Samantha Novak

Student Info

Graduation Year:
May 2012
Lansing, Michigan

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Following graduation, I did a summer internship at one of my favorite Lansing design firms, CiesaDesign. After that, I decided to try something a little different, and ventured off to Duffey Petrosky, a larger advertising agency in Farmington Hills, to work as a freelance designer. I worked on a number of projects over those months, ranging from web design for a Pure Michigan business site to an MSU Museum exhibit to collateral for Greektown Casino. Just recently, I have taken a job at TechSmith, a software/tech company in Okemos. I was thrilled to be moving back to my hometown, and to be able to expand my knowledge of working as an in-house graphic and web designer. 

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
This is one of those tough questions where you're not quite sure where to begin. Unlike a lot of designers just starting out, I had the privilege of obtaining a much broader degree that prepared me in so many different and unique ways. It gave me strong writing abilities, and good critical thinking skills. It allowed me to pursue a number of different creative outlets through the creative workshops. I was able to test my design in the real world, designing books for a kindergarten class for civic engagement and doing an entire case study for my Independent Study class. I was even able to design things for the RCAH in general, whether it was a flyer for student council or the layout design for RCAH's brand new literary magazine, RCAHive, which helped me get to know many students and faculty better. When it comes down to it, the RCAH really allowed me to focus on both the artistic and aesthetic side of designing, and the functionality and business approach. When design uses both elements in a perfect balance, the outcome can be remarkable.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I definitely took my elective pathway and ran with it. I loved all of the classes pertaining to Technology and Creativity, which inspired me to also get a specialization in Design. I also enjoyed my classes relating to music, as that is another huge passion of mine.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The students. The RCAH's where I met the greatest friends I've ever known, and also the faculty/staff. The relationships the students have with the staff is unlike anything I've ever experienced. I really created bonds with many of them before graduation, and have stayed in touch since then. The overall curriculum is fantastic, and the range of material and class layout is great. I also loved working in the Language and Media Center, which allowed me to help other students and also expand my own design knowledge. 

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Don't underestimate an RCAH degree. Use it as a tool to pursue whatever your passions are, whether it's teaching, designing, working for a non-profit, writing, or whatever you can think of. Because the degree covers so much, it really prepares you to work in a variety of careers and fields. Utilize all of the resources around you, don't be afraid to reach out. Once you pick a pathway you really enjoy, dive in head first. Let the pathway guide you to what you hope to do after graduation, as it allows you to really specialize in a certain area of study.