teaching experience
design philosophy


work experience
technical experience
awards & scholarships


Katrina S. Widholm




University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Masters of Fine Arts, Design, May, 2002

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design/Visual Communications, December 1991


Teaching Philosophy

My students inspire me. Their energy and enthusiasm for learning makes my role as a teacher more extraordinary than I could have ever imagined. My goal as an instructor is to provide my students with basic art/design tools and fundamentals while encouraging them to make their own decisions and follow their own path. I believe that there are no right or wrong answers and that there are multiple solutions to any given problem. I encourage them to develop their own individual aesthetic sense while creating their own process and solutions to solving creative problems.

Art is generally one of a kind and personal. Design is mass-produced and created for a client or service. In order to successfully complete a design problem I encourage my students to work through a process towards a user-centered solution. I believe that developing a "process" is vital to the success of the designer.

I encourage this process to evolve through specific assignments, while encouraging them to keep a sketchbook journal.  I encourage my students to take advantage of the vast variety of learning experiences and opportunities that are available to them. I try to teach them how to "learn how to learn" and instill in them the belief that learning is a lifelong endeavor. I encourage them to look at the "big picture" and to observe everything from historical, social, political, and artistic and design references to help them formulate ideas and inspirations for their work. I hope to encourage them to remember that their work is potentially part of something bigger and that they need to think about how it will affect and potentially fit into the greater world in which we live in.


Teaching Experience

Teacher, Countryside School, Champaign, Illinois (Fall 2007 – Present)
As the teacher of visual art to kindergarten through eighth grades I am responsible for instructing the classes and writing the course curriculum for all nine grade levels. Classes for all students emphasize historical and current artists and art trends, technique and theory. Students are encouraged to come up with their own unique and individual solutions to arts, crafts and design projects.

Special projects include coordination and display of artwork for the annual elementary visual arts exhibition and the three annual middle schools “all arts” exhibitions. Responsible for overseeing the schools “newspaper club” which writes designs and publishes its own newspaper, the kindergarten/first grade “arts and crafts club”, the second and third grade “arts, crafts and tinker lab”, the fourth – eighth grade “art and design club” and the fourth – eighth grade “explore club”. I am responsible for the schools beautification committee.


Instructor, British American School, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, (Fall 2004 - Spring 2007)

Responsible for overseeing the Art and Design department at the British American School High School and Middle School Programs.  Responsible for teaching a variety of courses including Middle School World History I, World History II, and Art.  Responsible for teaching High School Computers I, Computers II, Graphic Design, Art History, Social Studies and Sociology. Special projects include the design and maintenance of the school website www.britishvallarta.com, overseeing the exhibition of artwork for the Middle School students and coordination of the school’s Photo and Video contest and Graphics exhibition for High School students.


Instructor, Visual Communications, American Academy of Art, Chicago, Illinois, (Fall 2002 - Fall 2004)

Involved in the development of the curriculum for both the undergraduate and graduate courses in the Visual Communications department.  Responsible for teaching a variety of upper and lower level undergraduate and graduate courses in Visual Communications including: Computer Graphics Foundations, Electronic Imaging, Advanced Electronic Imaging, Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design, Advanced Two-Dimensional Design, Visual Communications I, Visual Communications III (Environmental Signage and Graphics), Digital and Pre-Press Production, Senior Portfolio, Multimedia Web Design and Graduate Level Art & Technology and Multimedia Design.  

Computer Graphics Foundations, a foundation course required for all students.  This course consists of instruction in the basics of the Macintosh operation system as well as specific use of the software programs Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and QuarkXpress.  Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of design as well as typography in relation to print design.

Electronic Imaging, an intermediate electronic imaging course for students majoring in graphic design, three-dimensional animation and multimedia web design.  Electronic Imaging focuses on two-dimensional print design and animation while executing these projects using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Image Ready and QuarkXpress.

Advanced Electronic Imaging, an advanced electronic imaging course for students majoring in graphic design, three-dimensional animation and multimedia web design.  Emphasis is placed on expanding the students understanding of the fundamentals of design through advanced use of typography, Human Centered Design principles, problem solving skills and print options.  Projects cover a variety of illustrative and pseudo-photographic techniques, promotional campaigns and static and movable type.  Software includes Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Image Ready, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere.

Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design, an introductory design course for students majoring in graphic design.  This foundation course is designed to offer students an introduction and understanding of the strategies, technical elements and tools used by graphic designers.  Directed two-dimensional assignments, initially concentrating on black and white media allow students to learn basic concepts and principles of visual organization.  Students gain hands-on experience focusing on manual skills with minimal access to the computer.  Assignments include: gestalt design, symmetry exercises, visual contrast, typography, and grid layout.  Process in emphasized and students are required to keep track of this through a sketchbook journal.

Advanced Two-Dimensional Design, an intermediate design course for students majoring in graphic design. Emphasis is placed on typography, every project emphasizes the importance of typography through a combination of manual and computer manipulated assignments.  Process in emphasized and students are required to keep track of this through a sketchbook journal.  Projects include the development of personal logos, a promotional campaign, the design of a typeface (upper and lower case letters and numerals), and a typographic series of posters.  Students are also required to work on a team project at the conclusion of the semester in which they combine both two-dimensional and three-dimensional skills in the development of an environment, promotional campaign and presentation of their perception of a space "in the pursuit of happiness."

Digital and Pre-Press Production, an intermediate course for students majoring in graphic design, three-dimensional animation and multimedia web design and illustration.  This course introduces digital and pre-press printing concerns.  Topics include the history of printing, ink and color models, manual and digital print production, technical aspects of printing and print production, working with service and service bureaus and printers, estimating budgets, working with papers, types of printing equipment, working on press and the proofing process.

Visual Communications I, the first in a series of advanced courses for students majoring in graphic design.  Emphasis is placed on two-dimensional design, and typography with projects ranging from a multi-page magazine spread, an advertising campaign, a typographic research project, and a political / social statement campaign.  Students are encouraged not only to develop their design skills but also their conceptualization and presentation skills.

Visual Communications III (Environmental Signage and Graphics), this is an advanced course for students majoring in graphic design.  Topics focus on the development of two and three-dimensional concepts, model-building and environmental design.  Projects include trade show design, external environmental design, banners, signage, display kiosks, point-of-purchase displays and billboards.

Senior Portfolio, a required course for students graduating with a degree in graphic design, multi-media web design and three-dimensional animation.  The goal of this course is to prepare the graduates for entry into the professional world.  A committee of several faculty members directs each student in the creation of an appropriate portfolio, either print, digital based or a combination of both.  Students also prepare individual design philosophy statements, resumes, personal promotional materials and work for a group gallery exhibition.

Multimedia Web Design, emphasis is placed on design through a human centered design process.  The big pictures as well as intimate details pertaining to the World Wide Web are emphasized through readings, design implementation and usability testing.  Students are expected to create a fully functional website which utilizes a combination of HTML and Dreamweaver for its creation and incorporates animation, sound and video.

Graduate Level  - Graduate Studio: Art & Technology, this graduate level course is for students working on an MFA in Digital Media and Design.  Focus in placed on readings, writings and discussions related to Art and Technology.  The semester begins with a review of the history of technology in relationship to art and design and concludes with readings about contemporary issues facing the art and design world including Human Factors, Human Centered Design and technology.

Graduate Level – Graduate Studio: Multimedia Web Design, emphasis is placed on design through a human centered design process.  Students are expected to create a fully functional website which utilizes a combination of HTML and Dreamweaver for its creation and incorporates animation, sound and video.


Instructor, Summer Studio (High School Students), American Academy of Art, Chicago, Illinois, (2003-2004)

Responsible for teaching for teaching freshman through senior high School students during a two week summer session.  Courses include Two Dimensional design and Digital Design.  Students in the Two Dimensional Design course study the principles of visual structure, harmony, balance and movement.  Projects include working with Chicago's architectural design and charcoal drawing techniques.  The Digital Design course provides an overview of how the computer can manipulate images, text and animation.  Students learn the basics and work with graphic design and multimedia projects.


Instructor, Department of Design, Robert Morris College, Chicago, Illinois, (Fall 2002)

Responsible for teaching Multimedia Web Design, an advanced Multimedia Wed Design course for undergraduate students majoring in this area.  The objective of the course was to create a personal portfolio website in Dreamweaver using a User-Centered design process.  Emphasis was placed on developing a website while expanding the students understanding of the internet and user-centered design.  Each student had to create a personal web model and conduct usability testing while designing their fully-functioning site.  Students were quizzed on various readings from a variety of Web usability texts.


Lecturer, School of Fine Arts, Department of Design, University of Kansas, (Spring 2001 - Spring 2002)

Responsible for teaching Basic Visual Communications, an intermediate level, two-dimensional, design course for undergraduate students majoring in Industrial and Interior Design.  This course emphasizes the visual communication process through basic information and visual codes and promotes understanding of those principles that aid the designer and guide the viewer to a better understanding of visual communications. Focus is given to theories of visual perception including gestalt and cognitive psychology.  Course goals include encouragement of students in their development of a methodology of design processes from research to a finished project. Emphasis in the process of: problem identification and research; creative and methodological processes including initial and developmental sketching; computer-aided problem solving and manipulations; refinement of product and necessary building or engineering methods and skills; finished product and design evaluation.  Projects emphasize learning of theoretical information through application in a series of studio-related projects including: Gestalt principles and spatial relationships through the use of computer-generated typography; development of marks/logos and logotypes into a system and its applications; research project using six codes of communication.


Teaching Assistant, School of Fine Arts, Department of Design, University of Kansas, (Fall 2000)

Assistant to Professor Lois Greene, in teaching Basic Visual Communications.  Responsible for assisting in lectures, critiques, computer instruction and grading and evaluation of student work.


Design Philosophy

Design = my creativity, my art, my passion, my life!

Design can be solely for the purpose of solving a problem for a client / user or it can have personal social or political significance. As a designer you have to balance the two. My philosophy is to produce aesthetically pleasing, user-centered solutions to the design problems that are given to me. I use my creative intellect as well as my past experiences to influence my work, yet I balance my own specific style aesthetic with a human-centered design process.

Learning is a life-long process and I am always working to learn and experience new things. This becomes a part of who I am as a person and it translates into my creative process.

As a designer I work towards solving problems, whether they are two-dimensional, three-dimensional or web-based. My work is process based. I employ an iterative process working towards a user-centered design solution. This process includes five basic steps, and to successfully reach a user-centered solution I may need to repeat these steps several times. In basic terms my process includes: 1. define the user; 2. define goals / objectives; 3. write possible scenarios; 4. initial prototypes; 5. testing.

It is imperative to include the "user" in the design process. Without feedback from potential users, essential information could be missing. Most design problems are initiated for a specific purpose and audience, and it is important to identify the audience and include them in the design process and solution.


Work Experience

Marketing and Promotions Coordinator/Graphic Designer, The Kansas and Burge Unions, KU Student Unions (November 1995 - July 2000)

Responsible for all marketing and promotions for the Kansas and Burge Unions at the University of Kansas.  Union operations include the KU Bookstores, Union Food Services, The Jaybowl Recreation Center, Administration, Building Services and Student Union Activities (SUA). Work with SUA, advising and assisting student members of that organization including supervision of three student graphic designers and a webmaster.  Organize and implement marketing, promotions, advertising, media relations, four annual Open Houses and internal public relations for the Unions.  Responsible for designing and creating all promotional materials, advertising, print materials, monthly newsletter, display cases, menus, signage, scrapbook, writing news releases, direction and ad copy for radio and television ads, and creating an annual budget and marketing plan.  Chair of the Unions Promotions Committee, served on the Unions Public Relations Committee as well and the university's "Dark at the Top of the Hill" and "MayFest" Committees. 


MayFest Coordinator, The University of Kansas, Provost's Office (1/4 time) (July 1997 - Dec. 1999)

Responsible for the coordination of The University of Kansas end of the year employee celebration, MayFest. Work with a committee of 18 faculty and staff from the university to coordinate a thank you celebration for the over four thousand employees at KU.  Responsibilities include coordination of all agendas and minutes from meetings, coordination of all public relations for the event including press releases and all graphic design elements for the event including logo, poster, postcard, letters, banners and the design and upkeep of the web page, decorations, activities, displays, stage entertainment, and coordination of a budget and contract services.


Freelance Graphic Designer, (December 1994 - present)

Freelance graphic designer working on a wide range of projects, including identity systems, websites, brochures, t-shirts, logos, posters, letterhead, video and animation, advertisements and wedding programs / invitations.  Clients have included The City of Lawrence, the KU Athletics Department, ESPN Regional Television, KU Hillel, Diversified Consultants, The Hall Center for the Humanities, The Big Eight/Twelve Conference, Van Go Mobile Arts, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Kansas, The British American School, Viejo Vallarta Restaurant, The Threo band, Wellness Innovations, Windy City Massage and Frances Nelson Health Center.


Creative Graphic Designer, Spirit Industries, Inc. (August 1994 - December 1994)

Created the 1994 design catalog, consisting of over eighty convertible designs for collegiate sportswear.

Associated Wholesale Grocers (temporary position) (June 1994 - August 1994)

Responsibilities included working on special projects for the advertising department creating advertisements, brochures, business cards and weekly flyers and creative concepts for weekly ads.

Graphic Artist/Art Director, Marketing Communications Inc. (April 1993-April 1994)

Responsibilities included the creation and implementation of art work for direct mail packages.

Designer, King Louie International (June 1992 - April 1993)

Designer responsibilities included creating original sketches for prospective clients and buyers utilizing original illustrations combined with resort, corporate, and collegiate names and logos; creating original designs for use as "stock" designs; and converting "stock" designs and sketches to utilize logos and names.


Macintosh and IBM computer experience

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Premiere

Adobe Streamline

Adobe Image Ready

Adobe After Effects

Adobe InDesign

Quark Express











British American School

Viejo Vallarta Restaurant

Maggie Mazzucca Murals

The Pedro Cortes Experience

The Design Farm

The CHS Class of 1987


Awards and Scholarships

Dorris Fair Carrey Scholarship, Recipient Fall 2000 and Spring 2001


PBD Photo Contest - Picture of the World, International Photography, University of Kansas, 2003

Best of Division, Alumni Color Photography, "Two Nudes"

Second Place, Alumni Color Photography, "Two Torsos"


National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Graphic Design Competition

1999                First Place for Non Poster Publicity (T-Shirt)

1998                First Place for Non Poster Publicity (T-Shirt)

                        Second Place for Publicity Campaign

                        Third Place for One Color Poster/Flyer

1997                First Place for Newspaper Advertisement and Publicity Campaign

                        Second Place for One Color Poster and Non Poster Publicity

1996                First Place for One Color Poster/Flier and Multi Color Poster


Association of Colleges and Universities International (ACUI) Graphic Design Competition

1999                First Place for Advertisements

1999                First Place for T-Shirts

1999                First Place for Handbills

1999                Second Place for Posters

1999                Second Place for Other (Postcard)

1999                Third Place for Brochures

1999                Third Place for Promotional Campaign

1998                First Place for Advertisements



Representation at the Gallery Latino Americano in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Student Teacher Gallery Exhibition – Pop Art & Iconography, Los Mangos Gallery, Puerto Vallarta, December 2006

Gallery Exhibition – Symbolism, Los Mangos Gallery, Puerto Vallarta, October 2005

Faculty Exhibition - Video "Double Standard", American Academy of Art Gallery, September 2003

PBD Photo Contest / Exhibition - Picture of the World, International Photography, Kansas University, April 2003

Film Festival - Video "Double Standard", American Academy of Art, April 2003

Visual Communications Exhibition - "Sisters", American Academy of Art Gallery, October 2002

Faculty Exhibition - Interactive Identity System, American Academy of Art Gallery, September 2002

Individual Exhibition - Paintings, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, August 2002

Thesis Exhibition - Interactive Identity System, University of Kansas Fine Arts Gallery, May 2002

Group Exhibition - Italian Photographs, Kansas Union Gallery, February 2002

Group Exhibition - MFA Graduate Students, University of Kansas Fine Arts Gallery, February 2001

Group Exhibition - MFA Graduate Students, University of Kansas Fine Arts Gallery, February 2000

Individual Exhibition - Paintings, Kansas Union Gallery, April 1999

Dual Exhibition - Paintings, Kansas Union Gallery, Summer 1997

Individual Exhibition - Paintings, Paradise Cafe, Summer 1997



Chris Antonsen
Literature and Writing Workshop, Countryide School

Janet Brickey
Fifth Grade Teacher, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands School

Amy Chesser
Creative Drama and Performing Arts, Countryside School