“I really enjoyed and appreciated the one-on-one relationships with my professors. I felt more cared for, more seen; they knew me for me.”

Linking Her Passions for Art and Tech

When Britaney Lutchman graduated from high school, during the Covid pandemic years, she was unsure not only of what her next step should be, but also of her career direction.

For four year at Passaic County Technical Institute, Britaney had focused on Information Technology and was considering a future in cybersecurity. But faced with a decision about college, Britaney started thinking about how much she had loved drawing and painting since childhood.

“I put two and two together and knew I had to do both art and technology,” she said. Checking the programs PCCC offered, Britaney decided that graphic design would satisfy her art/tech needs. It was the right decision.

This month Britaney receives her Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Graphic Design and plans to continue her education at Montclair State University where she will enter a bachelor’s degree program in Visual Communication Design.

Britaney began her PCCC journey during the summer after her high school graduation, signing up for the free summer opportunities offered to incoming students. “I was able to meet fellow students, engage in meetings, and get close to my advisor who helped me to select my classes for Fall,” she said. “Having that close relationship was really important. I didn’t feel lost.”

Britaney discovered that the personalized experience she had in the summer program continued throughout her PCCC career. “I really enjoyed and appreciated the one-on-one relationships with my professors,’ she said. “I felt more cared for, more seen; they knew me for me.”

This was especially important for Britaney, because she came to PCCC as an almost complete novice in her chosen major. “I didn’t know any of the Adobe programs and had no graphic design background,” she explained. Excited about having access to all the equipment at PCCC, and to the design programs she would need, Britaney was most impressed by professors who really took their time to explain everything to the students. “The hands-on learning experience here and attention paid to students was fantastic.”

She gives a special shout out to graphic design professor Jill Sluka for being “very patient and very passionate about teaching students, I like the way she plans her courses and puts time into each individual student’s needs.”

Working a part-time job outside of school, Britaney did not have much time for extra-curricular activities at PCCC, but her high grades qualified her for membership in the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society where she received a scholarship that can be applied toward her tuition at Montclair State. “It was a really nice relief from financial stress,” she said.”

Today Britaney feels confident in her graphic design skills. “I know Photoshop, Illustrator, In-Design and so much that I didn’t know before. I feel well-prepared for a bachelor’s degree program.”

Though she looks forward to one day landing a job at a company where she can put her talents to work on a full array of design projects, creating logos, brochures flyers, and websites, Britaney says her ultimate goal is to “to work for myself as a freelance designer.”

“I am very grateful for my time at PCCC and for the graphic design program here,” said Britaney. “PCCC has been a wonderful experience.”