Katie Smedley is from a small Dutch coastal town in western Michigan and was introduced to Southern Utah University through relatives who lived in Utah. It was a big decision to attend SUU, but with a scholarship and encouragement from her family, she decided to make the leap. When she arrived, Smedley was shy, out of her comfort zone, and unsure of what she wanted to pursue academically.
During her freshman year, she took career assessment tests and a variety of general education courses, all of which suggested she study anthropology. However, in her first semester, Smedley found a job on campus as a graphic designer for the Leavitt Center. Without any formal training and only a few projects from high school, Smedley was offered the job.
Now, Smedley has changed her major to graphic design, added a minor in history and is the sole graphic designer for the Leavitt Center.
“I discovered graphic design as a career path on accident,” said Smedley. “I realized that I loved design and art more than anything else I was doing. I would still be taking anthropology classes if it wasn’t for the Leavitt Center opportunity.”
Smedley has been able to take design concepts learned in the classroom and implement those ideas to her work at the Leavitt Center. Over the last two years Smedley has designed numerous posters, web graphics, event flyers and logos each one building her portfolio as a designer.
“Great professors at SUU have played a huge role in my love for the field of graphic design,” said Smedley. “Their advice and critique is something that I take to heart and try to apply to my work. Without their support and experiences on campus, I would not be on the path I am today.”
Eventually, Smedley would like to own a design studio and do freelance work on the side. She plans to pursue a master’s degree and maybe a doctorate. No matter her choice, Smedley knows to live life to the fullest and follow her passion.
“I was just diagnosed with a chronic illness and it is teaching me to enjoy and live in the moment,” said Smedley. “Life can throw some curveballs, but it is all about adapting. I am going to enjoy SUU one class and one project at a time.”
For more information, check out the Department of Art and Design.