Student Spotlight: Natalie McQueen
Major: Graphic Design
Natalie McQueen grew up in Wyoming, where she developed an interest in painting and drawing.
"Around age 12, I started playing with Microsoft Paint on my computer, digitally redrawing album covers and creating my own digital illustrations," she said. "As I got older and more interested in computers and better programs, I thought it would be cool to combine my fine art with technology and pursue graphic art.
"In Wyoming, graphic design isn't really a 'booming industry.' I moved to Illinois at 19 and knew that I would have better educational opportunities in the graphic design field."
McQueen's boyfriend at the time was attending COD, so she also began to enroll in classes. While she was a part-time student while being employed full-time, she finally earned her Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design in 2011.
"I really lucked out, because I now know how exceptional of a school COD is," she said. "I felt completely clueless when I started college. I had no one to help me figure out classes, how to pay for school, etc., but I received a lot of guidance and advice from counselors, teachers and all the main offices.
"I adored my teachers in the Graphic Design department. I hope other departments at COD have teachers like Graphic Design, but they seriously are the greatest. They all have a great amount of knowledge in the field, and I can ask any of them for help and advice and they gladly share it. They are fun, enthusiastic and passionate about what they teach you. They can be brutally honest at times about your work, but I have found this to be extremely helpful in making my work perfect and truly preparing me for a job in the field. They have been nothing but encouraging, motivating and sincere about my education."
McQueen is attending the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, from which she received a merit-based scholarship, a talent-based scholarship and a RMCAD grant award for up to 10 terms. It was based upon her portfolio, which featured all of the work she created at COD, transcripts and two letters of recommendation from COD instructors.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design in 2013 and now works at Markit on Demand in Boulder, Colo., which offered her a job after she participated in an internship there.
"They are the design and development portion of Markit, a global financial information company that's headquartered in London and has several locations/clients around the world," she said. "I will be focusing on areas such as data visualization and UX design. It's really cool and I feel very lucky to have found a great place to start my career.
"I am excited about this chapter of my life, but I sincerely miss COD, its faculty and the great friends I made there," she said. "I wouldn't change a thing about my experience there. I feel lucky to have had my teachers and been a part of such an excellent program, and my experience at COD will be hard to beat.
"Any time I have encountered someone interested in design, I highly recommend the Graphic Design program at COD. As a transfer student at RMCAD, amongst many others, I was often told that I had come into their Graphic Design program very well-prepared and insightful. I owe that to the design instructors and program at COD."
2014 College of DuPage