Krystal Forde

Southwest Tech provided me with the education necessary to have a solid career in something I am passionate about.

Shortly after high school I became a mom. I thought my shot at a college degree was gone. It took me several years to look into the programs available at technical colleges. I remember even looking into online art schools. I also started looking at my options of driving to La Crosse for school everyday. I remember talking to a school counselor for the online art school and telling him that I wanted to see something I designed being used. I specifically gave the example of wanting to walk into a store and see a cereal box with my design on it.

When I found out the Southwest Tech offered Graphic & Web Design, a close friend encouraged me to apply. I started part time so I could gain balance between work and school. Fast forward to my 2nd semester and I was fortunate to start working in the design industry because of a simple class assignment in my Portfolio class. I then juggled three jobs, school and being a single mom.

While I don’t walk into a store and see my designs on a cereal box, I do get the opportunity to see someone wearing a shirt or uniform I designed. I work for a dye sublimation company designing full custom apparel for teams and businesses. After six years with the company, I still get excited seeing someone wearing something I designed – especially if I’m out of my home area. I usually catch people off guard when I approach them and tell them I designed the shirt they’re wearing. I have had many amazing opportunities as a designer because of the education I received at Southwest Tech. I designed two CD and album covers for a Nashville Recording artist, as well as his logo. I have also been able to design logos and apparel for businesses, bands and sports teams in the area.

For the last couple of years I would casually mention to people how I wish I could teach Graphic Design – specifically, the Adobe software. Three years after graduation, Southwest Tech posted a job opening in the Graphic & Web Design program.  Today, I’m right where I need to be! I’m back at Southwest Tech as an Adjunct Instructor in Graphic & Web Design – teaching the Adobe Software!