Feature story image, Lauren Salgado working on a creative project

Spring 2016 — Lauren Salgado absent-mindedly checked for email on her phone last summer during a break from her job at Marketplace West. What she found was the answer to her future.

“It’s really scary to apply to the graphic design program at Oregon State,” she explains. “When I applied, there were 75 people applying, and only 25 make it in.”

The news that she’d been accepted caused a kind of relief and excitement that had her celebrating in the quiet, near-empty dining hall. “It was motivating,” Salgado says. “It was a reaffirmation that I’ll be able to do what I love for the rest of my life.”

Before attending Oregon State, Salgado participated in JumpstART, a summer precollege visual and performing arts workshop sponsored by the School of Arts and Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. The program is designed for young artists ages 15 to 18 who have demonstrated heightened interest in visual and performing arts and seek an opportunity to increase their skills.

“We took two classes a day for three weeks and spent time here on campus,” Salgado says. “As soon as I was done with that I said, ‘I have to come back.’ This campus is so beautiful.”

Salgado has found a home away from home with her cohort in the graphic design program and her job at MU 204, the Memorial Union’s graphic design studio. There, she works with organizations on campus like Memorial Union Retail Food Services, University Housing and Dining Services, the Center for Civic Engagement and others.

“It’s great real-world experience for me, because after graduation, I’ll be working in that kind of a setting, handling my own projects and meeting my own deadlines,” she says.

Salgado plans to graduate in 2017 and hopes to return to the Portland area because she finds her home city inspiring.

“I’d love to work for another studio, but after a few years of experience it would be ideal to be my own boss and do freelance work,” she says. “I really believe that you should do what you love and love what you do, and I’m so lucky I found a passion for graphic design.”

Find a career that you love — connect with the Career Development Center to explore professional paths that are right for you. Career Story