Barbara Siliezar is one cool lady! Initially, she was reluctant to be featured on the IRC blog, but after a little convincing, she agreed! And I am so glad she did because hers is a story worth sharing.
Barbara describes herself as “athletic, artistic, kind, responsible, respectful, and funny.” And all these traits came through during her interview. She recently graduated from California Baptist University (Cal Baptist), earning a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media. I spoke with Barbara to learn more about her so I could share her story with the IRC Community!
Amelia Maldonado (AM): Thanks for meeting with me, Barbara! So, before we dive in, I understand you recently got back from Camp Paivika. How was your camp experience?
Barbara Siliezar (BS): Camp Paivika is awesome! I love doing the activities like sports and horseback riding. I love seeing old and new counselors and being around them. Also, I like the evening programs like the dance, talent show, etc. This camp treats everyone with respect and like family, whether you have a disability or not. Everyone feels important. I go every summer.
AM: That is so cool! It sounds really fun. Let’s talk about college. Why did you choose to study graphic design at Cal Baptist?
BS: When I took a tour of California Baptist University, I looked at one of their classes and talked to one of the students about the projects they were working on. I just suddenly got sparked and said to myself “I want to learn that, too”. I had also heard their program was great and had seen pictures of student projects. I became interested in art when I took an art class in high school.
AM: I understand you are quite the artist and work in various mediums, in addition to digital work.
BS: Yes. I like to draw and paint, in acrylic or watercolor. Things like cartoons, animals, people, and much more.
AM: Tell me about your coursework and senior project.
BS: There were a lot of classes I took that I couldn’t choose, but I liked them all. There was design, which you can use for ads, posters, etc. In typography, you design with words and different types of fonts. In videography we learned how to shoot a video: comedy, horror, documentary, etc. In my animation class, which I loved, we learned to make cartoons or pictures move. I also took a 3D class where you design work using 3D images. In the senior project class, I learned to represent myself, how to go to interviews, research companies, show a portfolio, and more.
AM: What would you say the biggest challenge was during your college years? And how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge during my college years was trying to juggle time, homework, projects, etc. I wanted to be able to do them on time and not be late. I felt like I couldn’t handle it with all those tasks! But with my parents’ support, I made it.
How did I overcome the challenge? I planned out my schedule while looking over the due dates to see what assignments to turn in or when I had an exam.
AM: You mentioned your parents’ support. Can you tell me more about your support system?
BS: Sure! My support system is my family. They have always supported me. They have helped me, for example, when I wanted to play soccer or when I wanted to try surfing. When I had problems understanding chemistry, math, or English subjects, they always stood by me.
AM: That is really awesome, Barbara. I’d like it if you could give our readers some advice. What would you say to someone with a disability who is nervous about going to school or working?
BS: I would say, “It’s ok to be nervous. I was in your shoes too! It will take time, but you will meet a lot of friends and everything will be alright.”
AM: That’s great advice for anyone looking to try something new! I’d love to hear about your graduation day and how that felt.
BS: When graduation day came, I was excited! I thought to myself, “I’m ready for this day.” I thought, “I can make everybody proud of me that came from a long way.” I’d never felt so proud before about something I had accomplished.
AM: What would you like people to know most about you, Barbara?
I would like them to know that I am a person who likes to learn, experience new things, and am goal-oriented. I never give up!
AM: Amazing. One last question! What are your passions outside of design?
BS: Well, I like to do design work, as well as draw and paint for myself, to keep me going.
I also like to play and watch soccer. I follow the US women’s national soccer team which recently won the World Cup. Again!
I like cartoons, anime, going to the movies, going to theme parks, and so much more!
AM: What a full life you lead, Barbara. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with you. And I wish you continued success!
BS: It was nice meeting you, too. Thanks!
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