Each year we celebrate a handful of our amazing seniors who are graduating and moving on to bright futures in an array of fields. This is the second installment of our 2019 Commencement Student Profile series.
Natalia Dymora arrived at Rutgers University–Newark in 2015 with dreams of becoming a nurse. That changed when she took a History of Photography course second semester of her freshman year and her classmates gave her a taste of the work they were doing in their Graphic Design classes. Fascinated by the possibilities, Dymora dove in deeper, taking other Arts, Culture and Media department courses such as Drawing and Design Fundamentals, and never looked back: She’s set to graduate from RU-N’s Graphic Design program with a minor in Art History.
“I was good at these courses, passionate about the work and decided near the end of sophomore year to pursue the arts,” she said. “Even my mother couldn’t see me as a nurse. One of the best decisions I ever made was pursuing a creative field. Every day I wake up grateful being able to do what I love.”
After emigrating to the U.S. from Poland at age 5, Dymora became the first in her family to attend college, and she has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded her, embracing a full load of courses in photography, fine arts, design and art history. She’s also taken classes affiliated with Express Newark’s Visual Means Program, which enables students to work with professors and peers collaboratively on long-term projects serving the greater Newark community in a format resembling an actual graphic-design studio setting.
Dymora has done this while working 20 hours per week as a floor leader and head of visual merchandising at a cosmetics store in Paramus during her first three years at RU-N; completing a 12-hour-per-week internship this spring at G3 Communications, in Hasbrook Heights; working as a graphic designer for Clifton Merchant Magazine 10 hours per week during her junior and senior years; and serving as Co-Creative Director for Scarlet Magazine this academic year.
One of the best decisions I ever made was pursuing a creative field. Every day I wake up grateful being able to do what I love.
She also worked with Graphic Design Professor Ned Drew on his award-winning children’s book, Drew’s ABC’s, helping him with printing and production as part of summer 2018 volunteer work and a spring 2019 independent study. And in her spare time, Dymora volunteers at design conferences in New York City to gain extra exposure to ideas and make contacts.
For all of her hard work, she received the Jessica Simpson Lalley Scholarship in 2017-2018.
Dymora says she’ll eventually return to school for a master’s degree in design, either in Europe (she’s a dual American/Polish citizen) or possibly at Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, with the hope of teaching college some day. But first she wants more hands-on experience and is currently applying for a design job in New York, ideally in magazines or book publishing, though she’s open to corporate branding and fashion as well.
“I am curious about so many aspects of design: print, website user-interface, textiles, even industrial design,” says Dymora. “I am so thankful for my brilliant and dedicated professors, the students I’ve befriended and collaborated with over the years, and my family for supporting me during my time at Rutgers. The solid foundation that I've acquired at RU-N gives me confidence to keep exploring.”