by design

Meet Sarah Sterner-Hausknecht—MFA student

Hello my Name is… Sarah Sterner-Hausknecht!

Hello! My name is Sarah Sterner-Hausknecht. I know. It’s a crazy long name. My name, like my life, used to be simple…and then I got married. Let’s back up a little. I discovered not only a love for art, but also a sense of belonging, during an advanced art class in high school. As someone who thrives on and enjoys being busy, I was involved in a lot of activities and had many friends and close acquaintances within the groups of people I participated in those activities with. But I never quite felt right and was often plagued with a feeling of not “belonging”. That all changed as soon as I stepped foot in an art class. I immediately felt welcomed and that I was “home” and had found my place. Closer to graduation my art teacher urged me to pursue Graphic Design. I started out at a local community college and then transferred into the undergraduate KUCD Design program at Kutztown University. My experience in the undergraduate KUCD program solidified my love and passion for design. I enjoyed every moment of the “design-butt-kicking” and plentiful “creative-boot-camp” sessions. Upon graduation I freelanced at a couple of companies and then accepted a full-time position with an in-house design group. Fast-forward 10-years and this is where it starts to get crazy Got married and had my first daughter. I was un-prepared for the conflict of feelings I had of being torn between my love and passion for design and for my newborn baby girl. I drug myself back to work after 3 months of enjoying non-stop, blissful, snuggle moments. I felt as though my heart wasn’t with design anymore. After 6-months, I took a leap off the cliff of comfortability and quit my full-time job in order to spend more time with my family. Then I missed art. I decided to start my own freelance-design business which quickly became a happy balance that consisted of my love for design AND snuggles with my daughter. The move away from my full-time career also opened my schedule up to include teaching a communication design course at a community college. I discovered that I loved inspiring a passion for design into others as much (perhaps even more) as I enjoyed creating. A love for teaching became the initial catalyst in my decision to go back to school and apply to Kutztown University’s M.F.A. program in Communication Design.

Why I decided to go back to grad school…

Over time, my career journey has grown and taken various paths that has led me to KUCD’s MFA program. I decided that if I were to enter the full-time workforce again, I wanted it to be teaching full-time, which will require the next level degree. I also found my freelance career becoming stagnant, stale and uninspired. I am attending KUCD’s MFA program to build on my teaching capabilities, to re-fresh the perspective that I bring to my freelance business and also for myself. I am now a mother of two amazingly magical daughters. Outside of art & design, they are my entire world and I am their primary caregiver. I find that I give so much of myself as well. Attending the program is as much for me for self-care reasons as it is for growing my freelance business and teaching careers.

Tell us about/describe your KUCD MFA journey thus far…

I feel like the squeal of joy, that emitted from me on day I received my acceptance into the KUCD MFA program, could have been heard around the world. Excitement quickly turned to panic as I pondered what would be instore for me during that first Journey Week of the program. Journey Week was AMAZING! Emotionally it was a roller-coaster journey from anticipation to defeat; enthusiasm to self-doubt. Journey Week can be described as an intensive of collaboration between other students enrolled in the program and the professors. They are there for you every step of the way, supporting and inspiring your work. There are deadlines (homework) every day. But this is to ensure the proper amount of exploration and growth of your work while on-campus. That work will act as the springboard for your work starting week two. You can expect a tour of the Sharadin Art building and all their printing/fabrication capabilities. During journey week you can get to know your peers, collaborate, and experience a letterpress adventure where you take a hands-on approach learning the basics of how to set type and work a table-top letterpress.

What has been your favorite project to date? Please tell me why.

I am very excited about the projects I am currently working on. Shortly before starting journey week I became sick with Lyme Disease which inspired me to formulate a field guide approach to identify and understand common vector-born diseases regionally. I also plan to include an “on-the-go” kit that will have a quick reference card, materials to repel insects and treat bites, and tick extraction tools (featured for this region). Another project I’m working on is a “Try Kit” that parents can use to work with their children to get comfortable with and celebrate failures. Experiencing failure fosters growth for success and instilling that concept in our children can be beneficial to how they approach failure in the future. The kit will contain literature for parents and chart style positive reinforcement for each time your child continues to try a task, whether they have failed or not, by earning stickers and badges. There will also be trading cards to explore with your child that each feature well known people throughout history that experienced failure in order to achieve that great accomplishments your child may be learning about in school.

Fun fact about you.
In general, I consider myself not to be very interesting. I purposefully keep myself very busy, constantly on-the-go, and absolutely positively cannot live without CHOCOLATE! I practiced ballet for 26 years of my life and of the many activities I have tried and practiced throughout my life the ones I continue to enjoy doing are basket weaving and practicing calligraphy.

Meet Kim Rader—MFA student

Hello my Name is… Kim Rader!

Hello, my name is Kim Rader. I have a lot of labels for myself…I’m a graphic designer in Pittsburgh. I’m a grad student at Kutztown. I’m also a wife, a mother, a Girl Scout, an avid reader, an animal lover.

Why I decided to go back to grad school…

I decided to go back to school for my MFA because I want to push my design skills to the next level. Working in corporate design can sap my creativity, but the program at KUCD encourages me to explore unconventional ideas, try out new techniques, and get out of my own head and challenge my habits. The program at Kutztown made sense for me because I can continue to work full-time, but still pursue a degree that will both push me creatively and allow me to teach after I earn my degree.

Tell us about/describe your KUCD MFA journey thus far…

Journey Week is my favorite part of the program (so far). It’s amazing to me that I could work from 9am until midnight or later every day and still feel so energized. Being with such a talented group of designers and professors, collaborating, and pushing each other to be better…it’s invigorating. (Yeah, the Diet Coke helped too.) This is the kind of creative experience that was missing in my life and one of the reasons I went back to school. I’m so inspired by students in the cohort above me. Seeing their work, I know there is a lot of fun in store for me. I can’t wait to see where my KUCD journey takes me!

What has been your favorite project to date? Please tell me why.

Right now I’m working on a project about empowering girls to make a difference in the world-a subject near and dear to my heart as both a Girl Scout leader and a mom to two girls. I plan to focus on girls 18 and under who have made the world a better place through their actions. Working through the idea during Journey Week, the feedback I received from classmates and my professor really enabled me to hone and improve the idea.

Fun fact about you.

  • I’m an avid reader. I try to read 50+ books each year.
  • I of course love my family and friends, and all the cute fuzzy animals in the world, but my true loves are Diet Coke and my iPhone. You will almost always find me with both on my person.
  • I’m a crier. I cry at books, commercials, tv, and movies-but especially Disney movies. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through a Disney movie without sobbing hysterically. It’s so bad that my kids watch and wait for it to happen so they can mock me.

It just wouldn’t work, no matter what he did. Autumn 1994

The high tech laser printer wouldn’t put any image whatsoever on the left end of a #10 envelope, even though the second semester senior ran it through time and again.

Everything on the screen showed all systems normal…positioning was well within live area, the envelope was fed into the right tray properly and a new bottle of toner awaited whatever images would be demanded.

So, he came to me, first asking if I knew what was wrong (no, I didn’t even know laser printers could print on converted envelopes without jamming), and if I knew of any other place that could print his self-promo logo on the end of an envelope, one for this Wednesday’s class an about 49 others for use in resume mailings for a job search.

Several calls to trusted service bureaus produced nothing. Screen process printing was a considered option (he had Serigraphy this semester), but we both knew nine point type would plug the screen after just three or four prints. Photocopying on a piece similar colored paper to be pieced on seemed…well, pieced on.

And, he just wouldn’t go away. It was as if he sensed I had some solution I hadn’t yet given him. It was one of those times I just wished I could hear the successful bottom line to the problem in a few weeks when I’d be looking at a handsome comp and hearing how he had resolved it on his own and learned a tremendous amount in doing so.

Finally, a light came on in my brain when he said he needed that small production run in addition to the supercomp. Letterpress—the oldest form of printing, whereby a raised, backward-reading plate can print on a smooth surface—sounded like a solution. I sent him to an Allentown printer who still ran letterpress jobs on an ancient platen press. Custom photoengraving, a zinc plate mounted type-high on a block of pine, could lay its image on the envelopes, one for supercomp needed in class, and 49 others to invest in job-getting. And, letterpress would make a reasonably low unit cost for the very small printing run.

The moral of the story…? Sometimes you need to know when to pick up a pencil or an X-Acto knife instead of a mouse. And, as a late 20th Century visual problem solver, you sometimes need to step back 100 years instead of the usual and expected forward.

-John K. Landis

GEN SHE Conference

The first annual KUCD GEN SHE (Generation She) Conference was held on Saturday, June 29th in the Kutztown University Sharadin Arts building. This event was created to support and connect all female Kutztown University Communication Design alumni on their career journeys. A day of resources, workshops and inspiration was planned to help attendees discover and plan their next move. Whether these women had been out of school for one year or 40 they were able to learn something valuable to take home with them. Topics throughout the day included goal setting, creative re-inspiration, self-care, finances and negotiation and more.

Professor Ann Lemon and Professor Summer Doll-Myers welcomed attendees spoke about how this event came to be a reality. Keynote speaker and KUCD alumnae, Kelly Whalen kicked off the day reminding us we need to be authentic and left us all with a sense of self-worth and confidence. Next up was Dr. Brandi Baldwin who spoke about finances. Not only did she capture the attention of the crowd with her hysterical stories she reminded us of our worth­–good design doesn’t come cheap. Christopher O’Reilly lead the third session of the day walking us through what it means to truly be in the moment and to give mindfulness a try. Not all stress is bad but how we react to stress is something all creatives should be aware of. Breathe in…and breathe out. Falling a bit behind schedule, that is bound to happen with such awesome speakers, lunch was combined with the 3 breakout sessions. Some had their portfolios reviewed to receive tips from KUCD professors, others networked and gained tips on entrepreneurship, while another group learned about earning an MFA in order to someday teach. Ready to put the inspiration on paper, literally, Professor Dannell Macilwreath and Professor Vicki Meloney led the group in a creative session. Staying inspired is a big part of working in this field. Our last session was led by KUCD alumnae, Jess Pacheco. She took us all through various improv exercises followed by short improv skits. Watching these women get to know each other and come out of their comfort zones was priceless. Throughout the day the Miller Gallery was open which featured the “Best of” this year’s graduates in Communication Design, Fine Art, Crafts and Art Education. Jordan Schnur, recent KUCD graduate and photographer was available between sessions to take headshots. There were of course snack and coffee breaks along the way but right before we parted after closing remarks we were able to get attendees to fill out a quick survey so we know what they loved and what we could do better next time. After we all said our goodbyes on campus a small group continued the networking at Saucony Creek Brewery. Cheers to a successful first KUCD GEN SHE conference.

So many great events all in one place. Also, a great way to network with people you haven’t met.

Great speakers, well organized! Loved the time for self-reflection.

This was such a wonderful day. So informative yet fun and relaxing.

So much stuff in one day! Bravo! I will def. attend again in the future.

This was incredible and even better than expected. Such a great day of thought for women at all stages of life.

Thank you for keeping KUCD such a great community!

Thank you so much for taking time to put this together. I had an amazing time and felt like I grew as a creative woman.

Special thanks to

President Hawkinson, Dr. Zayitz, Dean Kiec

Kaleigh Moran (designed logo / event graphics & student helper)

Kathy Traylor

KUCD faculty (Karen Kresge, Kate Clair, Denise Bosler, Vicki Meloney, Dannell MacIlwraith)

Kutztown University Foundation

Justin Shenk at Business Link

Student Helpers, Keri Stefkovich, Rachel Conville, Julia Conville, Fiona Kane-Salafia

All our speakers and attendees!


LGBT Pride Ad Campaign

Katelyn Baumann is a KUCD graduate from 2018.

She started her career off by heading to New York City a month after graduation. Katelyn was hired as a Junior Art Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. Only a year after leaving KU she was part of the team to work on a campaign for the organization “Out Not Down”. Katelyn’s main contribution to this project was the direct mail piece shown below.

“Ants Don’t Wear Pants!” by Prof. Kevin McCloskey

“Ants Don’t Wear Pants!” is the newest book in Kevin McCloskey’s Giggle and Learn series. The series explores natural science for beginning readers in a comic-book format.

Beginning with “We Dig Worms!” in 2015, McCloskey has published a book a year for the past five years. He is both the author and illustrator for the critically acclaimed series published by TOON Books, N.Y. The books are designed by Françoise Mouly, the art editor of The New Yorker magazine.

“Ants Don’t Wear Pants!” has been awarded a Junior Library Guild medallion for excellence. It will be available at the KU bookstore and wherever books are sold on Sept. 10. 2019.

“Plenty of lively and intriguing information, with high visual appeal. An excellent choice for younger readers who like animal facts peppered with humor.” –School Library Journal.


Buy Now

Ivan Brunetti’s new book, Comics Easy as ABC

Kevin McCloskey, professor at KUCD, is one of a dozen contributors to Ivan Brunetti’s new book, Comics Easy as ABC. Other contributors include Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, and Kutztown U grad Renée French. The book is meant to teach children to create their own comics.

KUCD 2019 Honor Grads

The Honors Program at Kutztown University is dedicated to providing high-achieving students with opportunities to engage in scholarship, leadership, and service. We are so proud of our 4 KUCD seniors, who are graduating with honors. #kucd2019 Congratulations!

Theresa Quedenfeld

Theresa Quedenfeld completed her Honors Capstone Project on the topic of the Kutztown Arts Academy, a week-long immersion to explore art, music, film and design geared towards high school students. Her project consisted of creating a logo, website, and style guide. Theresa was able to present her project to design professionals at the AIGA Central Portfolio Review this past April.

Ben Ginder

Ben Ginder completed her Honors Capstone by creating kinetic type graphics of the lyrics to “Unlike Anything” to fit perfectly with the song, and then performed it in the little theater in Schaeffer. He played some other original songs that day, and played “Unlike Anything” twice. The event was well attended.

Melanie Edwards

Melanie completed her Honors Capstone by creating a seventy-six page brand guide explaining the multi-logo identity system that she created for Longwood Gardens. In the brand guide, she describes each logo and how it should be used, color palettes, photo treatments, patterns and much more! She presented her designs at the AIGA Central PA Portfolio Review.

Colton Rogers

Colton Rogers completed his Honors Capstone Project by researching the art of making a graphic novel, and producing an eighty-page example from the planning stage to execution. His year-long effort was illustrated digitally, before being printed professionally and sold on digital ebook services. Colton was able to showcase his work at the 2019 MOCCA fest illustration festival in New York City this past March.

Designathon in Jersey City

On Saturday, March 30th KUCD Alumni gathered in Jersey City, NJ for the 2019 Alumni Designathon, and 8 was the magic number.

In total our team of 18 alumni designers provided over $8000 of in-kind design work to our non-profit partners in 8 hours! The work is incredibly important to the organizations, without this help, these projects might never be realized or see the light of day.

And deeper into that, is the impact the work and the volunteered time has on the people these organizations serve.

  • Our efforts will help increase donors which will provide housing, education and child care to women and children in need.
  • Our efforts will help support clean, green, spaces for the children and residents of Jersey City to be able to play outdoors.
  • Our efforts bring awareness to the arts for adults and children to have a space or a group where they can go find joy and dance and paint and perform… surrounded by others that share their passion.
  • Our efforts will help support children who need clothes, school supplies, and every day things most of us take for granted.
  • Our efforts will bring funding and sponsorship to support educational programs for children and young adults to learn a trade, and maybe turn that into a career.

All of that in a span of 8 hours!

Some might think design is simply about making beautiful things, and sometimes it is! But I like to think that we help make life more enjoyable. It is easy to get sucked into the desire to win awards, work on cool projects for superstar clients, get published, and climb the ladder. But on this day, design did make a difference. A day when generosity of time and talent will directly impact others and will help make their lives better.

Participating Alum:

Crystal Folkes, 2016
Alli Landino, 2018
Brooke Snyder, 2017
Alyssa Kays, 2013
Pat Coyle, 2017
Alicia Wrye, 2017
Mary Kate Henry, 2016
Nicholas Stover, 2015
Rachel Zuppo, 2017
DJ Rossino, 2017
Elaine Knox, 2017
Becki Murray, 2018
Kaylyn Gustafson, 2018
Chelsea Gassert, 2015
Yuwen Sun, 2018
Jen Zweiger, 2014
Maria Johnson, 2016
Deanna Black, 2017


KUCD MFA SPOTLIGHT: Meet Bill Starkey, 2018 cohort

Why did you decide to go back to grad school for your MFA?
I wanted to explore different methods of storytelling, different processes of story creation, and a different perspectives on subjects and topics relevant to design and its expressions that over 20 years of working in the agency world doesn’t necessarily afford. The thought of having the freedom to research new things and explore and experiment without the fear of failure was also refreshing. This exploration and experimentation will in turn set me up for my ultimate goal – teaching at the university level.

Tell us about your KUCD MFA journey thus far.
My journey to date has me looking inward – trying to find things in me to add to my work; whether it be things about myself or unexplored interests leading to different ways of telling stories which I’m curious or passionate about.

What has been your favorite project to date.
It really changes daily. There are different parts of each exploratory that I enjoy, even some of the ideas that never came to fruition (I keep a running list of all of the ideas that didn’t quite make it to the proposal stage of any project). At this point, my favorite was a project where I took a traditional form folk art and reimagined the stories that the work could tell through the artwork. I used Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs) as a means to explore a little more about my heritage, modifying and inventing new symbols traditionally used on the eggs to highlight specific happenings, people and history of a country.

Each semester we meet for Journey week, the in-person first week of the semester before going online. Please describe Journey Week for someone interested in the KUCD MFA.
Imagine the most intense, soul-searching, eye-opening, mind-blowing-yet-sleep-deprived experience imaginable, where the only thing more powerful than the feeling of paralysis by uncertainty is the pull of curiosity. That’s pretty much Journey Week. And after the first one, it will be hard to wait for the next.

Fun fact about Bill
I’m about half way through my “see every continent” list.

I hear you have exciting news to share!

Yes! I had my project titled Roger accepted for presentation at the University College and Designers Association’s (UCDA) annual Design Educator’s Summit at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. The project was founded in the course Contemporary Topics and delved into the experiences, and neglect, of older users of tech. Here’s a small excerpt from the presentation: “Have we alienated, and are we continuing to alienate, older generations when it comes to the design of technology and interfaces? As designers and educators, we are responsible for bringing beneficial technology to the masses. We must ensure that the products we build are useful to everyone, including an aging population with an ever-broadening range of abilities, interests, and expectations; a fact that is sometimes forgotten by designers, including younger designers, tasked with creating for an older generation with an understanding of technology and skillset that differs vastly from their own.”

Thanks Bill!