Emma Foley

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2015
Hometown:
Howell, Michigan

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Although it’s been less than a year since I graduated, I’ve stayed pretty busy. I finished up an internship at the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA Gallery) in Old Town, where I did graphic design, community outreach, and programming development. In the process of finishing my work at MICA, I was asked to co-curate an exhibit at the gallery with the Program Director that centered on food and urban farming in Lansing.

Following MICA, I began working at the MSU College of Law as a graphic design intern and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing as the graphic designer, and I currently hold both of these positions. I’m also in the process of scoping out potential graduate programs connected to social design.

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
RCAH equipped me with a skillset to do meaningful work. My craft is design but my passion is in utilizing it for individual, social, and systemic change. This is not something I came into RCAH wanting to do; rather, it was RCAH that brought me to this point. I entered RCAH as a creatively-minded individual who cared about social issues, but it was RCAH that taught me how to apply my craft and use my privilege in an effective manner. RCAH taught me how to understand that my position in society is a critical component to the work I do. It made me realize that my creative practice can be a powerful context to create change and this is something I was able to bring to my studio art courses. So now, as a graphic designer, my RCAH knowledge is a thread that runs through everything I do and it is crucial in how I approach each new project.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
My academic interests evolved throughout my time in RCAH and I often found that some of the most interesting classes I took were those that stepped out of my preferred areas of study. I was typically drawn to visual art courses and identity studies, but in RCAH, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a class that you’re able to tailor to your interests, even if the course itself is not obviously connected to those topics.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
RCAH is an incredibly collaborative learning environment and that does not end when you leave the classroom. It is a community of passionate individuals with wide-ranging interests; RCAH has the feel of a creative incubator that is constantly testing new ideas and practices. You can make a home in any little part of RCAH and it remains that way, long after you’ve moved out of the dorms.

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
I traveled to London on a Women’s Studies program after my sophomore year and it was an incredible experience. The program itself, while interesting, was not incredibly challenging or life changing. But the relationships I developed and the time I spent in the beautiful city of London were unforgettable. I highly suggest a study abroad program, if that is something you have the means to do. MSU has countless options so I just suggest you take the time to carefully go through all of them and be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Challenge what you think you know. Welcome criticism. Everyone has something to teach. Recognize your privilege within the learning space. Listen. Don’t be afraid to disrupt something that seems established. Take care of others. Take care of yourself.