AIGA-UNO brings art professionals to campus with Starter Kit series

Photo by Sunkist Judson
The University of Nebraska at Omaha chapter of American Institute of Graphic Arts allows graphic design students to build stronger networks, sharpen their skills and meet with industry professionals.
Will Patterson

The American Institute of Graphic Arts chapter at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (AIGA-UNO) is providing design students opportunities to develop career skills and meet professional designers.

AIGA has over 70 chapters across the United States and over 25,000 members. The UNO chapter currently consists of senior graphic design student, but the organization is looking to expand its reach.

As part of helping AIGA-UNO members gain a better career understanding, the organization hosts a Starter Kit speakers series. These speakers are professionals in the industry that help students prepare for the future.

Senior graphic design student Jocelyn Aguirre Vasquez helps organize the AIGA-UNO website. This includes coordinating student blog posts, recapping Starter Kit speakers, and working with the organization’s social media team.

“We thought of it as a starter kit to life or a starter kit to your future as a designer,” Aguirre Vasquez said. “So, we’re providing a small tool or device to take into the future.”

According to Aguirre Vasquez, the goal behind the Starter Kit series is to give new graphic designers career advice to help kickstart their career. Not everything can be taught in the classroom, and these professionals are sharing unique advice that can only be found in the field.

Sunkist Judson is another senior graphic design student at UNO, and he serves as a photographer for AIGA-UNO. He originally attended UNO’s architecture program, but he didn’t transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when the program transferred there. Instead, Judson switched his major to graphic design.

“Graphic design is really working well for me,” Judson said. “Because in architecture we talk about design process, too.”

The upcoming Starter Kit speaker is Avery Mazor, who is set to speak on April 20. He is a former UNO professor who now resides in Chicago. While he is unable to appear at the university in person, Mazor will be speaking with students via Skype. The speaker will still be streamed on Facebook Live despite not physically being on campus.

Mazor boasts some significant career accomplishments—including being part of Facebook’s graphic design team. Now, he currently resides in Chicago where he will be speaking via Skype.

AIGA-UNO member Monique Ramirez said that (AVERY LAST NAME) will be speaking about how to cope with setbacks and difficulties designers face in their careers.

Anyone is allowed to attend the event. Ramirez stated that former graduates, community members, and non-design students are all encouraged to see the Starter Kit series.

Those who can’t physically make it to the event can still watch the Starter Kit speaker via Facebook Live. The video will remain on the group’s Facebook page for a while afterwards, so anyone can catch the event.

Facebook Live footage of the last Starter Kit speaker, Matt Carlson, is still available on AIGA-UNO’s Facebook page. Carlson is a UNO graduate who spoke about his journey toward becoming a full-time graphic designer and illustrator.

Judson said that students can expect to see fliers with additional information being posted across campus starting on April 15.

In addition to the Starter Kit series, AIGA-UNO is also offering mentorship to newer graphic designer students. This program gives senior students a chance to flex their knowledge, while also encouraging less-experienced designers to join AIGA-UNO.

“AIGA is not just an organization,” Monique said. “It’s a lot of career opportunities.”

For more information about AIGA-UNO, check out their Facebook page or website at Those who are interested in joining the organization are encouraged to contact professor Ashley McFeely.