Mark Altamero

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Age: 26

Degree/certificate: Associate of applied science, graphic design with a concentration in multimedia

Graduated: May 2012

Why TCC: I did an internship with Lillian Vernon before I actually started taking classes, and I spoke with some of the designers and they said they would rather hire someone out of TCC than a four-year school. I transferred to TCC from a four-year school, and I ended up enjoying it a lot more.

While at TCC: What I liked best about TCC was the guidance and the instructors. I had a lot of success with my instructors at TCC. They were approachable, personable and friendly.

Paying for college: Another reason I really enjoyed TCC was that I applied for financial aid, and I got grants. I went from paying student loans at a four year school to grants at TCC. Basically, I didn’t have to pay for any of my education there because of grants.

From intern to employee:
One of my TCC professors recommended me. I actually had two options for internships, but went with the Sentara internship because it was in line with multimedia. That was in January 2012. In May 2012, I was hired full time. Originally I assisted with web design work, redesigning the employee portal and rolling out a new search center. Now I’m working on the style guide for the entire website. I also carved out a niche for myself doing promotional commercials for different initiatives or awareness programs.

What’s next: I want to be an entertainment designer. I’d love to be a concept artist for the film industry.

Advice for other students:  Network. That’s a huge deal. I see students with awesome portfolios, but they can’t talk to people. It’s intimidating to meet new people all the time, but it helps a lot. Also, keep an open line of communication with your teachers. My professors were all awesome, so I could go to them with questions about hiring or what they recommended for someone with my interests. That led to a lot of open doors.

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