Ferris State University’s Graphic Design program is known for producing top-flight graduates ready to hit the ground running in industry.
William Culpepper, an assistant professor in Ferris’ program, believes that one of the next great graphic designers could be one of his prized pupils: Anne Sutton. A student in two of his classes during the Spring 2011 semester, Culpepper has had the opportunity to experience Sutton’s work firsthand and has been highly impressed with her current quality and long-range potential in the industry.
Sutton, who sparked local, regional and statewide headlines through her participation in the ArtPrize competition in her hometown of Grand Rapids, is headed to New York this summer for an internship with Corning Inc., a world leader in specialty glass and ceramics.
“My goal for this internship is to build my portfolio and learn about the inner workings of an in-house design facility,” said Sutton, who was in the news last October for her ArtPrize exhibit, a cut-paper design piece titled “Central Park,” which was put on display at San Chez Bistro and Café in Grand Rapids. “I also want to bring fresh ideas and new concepts, network and create new relationships with design professionals.”
Culpepper is confident that Sutton has the drive to make a strong impression during her internship in New York. That confidence is based on the rigorous standards of Ferris’ Graphic Design program.
“The Graphic Design program at Ferris is a highly-intensive degree,” he said of the program hosted in the university’s College of Business. “It requires significant time outside of the classroom, and Anne has always excelled in all my classes.”
Adding to the extraordinary nature of Sutton’s success, according to Culpepper, is the fact that she is a student-athlete. The 6-foot-2 Sutton is a middle hitter who wrapped up her sophomore season on Ferris’ volleyball team last fall as she started in all 27 matches she played in and totaled 162 kills (fourth on the team) and 60 total blocks (second on the team).
“In my five years of teaching Graphic Design at the university level, I have only taught three student-athletes,” Culpepper said. “It is extremely uncommon that a Graphic Design student will have any extra time beyond their classroom responsibilities.
“Anne has been an inspiration to her fellow classmates; they often look towards her to learn from her structured, planned and thoughtful execution of design decisions,” he added. “She is also very generous in her limited time. In that time she works with others and can often be found talking with her classmates about their work and suggestions for improvements or other considerations.”
The work ethic that leads to her structured, planned and thoughtful design execution was put to the test as she competed for the opportunity with Corning.
“The interview lasted an hour and a half over the phone. I spoke with the manager of corporate communications, the internet marketing specialist and the supervisor of corporate design,” Sutton said. “Each interviewer asked that I review my online portfolio with them, justifying each of my design decisions.”
Her preparation in Ferris’ Graphic Design program positioned her to be successful in the interview process and, Sutton hopes, will help her when she takes her talents to New York.