December 9, 2019 at 12:30pm
Kalli Farmer '20 / Video by Lillian Hester '21

Hands-on learning gives Arts Technology student the "edge" in graphic design field

Dedication, hard work and natural talent; that's what Millikin University sophomore Claire Eppley would say makes a great graphic designer. Eppley has all of those attributes, but she needed to develop the necessary skills to become successful in her future career field.

The arts technology major from Springfield, Ill., loved Millikin the moment she stepped on campus. It was Millikin's "artsy" and small school feel that Eppley felt would give her an avenue to explore not just her own art but others as well.

There was one person in particular, however, that gave Eppley the confidence to know she had found the right place to continue her education.

Claire Eppley Millikin University

"When I went on my tour I met Jessa Wilcoxen and she made a really great impression on me," Eppley said. "Jessa has put a lot of time and effort into developing the Arts Technology program. She has done a really great job. She's a great educator, teacher, friend and role model."

Wilcoxen, associate professor and department chair of the Arts Technology & Administration Department, came to Millikin in 2016 to launch the new program after successfully building the Graphic Design track at Greenville University. Like many students, Eppley agrees that the program has seen great success thus far with much thanks to Wilcoxen.

"She really knows what she's talking about and she strives to help all of her students as much as she can," said Eppley.


The Arts Technology & Administration program has given Eppley an array of knowledge with insight into many different creative disciplines including photography, videography, audio production, graphic design and marketing.

"I think what makes the program unique is that you're not just learning one specific thing," she said. "There are different concentrations, but you learn a little bit about everything which you can use for many jobs after graduation."

Just a sophomore, Eppley has seen a great deal of success with her artwork and designs. Her skill set is on the rise because of project-based assignments, working with clients and internships.

"My ultimate dream after I graduate would be to work with a large corporation doing graphic design work," Eppley said. "I think having Performance Learning experiences at Millikin will give me more of an edge when I do go into the graphic design field."

Eppley has found her place at Millikin, and she encourages others to do the same.

"There's a great group of people here and you will find your niche somewhere, you really will."