we had a lot of hands on projects and assignments, so that in itself helped us master the challenges of the craft. But not only that, IADT had testing/preparation software readily available that prepared us for real-world scenarios on top of your typical lecture, quizzes, and assignments. Another nice thing about IADT is that they offer Cisco courses to help you master anything and everything that pertains to Cisco and networking, i.e., switching, routing, etc. At the end of the course, the final consisted of taking an exam administered by Cisco that contained real-world scenario questions. Cisco also provided us with certain software tools to utilize that real-world network professionals utilize on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT?
You definitely need to come in to IADT ready to work hard. Open your mind to new information in large quantities. There is a lot to learn in the IT field, and IADT can help you learn everything … you just have to be willing, motivated, and determined.

Published November 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Jenevy Millanes-Sims

Jenevy Millanes-Sims
AAS Graphic Design, IADT-San Antonio, 2009
Creative Director at Sterling Allison Media

Why did you choose to attend IADT?
I chose IADT because the classes were specific and the teachers were experienced in their fields.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the direction (path) you took as a professional?
In all my classes, as nerve-racking as it was, our work was always critiqued by our classmates and teachers. There was a time in my History of Graphic Design class where I had completely forgotten about my assignment that was due that day and I had slapped something together for the sake of turning something in. When I placed my assignment up for review, I realized how evident it was that I had just put this assignment together. In the professional world, people pay for your creativity and time and both are really evident. I didn't ever want to carry that same experience over to a paid client.

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft?
My IADT instructors were experienced intellectuals who were patient and very knowledgeable in their fields. They had assignments that always challenged us to take our work to the next level, and they were always available if I needed extra tutoring.

What other jobs/positions have you have held in your career and where?
I interned at Verdon Graphics, where I learned how to run the printers. When I was hired on to Sterling Allison Media, I was an entry-level graphic designer and then became Art Director. When our company continued to expand, I became Creative Director.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT?
Everyone has potential. The thing that will set you apart is what you do with the creative talents you've been blessed with. IADT is the greatest tool that you can enable yourself with. By attending IADT, you have created an endless door of possibilities. It's the first step you need to take to get to where you need to be. My advice to anyone considering attending IADT is to go into this program with an open mind and willingness to learn more. Surround yourself with people who have had more experience than you, because "iron sharpens iron." Stays focused and always keep your reason for attending school at the forefront of your mind. My favorite quote comes from Jim Ryan: "It all depends on how bad you want it." Your actions will reflect on how bad you really wanted it.

Published October 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Carol Reyes

Carol Reyes
AAS Fashion Design and Marketing, IADT-San Antonio, 2009
Fashion Designer/Owner of Carol Reyes Ltd. Co.; President/Owner of CompleteCare Home Health LLC; President/Owner of Affinity Rehabilitation Associates LLC

Why did you choose to attend IADT?
I was attracted to the flexibility of the schedule, which allowed me to work full time and attend the program at the same time. I was also impressed by the facilities and equipment the school offered and was inspired by the students' work that was lining the hallways during my tour of the school.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the path you took as a professional?
When I started this program, I actually had no intention of pursuing fashion design as a career, as I was mainly looking for a diversion from my daily routine of operating a business. My experience at IADT and my interactions with the instructors and students piqued my interest to pursue this career. The instructors were very encouraging. One particular conversation I had with Ms. Jackie Benavides influenced my decision to pursue fashion design on a professional level.

What awards/accolades have you received?
I was Nominated for the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards through NAWBO San Antonio (National Association of Women Business Owners). I also graduated with honors from this program.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT?
I would advise those who are interested in pursuing a fashion design degree to start carrying a sketch pad/notebook and write down/sketch any ideas that come to mind. It will come in handy later on when you have do homework or complete a collection when you don't feel inspired at all. I would also suggest taking a crash course in sewing if you don't know how to sew so you will later on be able to just focus on being creative and not waste your time trying to learn how to operate a sewing machine. And finally, if fashion is your passion, go for it. You will not regret it.

Links:

Published October 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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 IADT-Seattle alumnus Lance P

Lance Phromnopavong
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Seattle, 2009

Lance Phromnopavong spent nine years of his life homeless. Here is his story in his own words, as told to Laura Nielsen, Director of Career Services at IADT-Seattle.

Being homeless was a direct result of not making healthy decisions for my life. I managed to stay off the streets for two years and was living in Bangkok, Thailand, when I re-found my passion for art. I was reminded of my aunt who was a fashion designer in Los Angeles that I admired and made an impression on me. I made the decision to go back to school, and to follow my passion.

Choosing a school to attend proved to be a challenge. Many of the bad influences in my past were living in Seattle. I didn’t want to fall into the wrong crowd and stray from my personal goals of being a fashion designer. It was difficult finding the balance between my new life and my friends. Many sacrifices had to be made. I had to avoid negative people and take school seriously. I thought being good at art was enough to succeed, and then I realized you do not get something for nothing - you really have to work hard to make it.

After wanting to drop out of college a few times, I finally graduated in August 2009, due to an amazing support team and staff at IADT-Seattle. I started my fashion career as an assistant designer for a fashion design company in Seattle. After a year, I decided to move to Portland, Ore., and open my own high-fashion street boutique called Perfekt Tension. Our design focus is "Haute Street Wear," and we operate our business at the Portland Saturday Market.

Interview conducted in December 2012

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Laura Heng
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Seattle, 2009
Account Executive for the East and West Coast wholesale boutiques for Yumi Kim

What was your background prior to attending IADT-Seattle?
Prior to IADT-Seattle, I was a student and collegiate athlete at Gonzaga University. I spent two years at Gonzaga studying biology and pre-med. After Gonzaga, I transferred to the Art Institute to study fashion design. After one year at AI, I decided that fashion design was what I wanted to do but that AI was not the right fit. So I decided to look at other schools in the area that offered bachelor's degrees in fashion design and found IADT-Seattle.

What attracted you to IADT-Seattle?
I was attracted to IADT-Seattle because of the availability of classes, the amount of workspace available to the students and the price of tuition compared to other universities I had attended.

What did you like best about your experiences at IADT-Seattle?
My best experiences would have to be with the faculty and staff at IADT-Seattle. I loved my experience with my general education professors as well as the faculty in my program. The amount of support and encouragement I received from them rivaled any other school I had ever attended.

How did IADT-Seattle help you in getting where you are today with your career?
Without the knowledge I acquired from IADT-Seattle, I don't feel that I would have been as confident in my skills and abilities. It was this confidence that allowed me to impress potential employers during interviews and secure my current job.

What is your current job title and brief description of your duties?
As of right now, I am an account executive for the East and West Coast wholesale boutiques for Yumi Kim. I work directly with two showrooms in the U.S., one in Los Angeles and the other in New York. I am currently based out of Yumi Kim headquarters in Soho, New York. We allocate merchandise to boutiques like Nordstrom and Saks that are located in the U.S. Yumi Kim also allocates merchandise to clients in Canada, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

What advice would you give anyone thinking about attending IADT-Seattle?
I would definitely recommend doing it! I would also say be sure to take classes with Deb Vandermar, Jeanette DeJong, Pandora Neiland and Malusa Pinto!

Published October 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Carla Seder

Carla Seder
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Seattle, 2008

In a part of the country better known for farming and fly fishing than fashion, Carla Kae Seder opened a flourishing boutique featuring handmade fashion accessories, jewelry, handbags and artwork.

Sew Queen Designs started as a word-of-mouth business when Seder was a fashion design student. When she headed home to Hardin, Mont., on breaks from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Seattle, she'd bring her new creations with her. She found a receptive and encouraging clientele to purchase from her. Soon, Seder started to see her designs sported by friends and neighbors all over Hardin.

Seder's business started to take off with the development of her website in 2007, when she started selling her creations online. Seder received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design from IADT-Seattle in 2008 and was valedictorian of her class. After graduation, Seder moved to Arizona and began selling her designs at swap meets and craft fairs. That November, she returned home for the holidays and decided to negotiate shop space and sell her creations during the holiday season. She sold out quickly and decided to make the leap to acquiring a permanent location. Seder's father, a realtor in the area, helped her find a location on Main Street in Hardin, and Sew Queen Designs opened in December of 2009.

Seder uses her resources and knowledge from IADT-Seattle and trend-forecasting websites and publications to stay on top of trends in women's fashion so she could incorporate those trends into her designs.

"I love bringing fashion trends to Montana," Seder says. "People here are having more fun with fashion now."

Seder's future plans include hiring additional sewing help so she can concentrate on new designs. She hopes to open her second boutique location in California or Arizona. "My business is profitable and self-supporting, and it's fun to be my own boss. I'm excited at how amazing it's going, and I can't wait to have more shops all over."

What advice would you give students?
"I would tell students to truly make the most of their college experience. Take full advantage of all the knowledge the teachers have and the resources the school offers. College goes by quickly, and there is so much information to absorb. You really need to commit yourself to your career goals and that will lead you to success in the future! Always go above and beyond and strive to be your best in every class; it will pay off in the end. No dream is too big if you believe in yourself and your talents!"

Interview conducted in June 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Laura Pinnell
BFA Digital Media Production, IADT-Seattle, 2010
Founder, Studio 517, a wedding photography and cinematography company

Laura Pinnell had been interested in graphic design since junior high school and set a goal to obtain a bachelor's degree. She started as a graphic design student at IADT-Seattle in 2006. In the fall of 2007, Pinnell and her husband Andy offered to film a friend's wedding around the same time she was taking a video class. This piqued her interest, and after speaking with her program chair, she decided to switch her program to digital media production. She's been in love with the work ever since. Pinnell graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Digital Media Production in February 2010, achieving the goal she set early on for herself.

In 2008, Pinnell and her husband launched Studio 517, a wedding photography and cinematography company. "We loved the whole process of being involved in the wedding and editing together an art piece. Plus, being a husband-and-wife team is unique and fun," says Pinnell. "Our first jobs were for free or pennies, but now we see personal referrals coming back at full price."

How do you feel your education prepared you for this?
My education prepared me for this role in that it gave me the skills to be the jack-of-all-trades for our business. I feel confident in my skills as video editor and photo editor, and the design skills I gained helped me in to create our marketing materials. I really like that IADT's programs are very well rounded, so I was able to learn skills in many different areas. I'm equipped to handle multiple areas of our business. Plus, by working with my instructors and asking relevant questions, I also learned how to manage our business well, too.

What are your goals for the next five years?
In five years, we'd really like to see our business take off! I'd love to be able to be working full-time for our business and actually get paid a salary. We hope we can build a great client base and get our name out there, so we can book weddings and other gigs consistently. Eventually we'd love it if my husband could quit his 9-to-5 and work full-time as well. Building a business takes time, but we are in it for the long-haul.

What advice would you give to current students?
Find a niche that you really love and go for it! There are so many different ways to have a career in design that the possibilities are endless. And if you ever have those moments when you question, what's the point? Use your passion to help motivate you to finish your goal of a degree.

Interview conducted in May 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Jamie Simons

Jamie Simons
BFA Fashion Design, IADT-Seattle, 2007
Associate Technical Designer at Cutter & Buck

On Oct. 15, 2007, less than one month after graduating from IADT-Seattle with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design, Jamie Mercer was hired as an associate technical designer in the product development department at Cutter & Buck. The Seattle-based company designs and markets upscale golf-inspired sportswear and outerwear.

Jamie is responsible for coordinating the clothing development through its life cycle. Her days consist of communicating with merchandising, design, and color and production teams throughout this process. Jamie participates in garment fittings, audits to vendors and factories, garment sampling, trim applications, construction detail, pattern review and revisions, and helping with development of garment labels and hangtags.

How did your education prepare you for this position?
At IADT I was able to gain knowledge in the area I wanted my career to go. I knew I wanted to be in sportswear and was really able to learn more about fabric construction, different types of machines used to make sportswear garments, [and] the type of seams or stitching needed. Because of all the technical packages and pattern-making I had to do in my classes, I came to really like them. That's when I realized I wanted to be a technical designer. Most of my day is spent working on technical packages, and a few times a week I am doing pattern making.

What are your goals for the next 5 years?
I plan on staying at Cutter & Buck for a while, and I hope to continue to move up within product development and become a lead technical designer."

What would you like to say to current students?
The most important thing I can suggest is listening to the instructors! They know what they are talking about. Ask them for advice and ask a lot of questions, because once you're in the working world you are expected to know what you are doing. Oh, and never burn a bridge with a classmate or an instructor - in this industry you cannot afford to have any enemies because you never know who is going to hire you next. I actually was hired by a previous instructor.

Interview conducted in February 2009

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Stephanie Bor

Stephanie Bor
AAS Fashion Design and Merchandising, IADT-Sacramento, 2011
Visual Sales/Display Coordinator, Anthropologie

Why did you choose to attend IADT? I chose IADT because of the location, affordability, class sizes and the fashion program.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the direction you took as a professional? Taking the Fashion Trend Analysis class inspired me to work in a field that focused on the changing trends in fashion.

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft? They were always available when I needed advice and were constantly open and honest about any critique or job advice.

What other jobs/positions have you have held in your career? I started my own personal styling business when I was 20 years old [before attending IADT]. It was completely by accident. I would help my mom update her wardrobe, and she then referred me to her colleagues in corporate Bank of America. From there I gained five clients within a year. I did everything from being a personal shopper to just updating existing wardrobes to packing them for traveling they had to do for work. I still do that on the side, but I have since gained other clients, all by referral, and I do personal styling for them two to five times a year.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? I would tell them to make sure they understand how much of a commitment it is and to save every piece of work they completed in their classes that they feel particularly proud of. I would also tell them to take it seriously and know that at the end of the day, they are the only one who will start their career and they can’t expect any of the work to be done for them simply because they are attending IADT.

 

Reported March 2011

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Sheree Johnson

Sheree Johnson
BFA Digital Arts & Technology, IADT-Tampa, 2005
President - Image Masters International Inc.

Why did you choose to attend IADT? I am a graduate of the Chicago campus and was happy with the schedule in Chicago, so when I decided to go back to college, I picked IADT-Tampa because of a great, memorable experience I had in Chicago. [Sheree earned an AAS in Merchandising Management from IADT-Chicago in 1984; at the time the school was known as the International Academy of Merchandising & Design, Ltd.]

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the direction you took as a professional? Yes. I orginially was attending to get a degree in graphics and Web design; however, I attended a class on video production and got the video bug.

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft? I found that if I challenged the instructors I would get the most out of each course. I was much older than most students and was focused on what I wanted to accomplish; therefore, I would do the work and ask the questions if I did not quite get it the first few times things were explained. Upon doing so, I received the help I needed in order to master the challenges of the craft.

What advice would give to someone considering attending  IADT? Be prepared to get involved. Stay focused on your dreams.

Reported February 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Johnny Suppinch

John Suppicich
BFA Graphic Design, IADT-Tampa, 2010
Graphic Designer, Kandi Corp.

Why did you choose to attend IADT? Good location. Also because I found out that it is a well-recognized establishment. Even when I went out to California, people said, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of them in Tampa here.”

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred at IADT that influenced the path you took as a professional? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed classes such as package design and basic photography. I thought that they would be easy and boring. It turned out they were challenging and fun, too. There’s a lot to them!

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft?They were patient and accommodating. Very helpful, very willing to do whatever they could for you, like offering to write letters of recommendation and things like that.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? Focus on Web design and Flash development … and practice, practice, practice.

Reported March 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Jason Lowsy

Jason Lowsy
BFA Graphic Design, IADT-Tampa, 2010
Production Assistant/Graphic Designer, studio630

Why did you choose to attend IADT? They have labs and software that are industry current. They also have a nice campus and a great staff.

How did IADT influence the direction you took as a professional? IADT influenced me greatly as I learn to become more professional in my craft as well as learn each program proficiently.

How are you able to use what you learned at IADT in your everyday responsibilities on the job?I use what I learned in a lot of production work as well as updating the company website.

What do you do to stay inspired creatively? Browse different design blogs online as well as looking at new design books and classic artwork.

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT? Stay passionate about your work and be involved in as many things as you possibly can. Memories created here can inspire you through you work and throughout your life.

Reported April 2011

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Blanka Roundtree

Blanka Roundtree
BFA Graphic Design and MFA Media Design Management, IADT-Tampa, 2009 and 2010
Creative Director, Blanka Creative

Why did you choose to attend IADT?
I wanted to attend a campus that keeps up with technology and had great instructors. I was more of an unusual student. I already had a BFA degree from Slovakia, but life happened and I wanted to upgrade my education. I faced a lot of changes in my life as a newly divorced and single mom of three sons, so I wanted to be ready and prepared as best I possibly could.

Looking back, can you speak to a particular experience or situation that occurred while you were at IADT that influenced the direction you took as a professional?
Not necessarily influence, but to make me more interested was involvement with the Artistik Magazine from the day it was just a brainstorming idea or a thought. Artistik is something that I deeply care about and I would like to stay with for long time.

How did the IADT instructors and faculty help you master the challenges of the craft?
I was not new to the craft. Working as freelance art director for about 10 years gave me a lot of experience, but I did lack the training in web design and it was a bit intimidating. I realized that I really liked going to school again after so many years. Later, I decided to continue on with the masters program because I want to excel in my future career.

What awards/accolades have you received?
2007 Media Arts Design Expo: 2nd Place in Promotional Design and 3rd Place in Interactive Design; 1994 Advertising Specialty Institute: 1st Place for Cover Design - Bic and 2nd Place for AdvaLite Catalog; 1993 Supplier Achievement: 1st place for Bic SM Division Catalog

What advice would you give to someone considering attending IADT?
It is a great but demanding school; one has to be dedicated to education.

Links:

Published October 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Mary Jones

Mary Jones
BAS Fashion Design and Merchandising, IADT-Nashville, 2010
Owner, Amaezn Custom Designs and Alternations

“A better woman! That’s what I’ll be. A vision of strength and grace …”

This is the simple mantra that has kept me grounded as I wrestle day to day with the after affects of my experience with domestic violence.

Grabbing a dress and a few things for my kids, then 14 and 9, we left my abusive husband when he was not home. We slept in my car because there was no money for better. I remember trying to keep us warm by running the engine, and as soon as I tried to reserve my gas by turning the car off, the heat would leave too. It was a very cold and long night.

I knew that I did not want to live like this, nor did I want to return to a relationship that would probably end my life. There was much confusion about what to do next. My life was not my own. The running, hiding and constant fear of being found by my husband had me so vigilant that my own quality of life hardly existed. I just wanted to protect my children. Help was found through The Family Place of Dallas and the YWCA Emergency Shelter of Nashville.

It has taken the love and care of many people to help me push past old thoughts and timid behaviors. Depression was creeping in fast until I saw an ad on television from the International Academy of Design and Technology. I called them for a brochure, and this phone call was the spark that has kept a fire burning in me, even until now. IADT welcomed my passion (one of the many things that I felt stripped of) and nurtured me all the way to graduation.

The privilege of my education at IADT has been instrumental in saving ‘this’ life. Looking back, I am mindful of the respect given to me as an older student and how acknowledgment of my past gave others permission to cheer me forward.

I promised IADT that I would attend regularly, make good grades and show them that choosing me would not be a mistake. IADT promised me that they would provide everything I needed to become a successful student. Today I am honored to say that we have both kept our word. I dreamed it and IADT got me there!

My name is Mary Jones and I am a wonderful woman, a business owner, an advocate and a survivor of domestic violence.

Written by Mary Jones, February 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Bridgette Talley

Bridgette Talley
BAS Fashion Design and Merchandising, IADT-Nashville, 2010
Owner, Infinite Designs

Do you ever sit back and think about the times that you sat by your bedroom window and gazed out at the stars wondering what lies ahead for you in your journey through life? I do. I spent many nights pondering this question, always feeling like there was something different about myself, but I could never put a finger on it. I am still trying to figure that out.

I grew up sketching clothing with my Barbie stencils, sewing pillows and dolls with my mother, setting up my bedroom as if it were a showroom and giving my mom the grand tour as if it were up for a prize. I never had the newest or best thing like the popular kids always did, but that did not matter to me. I always liked a challenge and to be different, so I spent time coming up with different outfits from what I had and making it work for me.

When I was a senior in high school at the age of 18, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. To me this was the end of the world and took me out of everything I knew and strived for my whole life. I was determined to not let this hold me back. I am different and on this Earth for a reason. Letting my voice not be heard and my name not seen was not an option.

I enrolled at Wright State University in Ohio, where I am from, even though I was skeptical that I would be able to attend college at all for the fear of my disease taking over my life again. Needless to say, I was not finding that spark I was looking for in nursing courses or communications. I could not fathom the thought of spending hours in a blank white box. I knew there was more and I wanted more. There was a part of me that was missing, and I was on a mission to find out where that part of me was hiding. At this point, nothing was going to stop me.

I discovered IADT-Nashville through a friend who was an admission representative there. He knew I was not finding what I was looking for and invited my brother and me down to take a look at the school. As soon as I walked in and looked around, I knew this was the place for me. I did a lot of soul searching in the eight months before I moved here, and that is when I realized I had been doing these things all of my life but never thought of myself as a fashion designer.

I took a risk and left everything and everyone I knew except for a couple of my friends in Nashville. I worked hard through two and a half years of my life, working part time waiting tables and going to school full time, taking the maximum amount of classes each quarter and managing to make Dean’s List through most of them (though I think I pulled out most of my hair in the process). I never minded, though, because I was doing what I loved. It was never an easy task, to say the least, but it was something I wanted and pushed for every quarter. I graduated in March of 2010 with honors and a bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Merchandising.

I am now a freelance designer for two companies and work behind the scenes of bridal fashion shows here in Nashville. I have done modeling and was a seamstress for bridal designer Karen Hendrix of Karen Hendrix Couture. I love to get my hands into anything I can and accepting as many challenges as I can every day to make myself not only a better designer but a more well-rounded individual. I can honestly say I would not have come this far if it weren't for the amazing staff and people I consider my mentors and friends at IADT-Nashville. They helped push me to my limits and never give up. They believed in me every step of the way and never let me forget it.

My conclusion is this: Life is hard. It is difficult, and every day there is another wall to get over and more and more people that want to drag you down with them. Never let this happen. It helps a great deal to have a support system in your friends and family, and I would not have made it this far without them either, but if I let myself stop pushing forward, I would be nowhere.

Believe in yourself and your abilities - only you can ultimately keep yourself from achieving your dreams. Do not be afraid, and never lose sight of your goals. Absorb everything around you and never take anything for granted. Everyone has challenges and everyone has dreams; the thing that will set you apart from the rest is never giving up and showing yourself and the world that you deserve to be where you want to be.

As for me, I have a few things up my sleeve as far as a business plan for children's hospitals and a few clothing lines in the works - not to mention many more dreams I would like to achieve. This is not the last time you will see my name.

Written by Bridgette Talley, February 2011

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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Barbara Hollowell
AS Web Design, IADT-Online, 2010

"If you are going to choose a school to study at, choose IADT-Online. This is an awesome school to guide you in your artistic professional direction. My own course of study here was web design, and they provided me with everything I needed to grow in this electrifying area. I loved the online environment - I could go to chat twice a week and be guided thoroughly through the assignments. When I left the chat, I felt ready and excited to start my projects, which were due at the end of each week. If I did not understand what was taught during the chat, I was further encouraged to chat with teachers after class in a one-on-one session. Even though those sessions were never needed, I still felt better just knowing that extra counseling was available to me.

The assignments are both fun and educational. I entered the school with some art classes behind me but very little of the technology skills that were required for succeeding in web design. They took me at my level and challenged me amazingly, so I actually looked forward to going to class. Other students artistically had come into class at other levels; some knew very little about art. What was surprising here was that not only were the teachers there for them, but there was camaraderie among the students. The other students tended to take these struggling classmates under their wings. It was wonderful to watch these students grow at IADT and become more confident in their own skills.

This is what a school experience should be all about. We should be able to enter into it uncertain and not really knowing if we are capable of doing what is expected of us. While we are there we should be encouraged and taught and feel excited to attend the classroom, and in the end, we should leave IADT with the skills and confidence to take on the world, and that is exactly what I got from this truly exceptional school. A school is just a school unless it's IADT-Online."

Interview conducted in March 2010

This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields. Examples of such entry-level opportunities are listed in the IADT Career Guide.

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