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!