Breanna Smith, a graphic design major, currently works in the Office of Communication Services at Eastern New Mexico University as a student graphic designer. She collaborates with ENMU's graphic design team to design posters, brochures, cards and more.
"It is an amazing experience working with the graphic designers in the office," she explained. "They are really great role models and designers that I strive to be like. I am constantly learning and practicing with this job, and it is really benefiting me.
"I have learned so much as a designer and even just as a person. I know it has gotten me ready to graduate this fall and actually work for a company. It has really helped me start a great portfolio."
At first, Breanna didn't expect to be an art major. Originally, she was pursuing social work until she had taken a design class with Heather Hancock, a lecturer of art, which ultimately changed her major and broadened her educational goals.
"I used to draw and doodle when I was younger, but I didn't know you could make it into a successful career," said Breanna, who is from Clovis, New Mexico. "Most people don't realize how many things they use on a daily basis have been designed by a graphic designer. I had never been exposed to the graphic design side of art before and it is so amazing," she explained.
The undergraduate student chose to minor in business. She anticipates having a better perspective on how the business world operates. "I think it will really benefit me to see the business side of the companies I could possibly work for," she said.
Breanna was named to the Dean's List for the 2016-2017 academic year and won the "Excellence in Graphic Design Award" from the College of Fine Arts in 2017. "It was really cool to see my hard work starting to pay off," she said.
Breanna's mother is a hair stylist, and her father is a pro fisherman who owns Smith RV and Marine in Clovis. Her brother is a lifeguard and a coach for the Clovis High School swim team.
Breanna said her family loves to support her by sharing her artwork with friends and the community that surrounds them.
"I know they will do whatever it takes to help me become a better designer," she added.
As graduation approaches in fall 2018 for Breanna, she is still undecided on where she would like to go and what specific career path she would like to take.
She mentions that she would like to keep an open mind on her journey as a graphic designer to grow and keep learning new techniques and styles within her field.
After graduation, "I would love to try different fields in graphic design and possibly some awesome internships before I start to settle down.
"I have always been drawn to movie posters and book covers. I love looking for new advertising styles and designs. It is really fun to experience creating different design styles," she added.
Breanna shares what she hopes to do with her degree:
"I really hope that someday I will be a role model for other designers to want to work harder and to keep practicing. Hopefully, my work ethic will show and it can be an inspiration for others.
"In my opinion, graphic design is a really competitive field. You have to constantly be practicing and learning. There will always be someone who is going to be better, which is good to always keep you on your toes and to strive to be the best.
"Sometimes it is not just about your knowledge, but about what you can put out that someone will react too. The world is constantly changing with opinions, and you have to adapt to these changes. You can never stop practicing or learn in graphic design; you have to be persistent."
The graphic design program is preparing her for the competitive professional field by providing professors that invest in their students. "Since the classes are so small, the amount of feedback I can get with my projects is very helpful," said Breanna.
She shared that one of her previous professors, Dr. David Deal, who now teaches at Purdue University, "was the first teacher that I saw as a role model."
Scott Golem, her current professor, "has really pushed me to work harder.
"Being a designer, you have to be able to handle people asking you why you designed what you did, and you also have to realize not everyone will like your work. Scott has been really good to help me adapt to this type of constructive criticism, and it makes me work harder and think deeper.
"It is really cool to be surrounded by the professors here at ENMU because they are all artists, and they all have different opinions. It is something you can feed off of to get new ideas and push yourself," she explained.
Her favorite courses at Eastern include "Typography" and "Graphic Design Projects." She loves to learn about branding and the different typefaces that make a design attractive.
She has "met some really good friends in the same field as me [at ENMU], and it is awesome to have people who push me and really care about my success."
Breanna's favorite part about being a Greyhound is the opportunity to meet new people who have same interests as her as well, as people that do not. "It is really diverse here, and I have met so many different types of people! Everyone has such a unique personality, and I love getting to see all of them."
She enjoys the small community at ENMU and hopes to be a role model for her fellow art students.
Breanna has the following thoughts and words of encouragement she would like to share to those interested in pursuing a degree in graphic design:
"Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. If you see something and you automatically think 'I wish I was that good' or 'I wish I could do that,' then that is exactly what you need to try and do. This could be advice for anyone that has a passion for anything.
"This past year I have gone out of my comfort zone as an artist and tried new things I didn't think I could design or draw, and I really surprised myself. Also, don't be afraid to make something totally different and weird, because that is what stands out the best to me. Sometimes, when things make me nervous or a little scared, that's when I know I should do them."