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‘For an independent study class, I’m re-designing a book that my grandmother had written years ago. It’s going really well. Part of it is restoring a bunch of old family photos, so it’s been especially cool to work more in Photoshop and also get to delve into my family history.’

Sophie Ramsey (’15)

What have this semester’s classes looked like?

I’m doing an independent study class with Dawn McCusker. She is the book-making queen and the typographic queen. I’m re-designing a book that my grandmother had written. I’m also in Brand Identity with Trudy Cole. That’s kind of like a senior thesis class because I’m doing design for a company that I made up myself. So you create everything for brand identity — logo, stationery, everything that you can think of that’s print-related. Some days in that class are lectures, and some days we are going over rough drafts of whatever we’re working on at that time. That class is two and a half hours long, so there’s a lot of time for a lot of different critiques and learning. And then I also have my last GenEd class, an American history course. And I also have Web Design with Jun Bum Shin. That one has been a trip. Coding is scary. It’s like learning a whole new language. And it’s great that it’s a required class because they are really looking for that from designers out in the real world. That has been really different from anything else I’ve ever done — and it’s a good different.

Have you had a favorite class?

Surprisingly enough, two of my favorite classes were design history classes. One was Architectural Design and one was Graphic Design. They both were with William Tate. He is just the classic professor that you hear about that inspires you to do great things and makes you want start right now and be productive and be successful. He just has one of those personalities that inspires you, and he’s so passionate about what he does that it inspires you and makes you want to learn about what your own passions are. Tate’s passion kind of changed my perspective a little bit.

Related video: Industrial Design at JMU

Have you always been artistic?

I was really big into art in high school. I did all the IB art classes, and my art teacher was really influential in my decision to go into graphic design. I really didn’t want to do the whole starving artist thing, and so she recommended graphic design. I kind of came to JMU on a hunch that I would like graphic design, and I did. For me, it really is the perfect fit.

How have your skills grown?

Well, when I came to JMU I had never done graphic design. I had done a lot of painting and a lot of mixed media, so I guess I had the layering of different images and what-not down originally, but I had never really worked with the computer before and I had no real familiarity with any of the Abode software programs. So I really did start from the bottom with the computer, but I took all the different classes and figured out all the different programs and my style, and I gained a lot of confidence along the way.

What’s next after graduation?

I’m looking into moving to London for a few years. I never took the opportunity to study abroad, so I figure I should give that a shot while I don’t really have any ties. And one of my professors has some connections there, so that really helped me convince myself that I should give this a shot. I’m excited about it.

What’s your dream job look like?

I don’t know exactly where I want to be, but I want to be in a big company. I want to be moving and shaking things up. I want to be influential in design.

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Sophie Ramsey (’15)

Major: Graphic Design
Hometown: Stafford, Va.
Highlights: Says her internship with JMU’s University Marketing area has given her the perfect blend of real-word experience and a comfy safety net that has let her explore her creative potential; adores JMU and has stayed in Harrisonburg since the end of her freshman year; did International Baccalaureate her senior year in high school.

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