Inspiring Graduate: Amanda Piotrowski, B.F.A. Graphic Design & Interactive Media

‘My achievements underscore that what Stout does works, and the world is taking notice.’
December 27, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Amanda Piotrowski (’23)

Amanda Piotrowski began her college journey in 2019 at another Wisconsin university, but soon transferred to UW-Stout’s graphic design and interactive media program to see if it was indeed a career she wanted to pursue.

She knew her creative interests were in graphic design, but her previous university didn’t have the program she needed.

Amanda Piotrowski
Inspiring graduate Amanda Piotrowski with Chancellor Katherine Frank at commencement / UW-Stout

“I knew that Stout had an excellent GDIM program, and I wagered that if there was anywhere in the UW System where I could figure out if graphic design was right for me, it would be at Stout,” she said. “This was clearly the right path, as it was here at Stout that I discovered a passion for graphic design and had the unique blessing of being taught by some of the greatest professors I've ever encountered at both my previous university and at Stout.”

Piotrowski earned her B.F.A. in graphic design and interactive media from UW-Stout on Dec. 16, along with 526 graduates.  

She is looking to begin her career in web design and development with a design agency in the Twin Cities. 

How has your UW-Stout education changed you and prepared you to work in your field? 

The experiences that I had at Stout have equipped me with both technical and interpersonal skills. The incredibly caring and knowledgeable faculty and staff have given me an excellent foundation on which I hope to build a successful future.  

Amanda Piotrowski
Amanda Piotrowski at the School of Art and Design Senior Show / UW-Stout

The School of Art and Design's creative and collaborative classroom environments nurtured my creativity, while the constructive class critiques fostered relationships and improved my ability to enhance my classmates' work and vice versa. 

These skills are essential for success after graduation, and I'm immensely grateful to Stout for offering the platform for these valuable learning experiences. 

I was blessed enough that two websites I designed and developed, Vertigo and Designing and Color Blindness, were featured on multiple national web design galleries. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the unwavering support and encouragement of Professor Bert Fraher.

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Having these sites acknowledged and showcased in prestigious online galleries marked a pivotal moment in my education, making me realize that my work was not only appreciated within the Stout community but also recognized by the broader world. 

As students, it's easy to underestimate the industry-readiness of our work. But my achievements underscore that what Stout does works, and the world is taking notice.

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to Professor Bert Fraher. When I entered Stout's graphic design program, my focus was primarily on print and communication design. However, a single class with Bert opened my eyes to the world of interaction and web design, revealing the strengths and potential I didn’t know I had. 

After that class, I took as many interactive design courses as I could, all with Bert encouraging me throughout the process. Bert has an unwavering passion for design and interaction, which he passes on to his students. He has a firm belief that students can achieve anything through hard work and seeking help when needed. And he has a keen ability to recognize your potential and celebrate your successes. 

I can say with absolutely no reservations that Bert was the most influential and knowledgeable teacher I have ever had, and I am thankful that I was able to be taught by such a caring, dedicated and passionate professor. 

Amanda Piotrowski
Amanda Piotrowski plans to work with design agency in the Twin Cities / UW-Stout

How did your involvement impact your experience? 

My involvement in Cru and the WELS campus ministry organizations helped strengthen my relationship with God, grow in sharing the love of Christ with others, and develop relationships with students from every background. 

The Christian community within Cru on campus instilled in me the value of prioritizing my faith and relationship with God, a principle I'll carry with me long after leaving Stout.

This past summer, I studied abroad at Accademia Italiana in Florence, Italy, for two months. I took two classes. The first was Photographing Florence, an introductory photography class that focused on learning the basics of photography while capturing the essence of the city of Florence. The second class was an art history class called the Life and Works of Michelangelo. 

Amanda Piotrowski
Amanda Piotrowski in Florence, Italy / Amanda Piotrowski

This class was one of the best courses I've ever taken. Taking a class on Michelangelo in the city where he lived and worked for the majority of his career was the definition of an immersive learning experience. Our class had the tremendous opportunity to see a majority of the works that Michelangelo created that still reside in Florentine museums, with our professor as our own personal tour guide. 

Having these firsthand experiences with world-renown artworks was a transformative experience both as a creative and as a human being.

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them? 

As a transfer student, I grappled with numerous challenges, such as ensuring timely graduation and credit transfer. My transfer also coincided with the challenges posed by the pandemic, which presented significant academic and social hurdles. Despite the difficult process, the experience was exceptionally rewarding because of the valuable friendships and relationships I forged with peers and faculty. 

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree? 

I am most proud of the relationships that I have built with God, classmates, friends and faculty. The community I’ve met with here at UW-Stout has been incredibly transformative, and I cannot imagine graduating without the love, support and encouragement of all of the truly wonderful people I met. 

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