Student Stories: Brian Powers

Brian Powers

Major: Photography

Brian Powers took a photography class in high school because he needed to fill a space in his schedule.

“I thought it would just be an easy class, but fell in love immediately,” he said. “Right out of high school, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. I knew I liked taking photos but didn’t know if that would lead to a career. Money and distance led me to College of DuPage, where I was able to figure out my next steps and really hone my skills.”

Through COD’s Photography program, Powers met students and instructors with the same passion and found a supportive network. It was through Professor Terry Vitacco that he found a job at the Naperville Sun, where he discovered a love for community journalism.

After graduating with his associate degree in Photography, he attended Western Kentucky University (WKU). But while there, he was offered a full-time job as staff photographer at the Aurora Beacon-News, which he took and then held for three years. His work has been recognized by the national, Illinois and Kentucky Press Photographer’s associations, and in 2009 he was named the Illinois Student Photographer of the Year.

The Photography program at College of DuPage is truly a blessing to the school.

Brian Powers

When the Sun-Times Media Group decided to eliminate all photographers, Powers finished his bachelor’s degree in Photojournalism and New Media at WKU while working as a freelance photographer. Less than two weeks after graduation, he started working as a staff photographer at the Des Moines Register.

In 2021, Powers was named Best Photographer by the Iowa Newspaper Association. After six years at the Des Moines Register, he left and is now the assistant director of video and photography at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business.

Powers cannot say enough good things about COD’s Photography program and its faculty. 

“The Photography program at College of DuPage is truly a blessing to the school,” he said. “Without passionate teachers like Terry Vitacco, Glenn Hanson and Jeff Curto, I would not be where I am at right now. As a photographer, you have to know who you are as a person before you can photograph others, and they helped me grow into that and be more confident.”

Learn more about the Photography program at College of DuPage