Graphic Design Alumni Network

Wiliam Lebeda

William Lebeda - Graduated 1990

I got an early acceptance letter my junior year, and then met Steven Mayes over the summer before my Senior year, and that was it. I was hooked… I was dying to go to art school.

Any favorite memories?
Singlehandedly wearing a path from Guenther Hall to Mary Moody. Working in the middle of the night in the Layout. Showing my big superhero paintings in the gallery. And talking with Bob Caruthers.

3 Pro Tips from William:

1) Use a pencil and paper before you turn on the computer.

2) Celebrate the wins because its easy to forget them.

3) Work with people that are better/more skilled/smarter than you are and learn from them… I’m still learning everyday!

William's Socials:


Jessica Freeman

Jessica Freeman - Graduated 2012

I chose WTAMU because I loved the smaller community!

Any favorite memories?
Homecoming was always a great time on campus, and getting to study abroad was a great experience, too!

3 Pro Tips from Jessica:

1) Work on more types of projects that you love outside of class.

2) Get as much experience as you can through freelance work or internships.

3) Keep an open mind about where your degree will take you!

Jessica's Socials:


Miguel Gutierrez Shirt

Miguel Gutierrez - Graduated 2021

I chose WT kind of as a mistake: I first intended to apply and attend Texas A&M (was my favorite school for the longest) but with my grades not being at all the best in both SAT & ACT my application was denied. However, I was given the chance to attend a sister school (in the A&M system to take summer and first Fall 2017 semester special classes to "improve" or prove my chances of belonging at A&M, but once in WT I made a sudden change of mind and actually felt in love with the campus, and also discovered that Engineering was really boring (haha) so switched up to graphic design! (I loved to draw, create and imagine) which was enough for me at the time to make that decision.

Any favorite memories?
I have a lot but without a doubt I can give you my top three:

Mondays were made better thanks to class (college was and will probably be the only place where I enjoyed sitting in a room for more than 3 hours, well besides the 8 hours at my day job.) But the real threat came every other week- when we had critique, I took those moments to look at my peers' work as an opportunity to see how everyone else sees the world differently than I do! A chance to overcome myself with everyones opinion but not because they thought it was not good, instead because they thought I could do better! And so did I!

My involvement with student organizations (special shoutout to Rogers Lead WT | Hispanic Student Association) this is how I got involved, this is where I met a lot of my friends and close relationships, that today a year after, are still really strong. All the events and small big moments in both of them, they all are cherished and would relive them in a heartbeat.

Late nights | sleepless nights | being late, informal in class- I do not mean this in the mean way, however I am excited that things took action how they did in college. All the procrastination and small details that made me fail at the time, everything was for a reason, because today at my day-job “real world” I have been able to take those actions/details from back then to improve myself and become more professional and mature, for my job and future projects, etc.

3 Pro Tips from Miguel:

1) As hard as it is for me to still believe- graphic design is not all about computer work | You need to get your hands dirty every once in a while- that’s why: appreciate classes like Printmake / Ceramics / Painting- you can never get enough of the different resources to later have different approaches and possibilities when creating, which takes me to my next point, do not be afraid to be messy (yes, dirty and messy is different) what I mean is: don’t hesitate to always wear your sketch like it was underwear. Whenever you have ideas out of nowhere, “boom,” sketch them out, and always present your final product along with those ideas- to show your process, that way your client/audience will truly know how you are unique.

2) This one came from this amazing artist/podcaster  coachscottyrussell and his podcast “Side Hustler’s Perspective Podcast on Spotify” everything you make is gold: why? Because it takes you a step closer to where you wanna be, the ultimate form of yourself | In other words: every design is instagram material, don't be afraid to showcase failure- because failure also took time, guts, and an idea that was gold but did not meet demand.

3) Finally, you got this keep going!

Miguel's Socials:


Jarrett Johnston

Jarrett Johnston - Graduated 2012

I chose WT because it was in my hometown and many of my friends were attending there.

Any favorite memories?
My time at WT was formative to who I am and everything I am doing today. The graphic design program allowed each student to find their path and achieve as much as they wanted. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on campus as a designer while in school, and participate in a local internship at a highly respected agency in Amarillo during the summer — both contributing to my education and "real world" experience. I was also heavily involved at the Wesley Foundation where I gained many leadership techniques and guidance for my overall purpose in life. I don't know if I could have taken advantage of so many opportunities had I been at a larger university. The smaller University, on-campus job, and design program were invaluable to me.

3 Pro Tips from Jarrett:

1) Find Allies: Your "career" starts the first day of class. Build relationships with classmates and professors. Get on-campus jobs. Apply for internships. Participate in awards shows. Say "yes" a lot in your time at college. It's a safe environment to try things and fail. It will only help you build your confidence, resume, and portfolio.

2) Learn the business side of art: Too many designers get taken advantage of because "they are doing what they love." We have a valuable gift that very few can do well so don't be afraid to talk about money and get paid what you are worth — especially once you have a few years under your belt.

3) The Scariest Decisions are Often the Best: In my experience, the opportunities that feel the most daunting end up being the best decisions. I was scared to move to the big city of Dallas. I was scared to become a full-time freelancer. I was scared to launch a branding studio. But all of those where the most fruitful decisions I've ever made.

Jerrett's Socials:

Jarett Johnston.coStudio Numa

Elba Duron Artwork

Elba Duron - Graduated 2020

I decided to attend WTAMU because it was close to my family, but I could also get to experience the “university life”.

Any favorite memories?
My favorite memories are mostly with the friends I made at WT. I enjoyed the late nights working on projects with my art friends, that’s where we bonded the most. We listened to music, had the best conversations, laughed the hardest, helped each other and even had mental breakdowns together. At the time it was stressful, but looking back I would love to go back and do it all over again.

3 Pro Tips from Elba:

1) Learn as much as you can from your classmates by asking for feedback and observing their work process. You’re on the same team with your classmates so support and encourage each other, even after you graduate.

2) Experiment with your work, step out of your comfort zone and try things you normally wouldn’t whether it’s a different font style or medium.

3) Look at professional designer’s portfolios to get an idea of what you should have in yours and always work towards building your portfolio. (Bonus tip: become familiar with the printing process because that’s something I struggled with. Learn how to set up files to print, how to print proofs, where to print, and which paper you need for different projects.)

Elba's Socials:


Jarrod Elrod Portrait

Jarred Elrod - Graduated 2007

I initially chose WTAMU because I liked the size of the university, the accessibility in terms of admission, and the location. It was close to my hometown of Borger, Texas and offered a bachelor’s degree in my area of interest (Graphic Design).

Any favorite memories?
Gosh, there are so many! I had a wonderful experience at WT academically, professionally, and personally. I loved how hands-on our design program was and really appreciated the internship opportunities that arose while I was there. I also took advantage of opportunities to take courses in other areas such as printmaking + digital imaging. Having a well-rounded set of making skills set me up for success in future endeavors within both academic and professional domains.

3 Pro Tips from Jarred:

1) View design as an opportunity to diversify experience and create positive relationships with people. It’s less about sitting at the studio desk and more about getting yourself out there. The more you learn about yourself the easier it will be to find a gig and people / clients that are a good fit to work with sustainably.

2) Use your brain and your hands. Cross-train all of your skills as much as possible. If you’re not asking yourself “I wonder what will happen if…” at least once or twice a week it’s time to try something new that makes you a little creatively (and even sometimes personally) uncomfortable. Take analog digital, take digital analog, write your deepest fears in a journal or sketchbook—pick up a utensil you’ve never used before and build something. Put it all in a package and see what comes out!

3) Forget that line about work/life balance. Life is life, work is just a part of that life. If you aren’t consistently investing in important personal relationships and your mental and physical health you might be setting yourself up for a nasty case of professional burn-out. If you’re hooked on design you know it—it can easily become a maniacal pursuit. That said, you are not your work—learning enough about yourself to know when it’s time to step away from the desk or the studio for a break can be a deeply creative act.

Jarred's Socials: