FIRST ART INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA-INLAND EMPIRE GRADUATE
Grand Terrace resident Alyssa Mees, the first graduate of Art Institute of California-Inland Empire, with a painting in progress. Photo by Robert Swapp.
Mees, 19, finished her classes for an associate degree in Graphic Design at the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire on Friday March, 14. She will be honored as its first graduate at 5 p.m. Friday, March 28 at the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire.
“She is an exceptional student,” said Byron Chung, President of the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. “We are excited to have her as our first graduate, but she is just a sample of the creative talent we have on our campus.”
When Alyssa attended Rialto High School, she thought about attending the Art Institute of California. But for most of that time, going to the top college for creative artists didn’t look feasible to her.
“Before the Inland Empire Art Institute was here, I would have had to choose between Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego,” she said. “That’s just too far to drive.”
But, midway through her senior year, a new Art Institute of California campus opened, conveniently located in San Bernardino. What’s more, it had an art portfolio contest to give away $20,000 scholarships. Mees won.
“That’s what did it for me,” she said. “The scholarship made it possible.”
Mees quickly selected graphic design as her major, and enrolled in July 2006. She also decided to take advantage of the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire’s year-round schedule, which has allowed her to finish her degree in less than two years.
“I knew I wanted to do something with art,” she said. “Graphic design seemed the most feasible way to make a living with my art.”
Mees is already an accomplished painter, specializing in surreal portraits that she will be glad to sell to interested buyers. She is also learning first-hand about working in the graphic design industry, through an internship with the Inland Empire Ad Club.
Now that she has a college degree, she’s ready to do even greater things. With help from Scott Saunders, the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire’s Director of Career Services, Mees is looking for a full-time job, perhaps with an advertising agency. In the meantime, she is available for hire as a freelance graphic artist.
“We have watched her develop over the past few years,” Chung said. “We think she will have a great and exciting career in the industry.”
The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Culinary Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design and Media Arts & Animation and Fashion and Retail Marketing. There are also Associate of Science degrees in Graphic Design and Culinary Arts. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.
It’s not too late to start classes. Courses begin March 31, with offerings in the days, evenings and on weekends for new and reentry students. For details or a tour of the campus call (909) 915-2100, or go on line to artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire.
The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (artinstitutes.edu) with 38 educational institutions throughout North America providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.
Photos attached: Please credit Robert Swapp of the Art Institute of California-Inland Empire.
Art Institute of California – Inland Empire President Byron Chung congratulates Grand Terrace resident Alyssa Mees, who recently completed her courses for an Associate degree in Graphic Design, and will be honored March 28 as the Institute’s first graduate. Photo by Robert Swapp.
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