InDesign-er In Action

A small college can mean big opportunities for intrepid students. Heather Butterfield '09 is the model of a Nazareth student: ambitious, hard-working, and making the most of her time at the College to prepare for the future. Through a gallery of her work, she details how coursework, professors, and student-work experience have prepared her to be a communications professional.

Nazareth College prides itself preparing students for personal and professional success. In fact, 93 percent of our students find jobs or enroll in graduate school within one year of graduation. Read on as Butterfield shares her personal journey from being a freshman with an undeclared major to a senior graduating this spring (with honors) and anticipating graduate school in Boston.

Graphic designer, journalist, professional crafter, vegetarian, marketer, leader, dancer, story writer: I never expected to be any of these things when I came to Nazareth. Student, obviously. Teacher, maybe. Editor, out of necessity. But life, as it does with most things, had its way with my education, and here I am. The biggest surprise of all, however, is that I am ready and excited to debut in the real-world – a far cry from the frightened and lost freshman I was four years ago.

I came to Nazareth with unlimited ideas for potential majors and careers, and the core courses gave me time to explore my likes (English literature) and dislikes (calculus). The communication and media major was born at the beginning of my sophomore year, and it was love at first sight. The program combines classical and modern rhetorical theory with contemporary information design and technologies. In other words, a chance to explore literature and language while developing practical writing skills: sign me up.

My major was the catalyst for the rest of my college experience. Rhetoric II, technical writing, and more than a year working at The Gleaner (the College's student newspaper) exposed me to graphic design programs (such as InDesign) that I never would have touched otherwise. All this led me to the art department's introductory graphic design courses and then to higher-level courses, such as advertising design. Luckily for me, many of the art department's courses are cross-listed with communication and rhetoric courses!

In one such course, our guest lecturer was the Nazareth College Marketing and Communications Department's assistant director for publications. Her work for the department intrigued me, and so I arranged a meeting with her. An internship turned into a student worker position, and I've now been working with the marketing team for a year.

The best part? It's more than fetching coffee and making copies. I've liaised with clients, printers, and vendors; assisted on photo shoots; written, edited, and proofread for Connections magazine (the flagship publication for alumni and friends of Nazareth); and designed posters, direct mail pieces, and reports for the College.

As the countdown to graduation continues, I wish I could say Senioritis plagued my remaining few weeks here. Instead, the workload is more than ever – my thesis needs editing and defending, the projects keep coming in the marketing department, and oh yea, life needs to be lived as well.

That said, in May this vegetarian writer-cum-graphic designer will be able to add another descriptor to her growing list: Nazareth alumna. But then again that's one thing I did expect to become when I started here four years ago.

Butterfield, at 20 years old, graduates this spring. She has been accepted into Emerson College's M.A. in publishing and writing program and begins there in the fall.

View the gallery to see some of Heather's work and read her thoughts on the graphic design process.