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Dec. 12, 2017
Mary Brummel arrived at Northwest Missouri State University with some uncertainty about where her interest in art could possibly lead her, but that doubt is gone as she graduates from the University this week.
“Northwest basically took me from a scared, anxious, clueless little art girl who wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do, and now I feel extremely confident with what I want to do,” Brummel said. “I know who I am. I know where I’ve come from, and that’s still very important to me, but I am not really scared anymore. I’m excited for the future and I have Northwest to thank for that.”
Brummel, an Omaha, Nebraska, native, has completed her bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in graphic design. She’ll start her professional career by returning to Omaha and joining Omaha Media Group, a digital marketing agency that hired her after she successfully completed an internship there.
She says Northwest set her up for success and prepared her through its coursework and project-based learning opportunities.
“What made me career-ready was the classes I took and the projects we had,” she said. “It was all very obviously geared toward, ‘You need to be ready when you leave here, and we don’t want you to leave here until you feel ready.’ That means having the proper professional skills and having your portfolio ready. That also means your attitude and how you carry yourself. It’s not just, ‘Do you look good on paper?’ You have to present yourself well, and Northwest as a whole has that rapport that everyone builds each other up to be the best you can be.”
Brummel selected Northwest as her college destination after one visit to campus. She was drawn to the University’s caring environment, the focus on helping students succeed, and, of course, the fall colors of the Missouri Arboretum.
Her notion of college being big and difficult to navigate was dashed once she began the pursuit of her degree. She took advantage of opportunities to build one-on-one connections with her academic advisor, Associate Professor of Art Christopher Graves. She found a sense of belonging at Northwest.
She built a portfolio with the projects she completed in typography and other coursework. She stayed patience and gained wisdom, and some career goals came into view.
“Going into my graphic design major, I wasn’t really sure what the most realistic end goal would be,” Brummel said. “I’d kind of thrown around some ideas like magazine design or web development, but after I took more classes and I had a more realistic approach to what I was good at. Over time, I ended up with an internship that was exactly what I needed and what I wanted.”
Brummel also gained mentors outside of her community in the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building through her work as a student employee. Northwest’s internationally benchmarked student employment program offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build additional professional skills while they’re on campus. Brummel worked in the Administration Building’s second floor west wing, which houses the offices of the University’s associate provosts and staff members Kim Hullinger, Kelli Livengood and Ronda Sigman.
“One thing that I wasn’t expecting to be as important to me was working on campus,” Brummel said. “Everyone there just empowered Northwest in what they stand for and being there for their students and making sure that our priorities were their priorities, and that also had a really big impact on my time at Northwest. It was like having four extra parents. They definitely kept track of me and they took very good care of me, so I’m very thankful for them.”
Brummel says Northwest helped her better herself and prepared her for more than a career in graphic design.
“It’s kind of woken me up to the fact that there’s more out there than just my little world,” she said. “That degree was more than just a piece of paper. It was all that went into it.
As she graduates, Brummel said, “There were definitely some times where I wasn’t sure I would get there but I’m very, very proud to be where I am right now.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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