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GCC Helps Design Successful Careers

Posted on Thursday October 24th 2013

While Caroline Collins, Megan Green, and Lynn Stowe Tomb don’t know each other, they have something in common. Each turned to GCC to further her career in graphic design.

Caroline, 38, received an Associate of Science degree with honors from GCC in 2008. In the metro DC area, she works as an Interaction Designer for Capital One Finance. Megan, 42, lives in Greenfield, studied Visual Arts at GCC from 1989-91 and received a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute. Following work as a graphic designer, Megan returned to GCC for a Web Design and Development Certificate in 2010-11. Megan now is a graphic designer with a GCC alum-owned marketing firm in Westfield. Lynn Stowe Tomb, 66, lives in Gill. After receiving a Bachelors degree from UMASS in 1969, Lynn was a writer and editor before studying at GCC in the mid-1980s. Lynn worked as head of graphic design for Victorian Homes magazine and then as art director at Merriam-Webster in Springfield from 1994 to 2012.

Caroline received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UMASS in Music Education, a field she chose at 18 when unsure about careers. Later, GCC helped Caroline find a career she loves. She interned at Gravity Switch in Northampton and worked as a webmaster for WFCR/New England Public Radio and at a marketing firm.

Caroline said, “I went to GCC to learn Photoshop and walked away as a working graphic designer and exhibiting photographer. GCC provided a standard of excellence and professionalism and a mentor. I work with designers who studied at big-name design schools. While I have an Associate degree from GCC, most of my coworkers have Master of Fine Arts degrees.”

Megan attended GCC after high school and later to enhance her professional portfolio. She grew up in Provincetown and GCC was highly recommended by graphic designers her parents knew in Boston. After Pratt, Megan’s design career led to a job at The Republican’s marketing department. When that department closed, Megan returned to GCC to study Web Development and Design. She joined the Alumni Association, and, through GCC connections, met GCC alumna Tina Stevens. Tina hired Megan for freelance work for her marketing firm, and, later, a full-time job.

Megan said, “GCC helped me learn both skills for my career and the power of networking. GCC was a valuable tool for me at very different stages of my life. I am so grateful that it was there and affordable. Having the common thread of going to GCC is still extremely strong after many years.”

Lynn had worked part-time for years and knew what she wanted to learn, but wasn’t sure she could turn it into a full-time career. At GCC in her early 40s, Lynn fell in love with photography and thrived in GCC’s supportive environment. GCC professors gave her confidence that she could change and learn something new.

Lynn said, “The field of graphic design was undergoing huge changes. I learned about computers a little before everyone else. Merriam-Webster didn’t have a design department, they outsourced their design work. I was the first in-house graphic designer at Merriam-Webster and set up a computerized design department.”

Now, as a freelancer, Lynn designs books and book covers, creates wedding materials, and restores vintage photos. She works with local authors, including helping the late Tom Merrigan with his memoir.

Commenting on the success of these three GCC alumni, Paul Lindale, Chair of GCC’s Art Department said, “The Visual Arts degree at GCC provides concentrations of study in Photography, Video, Computer Arts, and Painting & Drawing which enable students to transfer into the strongest BFA programs across the country and go on to become innovators in their field. These alumni provide three critical examples among many.”

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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