Jama Yoder loves the art building.

“Right when I walked in, I got the feeling that I belonged there,” said Yoder, reflecting on the first time she saw it during a campus visit.

At that time, Yoder already knew that she wanted to study graphic design. During her high school years at Bethany Christian, a private high school here in Goshen, Yoder was the yearbook editor. She studied art under Hannah Gerig Meyer, then an art teacher at Bethany who is now a graphic designer for Goshen College’s Communications and Marketing department.

At Bethany, Yoder learned to use programs like Adobe InDesign, an industry standard in graphic design. Since Yoder enrolled at GC, she has stayed committed to her path, not changing her major even once. She also worked more with Gerig Meyer as part of a Com Mar internship during the fall of her junior year of college.

At GC, graphic design is a concentration within the broader art major, so Yoder has taken classes which engage a variety of media beyond digital design. Recently, her favorite classes have been jewelry and drawing. Yoder finds that non-digital media allow her to “use art for more personal and therapeutic ways of expressing [her] ideas or feelings.”

Yoder’s return from Study Service Term was a time when she needed to use art in a personally expressive way. While on SST in Tanzania, Yoder spent time commuting back and forth between a rural village and a wealthy tourist lodge. She observed the ways that tourism affected the women in her village in both positive and negative ways. As a way of “telling the stories” of these women, Yoder drew portraits exploring the “back and forth between the two worlds.”

While Yoder enjoys using art for personal reasons, she also has a passion for entrepreneurship and wants to combine her interest in business with her artistic skills. This interest in business, combined with her love of artistic technology, is why Yoder has chosen graphic design. While many other kinds of art are created entirely from the artist’s own vision and preferences, graphic design almost always involves a client who brings their own needs and preferences into the equation. This creates a challenge that Yoder anticipates with excitement, saying that she hopes to “find a good balance of including [her] own creativity while also doing things for clients.”

Yoder’s career aspirations include working in graphic design and eventually starting her own business. Next year, she plans to move to Madison, Wisconsin and is currently looking for design-related work there. Before she makes that transition, Yoder will be hard at work preparing for her senior show, which is coming up in a few months and will showcase some of her graphic design work.