Applying for the AAUW Career Development Grant

AAUW advances equality for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.  Career Development Grants provide assistance to women who, through additional higher education, technical training, or participation in professional development institutes, are making career changes, seeking to advance in current careers, or re-entering the workforce.

Filling out the grant application really made me think about my career and goals. I wanted to save and share some of my answers as a record of my current ideas and encourage other women to apply and advance their careers too!


Have you ever been involved with activities promoting equity for women and girls?

I have experience promoting on a professional level. My biggest contribution to promoting equity for women and girls is in leading by example and sharing my creative stories through media and social platforms.

How will this grant enable you to help create a more favorable environment for the promotion of education and equity for women and girls.

This grant will enable me to complete my M.A. and create a more favorable environment for the promotion of education and equity for women and girls in 3 ways.

  1. The M.A. degree makes me eligible to teach at a college level and reach a larger audience.
  2. New skills I’m learning with scholarly writing will allow me to publish and share new knowledge. In my first quarter published, “Talking to Inanna: Faces of the Goddess in Art” and “Lynn Creighton’s Empowering Bronze Female Figures
  3. The M.A. program has an emphasis in depth psychology that explores the creative unconscious, and its emphasis on arts practice. The new info about psyche will enhance my freelance services.

What prompted you to return to school?

I was laid off from my career as Creative Director due to a company merger and decided to try freelance in 2011. I’ve been growing my business slowly, self-funding with help from family, and I have not been taken out any loans. I balance between growing my business / potential income and working on client projects / making money. I decided to go back to school in the summer of 2014 to expand my career options and hopefully take my business to the next level. I know the services that I offer are needed in a range of industries from media to product development. My challenge is in explaining what it is I do and the value of creative services. At Pacifica they understand creativity. They also understand people. It is my belief that the MA will allow me to express concepts about creativity.

Explain how your grant-year course of study will enhance your career goals and future.

The grant year will be the final year of my M.A. I believe that an M.A. is a key piece in increasing earning potential. My plan is to offer creative workshops to established companies. I will market my creativity workshops to in-house teams that are working on advertising campaigns, leadership, and product development. The material I am studying right now in school will allow me to develop the material for these workshops. I have researched simiar companies like, Board of Innovation. In the case that I fail at my growing my business, I hope to seek employment as a manager with an existing company, like Board of Innovation. The M.A, degree also qualifies me to teach at a college level, something I aspire to do later in life.

Two years after graduating with a BFA in painting I was Art Director for a local news publisher. I moved into web design and worked with start up online web technologies. In 2011 the wiki repair and online store platform I was lead visual designer on,, won best online community at SXSW. I was recruited in 2010 and hired as Creative Director by a mobile marketing company. Today I work for myself at Foreverbird Studio. At the moment my clients are individuals, small business, and startup companies. I offer them graphic design services. While doing freelance work I have also applied for a few jobs. It’s tricky because I am overqualified for graphic design jobs and under qualified for senior management positions.

Explain your reason(s) for enrolling at your selected institution.

I selected Pacifica for 3 main reasons.

  1. First is because it’s a hybrid-low residency program that I could fit into my schedule. It is considered a traditional school as opposed to online school. It is located near my hometown. My family lives in Santa Barbara, my friends, most of my clients, and I grew up here.
  2. There is also an artist in residence at Pacifica I like. Joel Weishaus is a digital literary artist. He comes from a background in advertising and his work blurs traditional boundaries by utilizing technology and images.
  3. Money was also a concern with my choice in education as well. As a hybrid program it is a less expensive option and also allows me the time to work and maintain my existing financial responsibilities. My family lives in Santa Barbara and offered to host me while I’m in school and figuring out my finances.

Document the trends in your career field as well as the impact on women’s employment in your chosen occupation.

I have contacted local free business advisors (SCORE, SBDC). Suggestions; outsourcing, advertising, public speaking, new marketing, networking, one time projects, and products (workshops) to sell.

It is widely accepted that women in design can reach new levels of success “Historically women have thrived on new turf where there are no male custodians and they are free to invent their own ways of working…” I am a member of AIGA the professional association for design. AIGA has a women leadership initiative. Still, “Why do so few women reach the top of design? The short answer is the same lack of self-belief and entitlement that dogs them in every other profession…”- SOURCE NY Times

2015 Design Trends

  1. Designers must be able to draw on experience and knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, including the social sciences and humanities, in order to solve problems in a global, competitive market of products and ideas.
  2. Messaging will shift from mass communication to more narrow definitions of audiences (special interest design), requiring designers to understand both differences and likenesses in audiences and the growing need for reconciliation of tension between globalization and cultural identity.
  3. Designers must recognize that the pursuit of excellence involves focusing clearly on human-centered design in an era of increasingly limited resources, in which appropriateness is defined by careful and necessary use of resources, simplicity, avoidance of the extraneous and sensitivity to human conditions. SOURCE AIGA

Design Job Outlook

In 2012, about 24 percent of graphic designers were self-employed. Employment is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. – SOURCE

In May 2012, the median annual wage for Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers was $88,590. The median annual wage for marketing managers was $119,480 in May 2012. Employment is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. – SOURCE

If money were no object this would be my life:

I am organizing a new show that features a collection of mobile art vehicle designs. The exhibit is part of a series thei year on designing for mobility presented by the organization I founded. We promote innovative women who work in the field of art, design, and technology and provide art residencies, media services, and a exhibition space. I regularly host events for AIGA and other worthy organizations. I have a collection of vehicles that includes; Alpine Capsule by Lovegrove Studio, Opera, MercuryHouseOne, Spacebuster, classic red Corvette convertible and The Verdier. Many of the vehicles in my collection are used by non-profit programs, like ARTesia Healing Arts and Youth Interactive, to reach people in inner cities and rural areas who are in need of their services. I employ and support many creatives. We all share a focus on family, friends, nature, spirit, and animals. Together we are making a difference on the planet. My clothes, my furniture, everything I own, and my life activities reflect the highest expression of the divine possible in physical form.