SPOTlight 2013 – Kathie Soza
Kathie Soza – 2012-2013 SPOT Mentor Program Participant and AIGA/Orlando Student Social Media Liaison

Video of Kathie’s work at SPOT

“Hi! I’m Kathie and I’m currently a graphic design student at the University of Central Florida. I, along with my cat, Bella, moved to Orlando from Miami two years ago and although it’s been a longer journey than I planned, I’ll soon begin my last year at UCF.  About a month before the mentorship program began, it hit me that I probably shouldn’t wait until graduation to begin worrying about my future in graphic design and since I was unemployed at the time I decided to really begin developing myself as a graphic designer. I went to my professor, Matt Dombrowski, for advice and he recommended I participate in AIGA Orlando’s mentorship program. I honestly had no idea what to expect, so I thought “why not?” and applied to participate.

At the beginning of the program, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself once I graduated. I knew I liked typography and I was really inspired by the work of local creative, Anna Bond.  The mentorship program allowed me to see different aspects of design, from stationary design to screen printing to digital. It helped me figure out what I did and didn’t want to do in my career. My favorite aspect of the program was the ability to attend all the AIGA events for free, which helped me see that Orlando is filled with creative people and opportunities. It helped me become more aware of local events and lectures, all of which inspired me to push myself to my full potential.

Little did I know how much I would grow throughout my time in the program. I was paired with my mentor, Shirley Ramirez, who was encouraging, helpful, warm, and most importantly, patient. I definitely struggled at the beginning of the program; I had only a semester of graphic design experience in school and the thought of creating a self-promotion project was overwhelming. I felt like I kept waiting for someone to hold my hand throughout the process and tell me what I needed to do, as they do in school, but it quickly became clear that I was on my own to figure out what I wanted to do for the showcase (with the help of my mentor of course).

I chose to do a send ahead that I could send to potential employers once I graduated that reflected my strengths, design style, and personality, which forced me to constantly ask myself, “Who Am I?”. I’m really into all things vintage (particularly the 40’s) whether it be design, movies, or fashion and I wanted to include that into my piece, as well a touch of femininity because I think it describes me. In the end, I decided to do a “time capsule” as my send ahead, filled with the essentials (resume, business cards, and sample portfolio pieces) all combined with some old fashioned pieces, like an old ticket stub or a telegram, all related to why I would be an asset to XYZ company. I also grew a huge love (or obsession as some may consider it) for hand lettering and calligraphy and I knew I wanted to incorporate into my piece, so I set up the pieces in the time capsule to come together when flipped over as a typographic poster with my favorite quote.

Throughout the program, I faced quite a few difficulties, from having to balance the mentorship with full time classes and two jobs, to trying to figure out what paper to use, to financial constraints, YOU NAME IT. But I would not trade my experience in the mentorship program for anything in the world. I met so many people throughout the time in the program and with the help of Shirley and AIGA Orlando, I was able to grow so much as a designer and participate in something very exciting. The mentorship program was enjoyable while being very educating. I would recommend the program to anyone looking to develop their skills and put themselves out there and I hope the program continues to inspire young designers to reach their full potential, as it did with me.”

Find Kathie online here: and here:

By aigaorlando
Published July 25, 2013