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Alumni in Print – Where Are They Now? - Dusti Manning

February 8, 2017

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…

A Profile

Dusti Manning - PGSFDusti Manning attended Ferris State University in Michigan. She graduated in 2016 with an Associates in Graphic Design and a Bachelors in Advertising & Integrated Marketing Communications.

How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?

I first became interested in graphic arts through the Visual Imaging program at my high school, Alpena High School. There were many aspects of the class that I enjoyed, ranging from the digital/computer aspect that involved working with the Adobe Suites, to the hands on aspect which involved screen-printing t-shirts and creating corkboard stamps.

Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career?

Visual Imaging didn’t prepare me for the Graphic Design courses. The teachers were so passionate about the field, that it caused me to question my own passion. The instructors wanted us to think about design throughout every day, read about it when we weren’t in our courses, and research it in our free time. Through the courses at Ferris my creative freedom was very limited and caused me to lose a lot of passion for the career I had begun.

How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?

It allowed me to find a passion in advertising that I had once had for graphic design. The education process allowed me to discover what it was about design that I had enjoyed, and allowed me to find that creativity and passion in advertising. Time management was a huge lesson for myself throughout my college career. I held positions through the school (desk service assistant, resident adviser, senior resident adviser) that were 24/7 jobs that forced me to manage my time efficiently.

In the Workforce Today

PGSF Donate NowWhat company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?

From August to May I worked at a manufacturing company called, EasyPro Pond Products, which advertised and manufactured out of Grant, Michigan. In May, I chose to leave that position to relocate closer to home. I’m in the process of moving to Petoskey, Michigan for a Customer Service Representative position at the Odawa Casino, and look forward to soon being on their Marketing team.

What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?

At EasyPro I created digital advertisements, helped with the website by coding HTML, and assisted in company organization.

What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?

Creative individuals that aren’t afraid of having their voice be heard. It’s important to share your opinions and provide a new perspective to problems that a company is experiencing. There is a necessity to have attention to detail as well. Employers want individuals that aren’t going to publish an article riddled with typos, and have an ability to proof-read well.

Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?

After gaining a position straight out of college, I assumed that it would be easy to obtain a marketing position that allows for advancement, challenges me, and tests my abilities. But it’s much more difficult to find a position than I had initially thought. Many times, I was either over qualified, or under experienced for the positions I aimed to acquire.

Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

Graphic design began as my sole passion, but over time it has allowed me to become more of an asset in the advertising field. I am not only able to think critically, but I have the creativity to present my ideas in an appealing fashion.

What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?

In a few years from now I can see myself in an upper position of the marketing department at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey, Michigan. Having the opportunity for advancement allows me to push myself and obtain more responsibility.

Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?

Being a PGSF recipient was very important to my college career. It initially helped me to decide to attend Ferris’ graphic design program, but after two years allowed me to change my career direction and purse my new passion: advertising and integrated marketing communications. Without help from scholarships such as the PGSF scholarship, I wouldn’t have made it through four years of college. With only a certain amount being allocated in loans for each student, I had fallen short of funds for my junior year in college. But by obtaining a job through the school, and having the help of scholarships, my dream of graduating was made possible.


Print and Graphics Scholarship FoundationPGSF works to inform young people about the opportunities that are available in the graphic arts industry and then support them during their educational phase. To learn more about PGSF, or how you can support its work, visit www.pgsf.org or contact John Berthelsen at jberthelsen@printing.org. PGSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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