Student Spotlight: Jeffrey Ross
College of DuPage’s Photography program turned Jeffrey Ross’ passion into a career.
His photographic work with NASA’s Space Shuttle program, along with fellow alum and COD instructor Frank Jackowiak, allowed him to be part of American history.
A native of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Ross has experienced the shuttle program from its inception to its close, beginning as a child watching the inaugural launch of the Columbia in 1981 from the local beach, and leading all the way to the program's retirement. As a professional he has captured launches and landings of the Atlantis, Discover and Endeavor shuttles, as well as documenting the shuttle program to conclusion. In October 2012, Ross was on hand to photograph the Endeavor as it made its final journey through the streets of L.A. to its new home at the California Science Center.
After relocating to Illinois in 1996, Ross began taking photography classes at College of DuPage. He had previously enjoyed photography as a hobby, but credits the photography program at College of DuPage with motivating him to make his hobby a career. The comprehensive quality of the program was a major factor in his ensuing success.
“There were not only classes in the creative and technical aspects of photography, but just as important, there were valuable business classes that taught me how crucial it was to have a plan,” Ross said.
That plan has worked out well for Ross. Currently based in Naperville, he ran a successful photography business specializing in corporate and advertising photography in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. His clients have included Accenture, Bader-Rutter, Calamos Investments, DePaul University, Navistar and US Bank. He and his wife now run a photography and graphic design company, Ross Creative Works.
In 2012, he was awarded the Small Business of the Year Award in the professional category by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. He also shared his experience and expertise at College of DuPage during “Working Creatively,” a discussion of commerce and professional success in artistic fields. In 2016, he received the College of DuPage Distinguished Alumnus award from the Photography program.
He also is a board member for the Self Employment in the Arts.
“I probably wouldn’t have gotten into photography if it weren’t for COD,” Ross said. “The encouragement and advice I received from the instructors really inspired me to pursue this professionally.”
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