Design degree opens doors to world

One of Erica Tate's designs for Alaska Juneau Mining Co.

From designing products for an Alaskan retail company to creating a brand for a new store and restaurant in the Bahamas, Erica Tate has used her degree in myriad ways.

Married to a Coast Guardsman, the College of the Mainland graduate has lived in three cities in six years, each time finding her versatile graphic design skills in demand.

In Juneau, Alaska, Tate managed three large retail stores called Alaska Juneau Mining Co. and designed, planned and developed new merchandising.

“We catered to the million-plus cruise ship passengers who visit the Inside Passage each season,” said Tate. “I really enjoyed the opportunity I had to travel overseas and around the United States when working with our many manufactures. I was able to visit production sites and see the products I designed being made.”

In Wilmington, North Carolina, Tate worked in real estate sales and rentals and used her skills in graphic design to build and maintain her company’s website.

“She has versatile skills in design,” said graphic arts instructor Coleena Jackson. “She’s been able to transfer her skills all over the world."

Now in Nassau, Bahamas, Tate is the general manager working for an organic farm and restaurant called Goodfellow Farms. She is helping brand a new retail store specializing in yacht provisions and develop products.

“My graphic and web design degree came has come in handy at every job I have had since graduating. In North Carolina I was able to use the knowledge I learned in my classes to build and maintain my company’s website. Working for the Mining Company I used my skills designing and developing new products. I worked with manufactures all over the world to find, develop and make new products,” said Tate.

“If it wasn’t for the help of [professors] Coleena Jackson and Freda O’Connor, I would not have been able to graduate in time for my husband and myself to move to our new home in North Carolina,” said Tate. “Coleena was my biggest cheerleader pushing me and my design aesthetic. She gave me the courage to enter several design competitions and to created logos for businesses in the area. It’s been six years since I left COM and Coleena has been in touch with me through it all.”

The COM Graphic/Web Design Program teaches students what the pros know about design, digital photo manipulation and computer illustration. Students will develop their portfolios through real-world projects including logos, business packages, brochures, newsletters and billboards and websites.

For more information on the COM Graphic/Web Design Program, visit www.com.edu/graphicarts or call 409-933-8535.

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