Student Success

The Graphic Design program at College of DuPage strives to prepare students for the real world. Many of our students receive scholarships to transfer to a four-year school, while others hit the ground running with paid internships and full-time jobs. Listed below are several College of DuPage Graphic Design alumni that are having success after completing our program.

Recent Graduates

Melissa Leide

Melissa Leide is a highly motivated individual that uses the challenges in life as stepping stones to be a better designer. Having encountered many obstacles, she has fought to pursue her love for graphic design because she believes that without passion and without goals, life is meaningless.

Her passion for design stems from layout design for both print and web. Although, her guilty pleasure is creating vector artwork by using organic shapes and line to form intricate patterns and designs. More recently, she has found a love for illustration and is working to develop these skills every chance she gets.

As an adolescent and to this day, all Melissa has ever wanted is to make a difference. She has committed to doing this through graphic design by not following in the footsteps of the designers that came before her, but rather leading the industry to new and exciting places. View Melissa's portfolio at

Meghan Thome

Meghan Thome turned her love of drawing and doodling into a passion for graphic design. As the student worker in the Graphic Design department and the Adobe Partners by Design student representative, she became as involved as she could in order to learn the ins and outs of design. Meghan was recognized through several awards including Outstanding Graduate for the College of DuPage Class of 2013 and Best Portfolio at Portfolio Review Night 2013. (She also designed the identity for this event.) She helped to encourage creativity outside of the classroom as a board member of AIGA Student Group and was the brainchild behind the department's first illustration zine, Brain Flower (

A former elementary school teacher, Meghan loves children's books and plans to make several of her own. She loves to create hand drawn type and has recently fell in love with watercolors. Check out her online portfolio at

Angela Dygdon

Angela Dygdon is a versatile graphic designer with a unique ability to adapt a variety styles to accommodate the requests of clients. She loves to problem solve design solutions as well as create her own detailed illustrations.

During her time as a student in the Graphic Design program she was able to turn her love of art into a new career by interpreting her creativity and problem solving skills digitally. She earned honorable mentions at Portfolio Review Night 2011 and 2013 and her design was chosen as the cover for College of DuPage’s yearly anthology collection “Essai” for 2012-2013. She was also published as a featured artist in the first edition of the Brain Flower Zine.

Angela runs her own freelance graphic design business. Have a look at her online portfolio at

Zach Mory

Zach Mory is a designer and artist and yes, it’s totally ok to be both. After finishing his MFA in art from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2008 with an emphasis in drawing, Zach enrolled in COD’s graphic design program in 2010 where he learned to take his obsessive mark-making sensibility and turn it into thoughtful, well-crafted design. Zach is proud to say that he can now wear both hats: that of an artist constantly pushing his own body of work forward and that of a designer making awesome identity design and illustrations for his clients.

On top of design and art Zach loves to dabble in website design and has written a strange, little illustrated book entitled “Danny’s World” where he was able to combine his passion for illustration, writing, and layout into one giant undertaking. Zach was honored to be recognized at Portfolio Review Night 2013 for having won Best Portfolio and Best Illustration and is nothing but thankful for the skills he learned and the fantastic designers and faculty he met during his time at COD. Be on the lookout for many, many great design and art projects coming from his corner in the future, as Zach basically does anything in his power to stay in a constant state of creative activity at all times. You can view Zach’s design portfolio at and can also check out his fine art portfolio at

Ryan Clayton

Ryan's passion for design can only be matched by his boundless energy. He enjoys many creative outlets including graphic/web design, photography, songwriting, and drawing. He shows much versatility as a designer and specializes in design that is visually grabbing. While at COD, Ryan received several honorable mentions at Portfolio Review Night 2010/2011, was the AIGA Student Group VP, and designed for the Graphic Design program (Including this website). Ryan earned his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design on a Presidential Scholarship. Be sure to check out Ryan's Portfolio Site and his Design Blog.

Rocio Hernandez

Rocio is a multi-talented graphic designer with a style that features brilliant use of pattern and imagery. She brings an organic variety to her work while keeping it clean and aesthetically pleasing. While at COD, she won multiple awards at the 2011 Portfolio Review Night (including Best Portfolio), designed the DuPage Art League’s website, and developed the unique identity for the 2011 Portfolio Night. Rocio is currently is working at a design firm called Cubicle Ninjas - run by COD alumni, Josh Farkas.

Erika Swanson

Simply Erika is a "very bright" graphic designer, illustrator and web designer in Aurora, IL. She won "Best Portfolio" at 2009 Portfolio Review Night, and is currently the Marketing Graphic Designer at Fox Valley Park District.

As a fan of the magical girl genre, Erika Swanson translated her love of Japanese art and fantasy storytelling into Bellossoms, a coming-of-age children's tale about blooming in new places.

Visit Simply Erika to view her "bright ideas", and follow the flowers on all their adventures at

Phil Rau

Phil is an accomplished and driven designer, with a passion for unique and clever concepts. In addition to acting as AIGA student group president and the Adobe Student Rep at COD, Phil also worked as an intern in the marketing department of Harper College while at COD. Phil received several honors including an honorable mention in the Ravinia 2011 Poster Design contest, several honorable mentions at Portfolio Review Night, and winner of the Spring 2011 Best New Ad Competition. Phil attended the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design where he received their Presidential Scholarship and is now employed full-time.

Other Alumni

Paul Altott

Paul is a well-versed graphic designer who got his start at College of DuPage. He won "Best Portfolio" at 2008 Portfolio Review Night and moved on to shine at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in Wisconsin. Upon graduating, Paul was offered a full-time position working for Kohl’s doing Web and mobile device design, user interface design, and campaign strategy. Be sure to check out his Portfolio Site.

Grace Blevins

Grace is a designer whose work has an unmistakably original and pleasing quality to it. Her expert use of traditional media and handcrafted paper makes her work come to life. Grace received a scholarship to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and finished up her bachelor’s degree there. Grace currently works as a designer for Ocupop, a creative agency in Milwaukee, WI. Grace had her work featured on Swing by Grace's Portfolio Site and check out her creations for yourself.

Josh Farkas

Josh is a College of Dupage alumni that truly hit the ground running. He has illustrated twelve children's books, written and self-published two independent graphic novels, and founded (and sold) multiple internet start-ups. He currently owns his own design firm called Cubicle Ninjas. You can find out more about Josh and his creative endeavors here.

Dave Hoffman

Dave is a multi-talented designer who is well versed in graphic design, photography, music, and many other creative outlets. He has a passion for design, and it shows in his work is. He is constantly looking for ways to be inspired and always looks to offer a fresh approach on a creative solution. Dave finished his Degree at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where he received a scholarship and a BFA. Dave is now a UX artist at Filament Games, an educational video games company. Check out his portfolio site and his blog for the latest on Dave.

Alex Yaeger

Alex is a designer whose work clearly shows the amount of thought and care that he puts into design. Alex has a unique illustrative style, good presentation aesthetics, and top-notch design skills. Alex received multiple awards in the 2010 Portfolio Review Night at College of DuPage including Best portfolio. Be sure to stop by Alex’s Portfolio Site.

Natalie McQueen

Natalie's design aesthetic is well grounded in her drawing/fine art abilities. The work that Natalie puts out often has a unique hand-drawn quality that gives it a friendly and casual feel. Her drawing ability also allows a lot of versatility in her designs ranging from well-crafted logos to stunningly complex illustrations. Natalie completed her education at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Colorado where she received a scholarship.

Mirjana Ursulesku

Mirjana Ursulesku

Award-winning artist and designer Mirjana Ursulesku has been steeped in drawing, painting and illustration from a very young age, and has already spent many years as a professional artist. Consequently, her recent graphic design work unifies a unique fine-art style with meticulous visual skill to generate clean, timeless designs. 

Her passion for visual problem-solving translates to graphic communications across a variety of platforms, but her favorite projects involve web design and brand identity. She finds the process of developing a visually intelligent logo and creating an engaging “look and feel” for a brand to be an exhilarating challenge. She loves tackling each new identity, and does so with both imagination and precision.

Having earned both a BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Advertising, Ursulesku has received a Graduate Assistanceship Award to pursue an MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts at Columbia. She also is working as an adjunct at College of DuPage. 

View some of Mirjana's work at Blue is My Color, Inc.,  Three Things I Love, and M Creative Studios, Inc.

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Eric Small

Eric Small

Eric Small is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the design world. Whether it is an illustration, logo, website, print booklet or motion graphic, Eric loves taking on the wide variety of projects that the design world has to offer. With a bachelor’s degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois, Eric’s design decisions always have a hefty dose of strategy and thought behind them.

With a desire to get into more of the hands-on creation within the industry, Eric decided to join the Graphic Design program at the College of DuPage. While at COD, he was one of the founders of Renegade, an underground design group that used guerilla marketing tactics to encourage discussion about design and promote quality work. The group also hosted and curated a gallery show based on famous rebels. At Portfolio Night 2011, Eric received honorable mentions in several categories. Upping his game, he went on to design the identity for Portfolio Review Night 2012, at which he received multiple awards including an honorable mention for Best Portfolio.

Eric is also a co-founder of The Fiction Relocation Project, a weekly logo design project creating jobs and companies for fictional characters. View Eric’s portfolio.

Mirjana Ursulesku

Joe Butera

It could be said that Joe Butera works as a web designer, but that would be inaccurate. Joe lives and breathes web design. If he isn’t knocking out a fresh concept for a new client, he can most likely be found honing his development skills or researching the latest trends. This consistent immersion in the design world keeps Joe’s designs on the cutting edge, ensuring they will be relevant for a long time.

While at the College of DuPage, Joe was one of the founders of Renegade, an alternative design group focused on creating good work, generating design-based conversation in the department, and even hosting and curating a gallery show. Joe’s hard work and attention to detail landed him the Best Portfolio award at Portfolio Review Night 2012.

To keep his skills sharp, Joe also co-founded a side project called The Fiction Relocation Project, a weekly logo design project creating jobs and companies for fictional characters. View Joe’s full portfolio.