Why choose Drexel?
I wanted to be a graphic designer, so I looked at online lists of the best graphic design schools. Drexel was on one of them, and since they weren’t too far from my home in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and gave me a scholarship, it felt like the right fit.
Why choose Graphic Design?
I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time, but then I worked as a publication designer for my high school’s newspaper. I was torn between what to pick, but since I liked design and didn’t know if I’d like being a doctor, I went with my gut.
What was your favorite class and how did it affect your journey?
Packaging. It was a subject I knew nothing about, and after coming out with some pretty sweet portfolio pieces, I thought to myself, “Okay, if I don’t know how to do something but I work really hard and be resourceful, I’ll be able to make it through.” It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (or at least total exhaustion from standing over the studio table for hours at a time).
How was your Co-op experience?
I did my co-op at Happy Cog, a Philadelphia-based design agency. I found the co-op through Drexel’s job board, and after thinking I totally tanked the interview, I actually got the job. It was the best learning experience I could have asked for. On top of it being an amazing design and development agency, I found incredible mentors there who pushed me to become a much stronger designer. I continued to work there throughout my senior year and after graduation, and then I went to work for a design agency in San Francisco that recruited me to be a part of their Apple account.
What do you currently do professionally?
I’m a co-founder of Kopa, a website that helps student interns find affordable, monthly rentals. Kopa is meant for students exactly like those in Drexel Co-ops. Even though I ended up with an awesome co-op, I felt constrained by looking only for co-ops in the Philadelphia area because I didn’t have many family or friends in other cities and the thought of moving somewhere by myself seemed totally unfeasible.
The Kopa marketplace is 100% free for students to use; we understand that students are likely in debt and just need some help getting the opportunities they deserve. We recently introduced Kopa for Employers, a B2B program that partners with companies to offer premium services to their interns, such as housing recommendations based on interns’ interests, roommate matching, and group activities. Our mission is to empower every young professional to find their home.
As the Chief Product Officer at Kopa, I’m in charge of all product design and strategy. I have the Drexel Graphic Design Program to thank for those design skills and so much more. In September 2018, I was on-stage at Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference, where I was asked lots of questions about Kopa in front of 350+ people and live streamed. Before I went on stage, I thought of all the times I stepped in the front of class and presented my design work during Drexel Graphic Design critiques. My time on-stage was just like those critiques but 25 times the amount of people. Drexel definitely taught me how important grit is. Even now with some long days as a startup co-founder, I don’t think anything will be more exhausting than going to squash practice at 6:30am, going to class immediately after at 9:00am, working at Happy Cog at 1:00pm, going to squash strength training at 4:30pm, heading to night class from 6:00-9:00pm … and then try to quickly work on some assignments before bed.
Any advice for Graphic Design students?
If you want to move away, do it. Do whatever you care about, and if you don’t know what that is, take meaningful opportunities and meet lots of new people to find some inspiration.