Students learn design skills in graphic design program

Igniting Passion and Creativity in Graphic Design

The graphic design program at New Castle Career Center (NCCC) prepares students for successful marketing, design, and social media careers. The program offers first-year students a foundation in Adobe applications, design principles, and photography. Second-year students take on real-life projects and explore work-based learning opportunities. Upon completing the two-year program, graduates earn a Technical Certificate from Ivy Tech Community College and Adobe Professional Certifications. These credentials open doors to entrepreneurship, employment, or further education.

NCCC provides 24 dual credits in partnership with Ivy Tech, enabling graphic design students graduating in 2025 the opportunity to earn an Ivy Tech diploma. Students can also take three additional courses through the Early College program to acquire a Visual Communications Technical Certificate from Ivy Tech even before graduating from high school. This certificate represents the equivalent of one year of college, resulting in substantial cost and time savings for these students.

Encouraging Students To Think Creatively

NCCC’s graphic design instructor, Jessika Feltz, is credentialed to teach eight courses, allowing students to benefit from the Ivy Tech curriculum in their classrooms. Feltz brings over 15 years of experience as a graphic arts professional and holds degrees in both engineering and photography.

“I always say that I love using both sides of my brain,” she remarked. Along with teaching, Feltz operates a high-end print shop, is a wedding photographer, and, most recently, provides business consulting services. Through her latest endeavor, she helps companies enhance their online presence through social media marketing.

Feltz has been at NCCC for two years and is working towards completing the Workplace Specialist teaching program through Ball State. Throughout her photography and design career, she has led in-person workshops, taught online courses, and offered private lessons and tutoring.

When asked about her favorite part of teaching, Feltz exclaimed, “My students are the absolute best part of my work! I enjoy meeting them, learning about their personalities, and helping them create a career path that will allow them to support themselves as professional artists after high school. They are funny, creative, and sweet. Watching their skills grow throughout the year is awesome.”

Among Feltz’s favorite class projects are those that encourage students to think creatively. “Many of my students are passionate about music and films, so I enjoy giving them the freedom to incorporate those themes into their work,” she explained. “The students did a fantastic job on their Album Cover project last semester. This project incorporated both photography and design along with music; the students had to create an album cover for a song of their choice, working in a group. They planned the photo session, photographed the cover art, manipulated it in Adobe Photoshop, and laid out the final product in Adobe Illustrator. I could see that they were excited and proud to show off their creations!”

Student Makenzie Foga’s Journey in Graphic Design

Makenzie Foga, a graphic design student, finds the program to ignite imagination, ideas, and creativity. Many projects are designed to enable students to explore and produce art based on their preferences and identities.

“I am a sports fan, and I also love sunflowers. I incorporated sports and sunflowers into my personal brand project,” Foga stated. “My personal brand is ‘Sunflower Design Co.’ and is a sports photography business. Working on my personal brand is what I enjoy most about this program.”

Makenzie is passionate about colors and design, particularly about acrylic paintings, incorporating sunflowers into her work, and helping others through art. She began her journey in graphic design at NCCC after taking an Intro to 2D and 3D Art course in high school.

After high school, Makenzie plans to attend Ball State University to major in Sports Administration and minor in business. Her career goal is to manage sports programs at various levels, using her skills as a graphic designer to assist with branding, sales, and marketing. She also aims to pursue sports photography and graphic design services while working with different sports programs.

Considerations When Choosing Graphic Design as a Career

Feltz provides valuable guidance to students contemplating a career in graphic design:

  • The possibilities are endless. Come into your education with an open mind.
  • Experiment with art as often as you can, and learn new methods and media whenever possible, both traditional art and digital art.
  • Your goal should be gathering art experiences to help guide your path.
  • Formal education in art is helpful; take advantage of all the classes offered at your high school and career center.
  • If you are considering an art career, take a year of the Graphic Design program. Even if you decide this career path is not for you, you have not wasted time. You have learned about yourself through the process, which is the most valuable thing. If you love it, come back for your second year to gather all of the free college credits that you can, spring boarding you through a year of college right here in high school.

For more information about the graphic design program and other programs available through the New Castle Career Center, visit