Barry BFA in Graphic Design graduate launches career as designer, lecturer

As an undergraduate student at Barry University, Nicole Guerrero enrolled in an introductory graphic design course offered by Barry’s Department of Fine Arts that was required as part of her communication major. What she didn’t know at the time was that this single course would serve at a catalyst for a successful career in graphic design. 

Thomas Rockwell, associate professor of graphic design at Barry, took quick notice of Guerrero’s talent and encouraged her to pursue it.

“Each day, Nicole arrived with a smile on her face, ready to learn and ready to work,” Rockwell said. “It was clear from the beginning that she had both the desire and the ‘creative juice’ to make her the fine designer she has become today.” 

Guerrero, who graduated from Barry in 2008 with a BFA in Graphic Design and a B.A. in Communication and Communication Studies, followed his advice and did just that. After taking on a second major in graphic design, Guerrero graduated from Barry with the confidence she needed to pursue a career in the field, she said.

“Having a graphic design background gave me that edge that I didn’t have before,” Guerrero said. “I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have become a graphic designer had I gone to another school, because I wouldn’t have stumbled upon graphic design and, ultimately, become a graphic designer.”

After graduating from Barry, Guerrero moved to St. Louis, Mo., to work as a designer for Skyline Exhibits, which produces exhibits for trade shows and events. A year into her new role with Skyline Exhibits, she decided to return to school and pursue yet another passion – teaching.

“I always knew I wanted to go into teaching,” Guerrero said. “I always looked at my professors, and I knew I did what I did because of them. That’s why I decided to go back and get my MFA … They make you feel like you can do anything when you leave their classes … I wanted to do that, too – empower students.”

With a goal of one day teaching graphic design at the university-level, Guerrero enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design’s MFA in Graphic Design program. Throughout the program, Guerrero kept in touch with Rockwell and relied on him for support.

“At times, I wanted to quit the MFA,” Guerrero said. “I thought, ‘I can’t do this whole master’s degree thing. I’m not good enough for this.’ He kind of pushed me along.”

Upon graduating from SCAD in 2012, Guerrero was hired as senior designer for Skyline South Florida. That August, she was also hired as an adjunct professor for the University of Miami’s School of Communication teaching graphic design courses for advertising majors.

When her dream of teaching became a reality, Rockwell was the first person with whom she shared the news with.

“I have had many students go on to wonderful and impressive careers, but this one really hit home,” Rockwell said. “I could not have been any more proud of her accomplishments. From the beginning of her design career, Nicole has always remained focused, dedicated and passionate about her future plans. It has been wonderful keeping up with her accomplishments and watching all of her aspirations come to fruition.”  

For more information about Barry’s BFA in Graphic Design program, visit http://www.barry.edu/fine-arts/art/about-the-program/graphic-design.html  

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