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Amazing Alumni

Vicki Grunewald

Assistant Designer, Swell Media Design
Owner, Vicki Grunewald LLC

Fall 2016

Favorite Project

My Career

Currently, I work part-time as a design assistant for a local boutique web and graphic design company, Swell Media Design. We work with local small to medium size businesses across a variety of industries. Every day is different. I might create an original email design one day and refresh a Wordpress website the next. I love that my work involves the wide range of design and communications skills I learned throughout my master’s program. Being a strong generalist means I’m often on call to tackle any challenge. When I’m not in the office, I’m working with my first freelance clients or volunteering my design skills in my community. As I continue to build my local network and my portfolio, I hope to take on more clients of my own.

Hobbies

Hiking, traveling, cooking, binge watching British detective dramas and exploring all of the excellent food, beer and wine the Seattle area has to offer.

Previous Amazing Alumni

I’m a web and graphic designer located in the greater Seattle area. I’m originally from Maryland and earned an undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Maryland. After college, my husband and I moved to Seattle and I took the opportunity to join the local tech industry as a recruiter. My desire to find a more challenging, creative career path motivated me to join UF’s WDOC master’s program full-time in January 2015. I graduated in April 2016 and now work part-time as a designer at the same company where I interned during my last semester. I also started my own freelance business and am currently working with my first clients as I continue to expand my technical knowledge and portfolio. When I’m not busy designing, I’m most likely enjoying new restaurants and wineries around the greater Seattle area.

Hometown:

Issaquah, WA

High School:

Damascus High School

Undergraduate:

University of Maryland, College Park

Graduated from Web Design Program:

Spring 2016

University highlights, achievements and awards:

For me, the highlight of the program was my professional internship because it allowed me to apply all of my newly developed web and graphic design skills in the real world. Before I started the WDOC program, I had no previous experience with web or graphic design. I joined the program in order to launch a completely new career. After only three full-time semesters (one year) in the program, I achieved my goal by successfully finding a hands-on internship opportunity in the industry that ultimately transitioned into a paid position I love today.

Current Employment:

Assistant Designer, Swell Media Design & Owner, Vicki Grunewald LLC

I chose to attend UF because…

I felt stagnant in my previous career and knew I’d be happier in a more creative field. Once I decided I wanted to pursue web design, I chose UF because of its solid reputation. I was unsure about attending an online program but the UF name made me feel confident that I’d receive a quality education. I also chose UF because the online web design program was much more interactive than just watching recorded videos. Live classes were the absolute best part of the program — I loved attending class and feeling a part of a shared learning experience, even from three thousand miles away from campus.

My favorite thing about UF was…

UF’s dedication to creating quality online learning programs – it’s really inspiring! As a former online education skeptic, UF completely changed my mind about the power of an online program. I never felt estranged from the Gator community. Program instructors and staff were obviously invested in my education and created a relevant, challenging curriculum built on real world skills and projects. Even though I never stepped foot on campus to attend class, I always felt I was a true Gator, especially when I walked across the stage at graduation.

I use my degree in my professional life by…

In the program, I gained a solid foundation of the skills needed to be a professional web and graphic designer. Having a fundamental understanding of good design, digital marketing practices and successful online communication makes me a strong design generalist. This means I’m always up to the challenge of learning something new — an extremely important quality in my work when debugging websites, brainstorming marketing strategy or working with new clients.

My favorite class was…

Advanced Web 1. It was the first class where I realized the “magic” of web design. I could take blank screens and turn them into fully functional and beautiful websites using only lines of code. Learning advanced HTML and CSS techniques took my basic web skills, and my confidence, to the next level and prepared me for the challenges of future technical courses in the program.

My favorite professor was…

Jess Pelasky for Web Principles and Advanced Web 1. With her encouragement and patience, I learned how to code websites and discovered I enjoy it!

If I could have dinner with anyone, I would choose…

My husband, Calvin. Having dinner together is the best part of our day. He’s a software engineer and I find we can have much more meaningful conversations about his work and mine now that I know some real “tech-speak.” He’s also a great sounding board for challenging technical issues I encounter in my own work.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

Fly, because who wouldn’t? But more seriously, start a food and wine website to highlight our favorite places in the greater Seattle area while encouraging us to get out and try new things.

If money was not an issue, I would love to…

Travel more! There are so many things to see and do (and eat). These days, traveling also means finding new inspiration in design, including interesting typography, colors and textures used by other countries and cultures. I’m always looking for new design ideas, in everything from dinner menus to poster ads.
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