They say the best things happen when you least expect them too, and Sherry Fitzgerald is proof of that statement. This assistant professor and Program Coordinator of Graphic Design/Computer Gaming/New Media stumbled into her role as a beloved professor. It was serendipity at its best when Fitzgerald began teaching to help out a friend, and found herself in love with it. “I tried it and I loved it,” she stated with a smile. Recently, her coworkers gave her a pin expressing a quote she says she lives by, “Teaching is a job of the heart.” She continues, “The pin means so much to me because you really, really have to connect with your students.”
When asked how she forms these connections, she replied, “Let them know you are a regular person willing to work and respect them and their interests.” Fitzgerald also focuses strongly on supporting them in any means the students needs, lest it be projects, their future, or just advice. She laughs as she states, “Sometimes I don’t always give the best advice!” but like everything else this professor pursues, she just tries her best.
Just like her profession as a professor, Fitzgerald happened into graphic design. From a very, very young age, she knew she was an artist, but confesses she always took graphic design for granted. Looking at signs and posters, she never made the connection that someone actually took the time to design them. They were just there. But working in a restaurant started rolling her wheel of fate as she began designing menus, which lead to jobs for friends and even other restaurants. Fitzgerald reports that quickly, she was designing more than she was doing anything else. At that point, with her father’s support, she decided to receive formal training.
Fitzgerald carries her expertise outside of the classroom into the Design Squad- a club she helped created. When asked about it, she confidently responded, “These are my kids.” She actively welcomes all students, of any age or major. Students bring homework and snacks, and, over food, they discuss art and design. The Design Club has been noted several times for their involvement in the community: creating and/or participating in fundraisers for different causes and hosting Friday night workshops to educate about different art techniques. These topics have ranged from how to use a ruler, pencil drawing, and operating Adobe suite.
From the classroom to the community, assistant professor Sherry Fitzgerald proves to be positive influence time and time again.