Student Spotlight: Philip Rau

Philip Rau

Philip Rau
Major: Graphic Design
Hometown: Wheaton

When Philip Rau was 8, his parents bought him Photoshop rather than a gaming system.

"Instead of wasting long hours on videogames, I tooled around on the computer exploring the software," he said. "I created silly .gif animations, photo manipulations and even imitated designs I saw in National Geographic Kids magazine."

He decided to turn his fascination into a career in graphic design. Although he originally wanted to attend Columbia College in Chicago, Rau selected College of DuPage because of its affordability and ability to get financial aid.

What he discovered at COD was a program that rivaled, if not surpassed, those at four-year institutions.

"COD has been a real blessing to me in more ways than I can count," he said. "It's been phenomenal and I've learned so much. Along the way, I've found many great career and resumé building opportunities. Thanks to a part-time teacher, I got a tip that led to my first design internship. I was approached to be the Adobe Partners By Design student rep for COD, promoting Adobe software and the Design Achievement Awards. I became the president of AIGA at COD, leading the group with others in creating self portraits, posters and illustrating a children's book for a gallery show."

Rau also earned several honors: honorable mention for a travel brochure at COD's annual Portfolio Night in 2010; honorable mention for his entry into the Ravinia poster design competition, where he placed in the top five of 150 entries; and in 2011 winner of the Best New Ad competition, designing the print advertisement for DonateLife Illinois. (Click here to view his ad.)

In 2011, Rau earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design and the Graphic Design Level II certificate. He has received a presidential scholarship to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, followed by the single presidential scholarship to the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which provides $10,000 per term.

"It's really exciting for me because I have always felt drawn to mountains," he said. "I've lived in flat, relatively dull Midwest states like Nebraska and Iowa my entire life, and the prospect of going to Denver is really thrilling."

In 2012, Rau landed a paid internship for Markit on Demand in Boulder. After graduating summa cum laude and earning his bachelor's degree in Graphic Design in 2013, Rau is working full-time at Markit on Demand. He also would like to work on Data Vis and mobile design projects.

He thanks College of DuPage for providing him with the best start possible.

"You will not find a better bang for your buck than COD's Graphic Design program," he said. "The instructors here know what they're talking about and they really push you to succeed. Graduates leave here in two years with better work than some four-year private colleges. I would highly recommend it!"

More about the Graphic Design program