Leave your emotions at the door and go to work. This is how most of Angie’s days started as a patient liaison. She served as the communication link between doctors and patients’ families. As you can imagine, some days were full of delivering good news, and others were devastating. 

“[In this job], you become detached because you have to,” Angie said. “I didn’t like having to close my emotions off every day. I got tired of it.”

Even though she loved her time in the medical field, the rigorous schedule and emotional detachment had taken their toll. Something needed to change. 

After talking with Angie for only a few minutes, you quickly realize she is passionate about two things: being creative and reading. As an avid reader, she had the opportunity to meet and befriend a few authors. One author recognized Angie’s eye for design and asked her to create a few promotional materials. Angie happily accepted and taught herself how to use photoshop to create the designs. Word of her talent soon spread, and Angie found herself taking on design projects for multiple authors.

“One author commented on how well I can see colors and how they go together,” Angie said. “After some time, the authors I worked with told me I needed to do this full time.”

With that vote of confidence and the support of her family, Angie quit her job to pursue an education in design, but where?

Early in Angie’s medical career, she wanted to become a nurse and enrolled in university courses. After a few semesters, between the style of teaching and the years it would take to graduate, she decided it wasn’t for her. Having learned from this experience, Dixie Tech became the obvious choice in pursuing her new career. 

“This school was the better bet for me,” Angie said. “ I didn’t have to take any of the frivolous stuff. I could learn more in a short amount of time because frankly, I’m getting older and didn’t want to spend five years at a university.”

Another selling point for Angie was one Dixie Tech Digital Media Design Instructor, Kevin Pfunder. Her two youngest daughters had Pfunder as an art teacher in middle school and raved about how great his classes were. 

So, at 53-years-old Angie applied and was accepted to Dixie Tech’s competitive Digital Media Design program. 

“It was intimidating coming into the program,” Angie said. “Most of my instructors were as young as my kids, and the other students could pick up on new programs and concepts so quick.”

But that didn’t stop or slow her down. For every four hours spent in the classroom, she spent six to eight hours on homework to stay caught up. For someone who says they don’t like change, Angie never shied away from new opportunities. 

The DMD program offers different tracks for students to choose from. Angie initially decided to take the social media marketing track. But then the animation track and its instructors were announced. Angie figured it would be good to get the experience and made the switch. 

Once she got into the program, Angie realized that she loved animation and how it made her a better artist. Through her determination and the support of her instructors, Angie thrived in the program.

“I loved my instructors,” Angie said. “The way they taught, even their critiques, showing me what could be improved, were always very positive.” 

For their final project, students were asked to create a short video to show off their animation skills. When Angie thought about the concept for the final project, her inspiration came from books and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Emma. 

“She would say, “well, Nana, maybe you should do this, or that,” she really helped,” Angie said. 

Between Emma’s input and Angie’s creative mind, she created a captivating video. The animation featured a book open on a desk. As its pages turn, a new animation sequence featuring different genres emerges. Science fiction featured a UFO flying from the book, mystery appeared in a cloud of smoke that took the shape of Sherlock Holmes, and so on. It was a hit with her fellow students, instructors, and other staff members. 

Today, Angie is a graduate of the DMD program and is already making strides in her new career. She started her own business, Angie J Designs, specializing in graphic design, branding, and more. Her clients include Alphagraphics and, of course, a few authors. But for now, her number one animation clients are her grandchildren! 

“My younger grandchildren watch a lot of YouTube, and some of these videos are just ridiculous,” Angie said. “And I thought, ‘I could do better than that.’”

Using her talent for animation, she plans to make engaging and educational videos for her grandchildren that cater to their likes and personalities. 

Angie’s new career has given her an outlet and time. Time she has used to spend with her family. A few years ago, Angie couldn’t leave her job in the middle of the day to pick up her grandkids from school, but now that she works from home, she can. 

“I love my flexible schedule, my husband travels for work, and now I get to go with him,” Angie said. “All I need is my laptop and an internet connection.”

And maybe the best thing is that Angie doesn’t have to turn off her emotions anymore; instead, they drive her creativity and ability to create beautiful work. 

“This program is just fantastic,” Angie said. “It’s the best thing I ever did.”

Learn more about our Digital Media Design program here!