During my studies both with professional and with educational, I have found that learning by hands on is a way for me to retain much of the studies taught. Learning from others is an important part of understanding and retaining your studies. Coming from a background of culinary arts, restaurant management and graphic design, I always had a mentor that would give me advice and make me think about the decisions that I made. Even if they felt I made the wrong choice, they would support me and then talk about why I made that decision verse others. During this process, I learned that a mentor is there to guide you along a path but ultimately makes you question yourself so you make the best decisions. This process has helped me with my teaching and mentoring of student interns.
As a mentor to my interns, I find that instead of giving them my opinion, I ask questions that make them think about the project. Even though I have set the guidelines or scaffolding for them, it is important for them to explore and make decisions based on our brand. With gaining my BA from Quinnipiac University and MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, I have a better understanding the design process. Researching, reflective writings and showing and articulate different approaches to the same design problem encourages group critiques and revisions that result in informed and quality work. The design process has enhanced my understanding of the project by being able to look outside of the norm and discover varies ways that has not been explored yet. The complexity of the relationship between mentor and mentee is forming learning and development and the dynamics of the transitions from shared forms of mental processes to their individual forms. As a mentor, learning can be done in a variety of ways, from organizing the environment to support learning, to giving hints and prompts, to modeling what to do, to explicit instruction. Depending on what is needed to be learned and where the mentee is in the learning cycle. I evaluate and then tailor instruction to fit these needs. Increasing the challenge for each student and to scaffold appropriately, providing support and withdrawing support depending on how quickly, a student is learning.
With working in the professional catalog world, I know it is important to show interns the importance of creating, monitoring and keeping files up to date to standards set by us but also the print company. Along with proper file maintenance, deadlines, color work and real life situations come up in the workplace on a daily basis. This interaction with interns gives them a real life situation while still having the safety net of my experience. It is my job to challenge them by giving tasks and expecting the high results. I also try to instill confidence and a passion for the design through detailed feedback and opportunity to revisit the design within the allowed time of deadlines. Having the industry experience, I find I can give the students a better understanding of design in the classroom. Being consistently current with software and the field as a whole is essential for exhibiting real passion for the topics at hand, and preparing the students for their real world challenges. Working in the field, I can bring my honest and realistic approach to the struggles, triumphs and process involved in the industry; I feel that I will be better able to equip students for future challenges. In turn, I see that they exhibit a greater understanding of the industry, the process, and the importance of the end product.