University of Evansville art alumni have the opportunity for a variety of occupations upon graduation. Some have become practicing studio artists; others have become art educators, art therapists, art historians, graphics designers, multimedia and web designers, magazine designers, book illustrators, syndicated cartoonists, and sports illustrators/cartoonists. Other graduates have entered the fields of gallery or museum work. Related areas such as advertising, marketing, public relations, and business have been other career choices.
Amanda L. Topper: Graphic Designer
Class of 2012
Amanda Topper graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in visual communication design with a minor in business. Amanda has a hearing loss disability, and art has been an additional form of communication for her. She has an immense passion for art and channels her creativity through many mediums and formats. Her work evolves everyday as she draw inspiration from numerous sources such as travel, nature, and life experiences.
Amanda, a third generation UE student, can still remember her first day on UE campus. She remembers wondering what would she learn and what legacy would she leave behind. As others in her family had done years before her, she was filled with excitement and an eagerness to learn. During her four years, Amanda came to understand some of the knowledge that would be essential for her career. As a result, she pursued a business minor. “I wanted to be able to understand the basics of business, and I knew the classes I took would give me the knowledge I needed. Each semester, I made sure I took at least one course that included hands-on learning.”
In addition to an ambitious course load, Amanda volunteered for a non-profit organization, the Girls in Bloom, and other organizations in Evansville, and worked for UE's Crescent Magazine on campus. She devoted much of her time to giving back to the community to repay those who helped her to reach her goals.
Now that she has graduated, Amanda can look back at her UE career with pride, knowing she left behind a legacy just as her family had done before her. Today, she looks forward to continuing her life’s journey as a graphic designer, embracing everyday moments as a way to grow and enhance her works, and continuing to pursue her dream career.
Michelle Reed: Art Therapist
Class of 2006
"I want students to realize that if they have a dream, they should go for it." Michelle Reed knows that the work she put into her education and career made it possible for her to land her dream job. "I recently accepted the position of art therapist at Riley Hospital for Children — their first art therapist position. This is the job I have been working toward since high school, and I know that if it weren't for UE's art therapy program, I wouldn't be where I am today."
To prepare herself for graduate school and her career, Michelle majored in art with an emphasis in painting and ceramics at the University of Evansville. Michelle believes her internships, courses, leadership position in Clay Club, and art professors were instrumental in preparing her for her career path. "My internships at the Evansville Psychiatric Children's Center with Valerie Milholland definitely helped shape my future. She was a great mentor and encouraged me to get involved with the American Art Therapy Association right away. My ceramics professor also supported my career path. He saw my strengths and encouraged me to use them in whatever I did. I feel that the professors in the art program listened to what I wanted and then supported me in accomplishing what I needed to do."
Shelby Stocks: Graphic Designer in Advertising
Class of 2007
Shelby Stocks credits her UE professors with inspiring her to pursue her career in graphic design. "My professors were talented and passionate about their work, and my graphic design and advertising professors had experience in the field. They spoke about their experiences and could give advice as to where we would fit in best based on our course work."
Shelby feels fortunate to have completed an internship at Camera Arts Photography Studio in Evansville as a photography assistant. "I was able to work alongside the photographer and even go on a shoot in Chicago. I learned so much, and the experience helped me obtain my current position as a graphic designer at Campbell-Ewald, an advertising agency in Detroit, Michigan. My photography skills have given me an advantage in the work place and will help with career advancement."
UE's art department provided Shelby with an exceptional learning environment. "I had so many opportunities presented to me, and even though it meant extra work and going above and beyond class requirements, I can't believe I didn't do more. Because of the experience, I have some great projects in my portfolio and many fantastic memories."
Jon Siau: Award-Winning Art Teacher
Class of 1971
Jon Siau's numerous accolades and awards include winning the Indiana Department of Education's American Star of Teaching Award in 2007 and being the only art teacher in the country to be chosen for the All-USA Teaching Team. He was also the first artist to be commissioned to create artwork for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and he has created works for such celebrities as Mickey Mantle, Bill Cosby, Steven Tyler, and Vince Gill.
Overall, Jon feels his time at UE gave him much more than a degree. "I was taught that art is a passion, not merely a profession. My teachers gave me the visual and verbal vocabulary that enriched not only my life and my art, but also my ability to be a better teacher. I continue to use the wealth of knowledge they imparted to me almost 40 years ago."