In an interview with a DCA certificate graduate, Katrina Gem Paray shares with us her experience in taking UCLA Extension courses.
What brought you to the DCA program?
I started designing graphics around the 5th grade for fun and continued on and off for several years. It wasn’t until I graduated from college (I took up hospitality management) and after designing and selling stationery that I started getting serious about doing graphic design as a career. I wanted to get formal education on graphic design but didn’t want to do a 4-year program. My best friend happened to be enrolled in UCLA Extension around that time and suggested checking to see if there’s an art program – that’s when I learned about the DCA program.
What were your favorite courses and why?
My favorite classes were Packaging Design with John Beach and Design 2 with Henry Mateo. Both were challenging and worked with branding and collateral which is ultimately what I want to get into.
For me, every project have their own challenges, and some that you may not necessarily be into at first can become something fun/interesting down the road. I’d say that anything new and/or has an inspiring story with passionate people behind them is always extra motivating and exciting.
How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?
They definitely gave me a better understanding in how and why we choose design elements to successfully communicate visually. The projects I did for the classes, particularly Packaging and Design 2, gave me my best portfolio pieces and helped prepare me for my current job.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently freelancing in New York doing packaging work for a healthy food brand.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
Definitely still designing with a whole bunch of work under my belt as well as having more responsibility. I’d like to have a side business, too.