Emma’s MFA Journey

Emma Brooks
M.F.A. in Communication Design, 2016

Tell us about your journey in the Kutztown University Communication Design M.F.A. program.

I knew I wanted to teach at the college level. I then found myself researching grad school in the northeast since I am from Rochester, New York, and Pennsylvania is not that far away. KU is also close to major cities, which I liked. KU offered so many design classes I wanted to take and explore.

In the KUCD M.F.A.​ program I was able to perfect my personal style and, not only grow as an illustrator, but a designer as well. I found out my passions could be not only a career, but also a lifestyle. The courses helped me advance my creative thinking process with the research, planning and execution of my designs. The first real “ah ha” moment I had was when I made my first pattern. Everything clicked. Once I figured out how to make a pattern I knew I could easily create a collection and keep going to the next one. This resulted in my final graduate research project titled, Kindred Memories, an exploration of my family’s history through pattern design.

The M.F.A. program is truly a journey; it is what you make out of it. If I hadn’t pursued my M.F.A. I wouldn’t be where I am today—more confident in my design abilities and in as career as a pattern designer. Earning my M.F.A. really helped shape that.

What are your hopes for the future – with an M.F.A. in your hand?

As of right now, I feel I am on the right path as a pattern designer. I am currently working as in-house designer for a small gift company where I create patterns for surface and product use. I hope to continue my path as a surface pattern designer and license my work within the next year. I’ve also taught a few pattern design workshops. I still aspire to become a professor someday.

View more of Emma’s work at