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Art Graduates' Success Stories

Andrea McDonough Varner

BA in Art
K-12 Teaching Certification
Elementary Art Teacher, Williamsport, PA

Andrea McDonough Varner teaches art education at Lycoming as well as 2-D visual arts at the Williamsport Area High School. Andrea is the K-12 art department coordinator for the Williamsport school district. She received her B.A. from Lycoming College, M.A.Ed. from Mansfield University, and holds a Pennsylvania certificate in supervision of curriculum and instruction. McDonough Varner's current work explores issues of feminism and environment, largely influenced by her family and sustainable lifestyle. She has been awarded several grants to extend visual learning experiences for area students and community members, primarily through the production of public art works.

"The art that I made for my Graduate thesis developed the style I've been moving toward for awhile: experimental mixed media that is as non-toxic as possible."

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Jaime DeMarco

BA in Photography
Photographer & Owner Jaime DeMarco Photography,
Philadelphia, PA

Jaime has had his eye attached to the lens of a camera since childhood. The diversity of Jaime DeMarco's training, his curiosity for life, and his sheer love of photography are reflected every time he presses the shutter button. After graduating from Lycoming, Jaime worked for Urban Outfitters as a fashion photographer before opening his own studio. His clients include Urban Outfitters, Chanel, People Magazine, Phase One, Modern Salon, Lost Highway Films and the US Air Force. DeMarco is a featured photographer for Phase One Digital Backs and has been published both nationally and internationally.

"I mainly shoot fashion advertising and editorial. When I get free time I still love to shoot environments. All the film training at Lyco has allowed me to create new techniques so that my digital work looks and reacts like film. I try to keep Photoshop to a minimum if the look can be achieved with analog technique and lighting skill. I still color balance with gels and I have digital curves that mimic all my favorite films. I shoot for Phase One and Hasselblad, they even put my techniques and workflow's in their textbooks. Isn't that a trip? I guess my point is that I wouldn't have been able to develop any of the processes if it hadn't been for Lyco art faculty making sure I had strong roots in traditional photography."

Personal Website

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Carrie Firman

BA, Double Major: Commercial Design and Photography
MFA SUNY at Buffalo
Graphic Design Faculty and Multi-media Artist

Carrie Firman is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at Edgewood College in Madison, WI. Carrie was employed as a Graphic Designer and Production Manager in the Williamsport area for four years after graduation. Then she decided to go back to school for her MFA, and she was awarded a full tuition teaching assistantship and a Dean's Fellowship by the State University of New York at Buffalo Department of Visual Studies. Graduating in 2011, she also received a Mark Diamond Research Foundation grant in her second year of study and traveled to Nashville, London, and Stockholm to present her thesis work at the American Synesthesia Association, UK Synaesthesia Association, and Center for Consciousness Studies conferences, respectively. Carrie then completed three competitive artist residencies in the US and UK upon graduation, was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Love of Learning Award, and maintained freelance design clients. Her work will be exhibited at the Art Laboratory Berlin Gallery in Germany during 2013.

"My time at Lycoming promoted interdisciplinary exploration and was a good mix of knowledge and technical skill. We were also encouraged to donate our talents to not-for-profit organizations, which I have continued to do since graduation. I chose to teach at a small liberal arts college because of my experience at Lycoming."

Personal Website

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Jon Kohr

BA in Sculpture
Contractor/Owner, Old City Restoration, Williamsport, PA

Jon started working on historic preservation and restoration in Philadelphia after graduation and then moved back to Williamsport where he continued to learn more about contracting and restoration working with retired sculpture professor Jon Bogle for about a year before starting his own company, Old City Restoration. Kohr continues to create fine art in addition to artful historic renovations and one of his sculptures was chosen for purchase as part of the Public Art program by the city of Williamsport.

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Cristi Beeler

BA in Art, K-12 Teaching Certification
High School Art Teacher, Selinsgrove, PA

Christi wanted to teach art at the high school she attended from her first day in art class. A month after graduation she landed the job.

"Lycoming College gave me everything I needed and more to fulfill my dream of becoming an art teacher. The art department was incredible from its staff to its' resources and opportunities. I always felt surrounded by wonderful people who were always there to help and I absolutely couldn't have asked for more! I didn't want to leave Lycoming, and all the wonderful staff, after graduating. I did, however; feel confident that I now knew everything I needed to know to be the best I could be at my future job.
It was my absolute dream job to become a teacher within my district, and I am certain I wouldn't have been able to have the amazing portfolio of experience if it wasn't for Lycoming College. How fortunate can one person be! I am currently teaching ceramics, sculpture, drawing, painting, and soon to teach digital photography."

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Elenore Lubas

BA, Art and Psychology; MA Marywood University
Art Therapist

Elenore graduated with honors from Lycoming College and received her MA in Art Therapy from Marywood University. She is currently a practicing licensed professional counselor and board certified art therapist. After receiving her MA, Lubas taught Art Therapy as an adjunct professor at Marywood University.

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Erin Gavin

BA, Art History, 2014

Erin graduated from Lycoming with a BA in Art History and minors in Photography and Archaeology. She is currently attending the Post-Baccalaureate program in Art Conservation at Studio Art Centers International (SACI for short) in Florence, Italy. This year long program is an intensive, hands-on program, where she works with artwork, archaeological artifacts and murals belonging to the Italian state, learning the basics of art conservation for many different objects. After completing this program, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Art Conservation, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professional conservator.

“Lycoming helped prepare me for my time in Florence greatly. I was able to take many studio art and art history classes, whose lessons I have already applied in my work at SACI. All of the studio classes I was able to take at Lyco gave me an understanding of how the artist techniques work, and my art history classes provided a great wealth of knowledge. Seeing things in person that I learned about in “art in the dark” with Dr. Golahny is definitely a surreal (but amazing) experience. Going from seeing Brunelleschi’s Duomo on a projection screen in the dark to living right around the corner from it is certainly quite a leap!”

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Jason H. Shipley

BA in Commercial Design
Communications Manager, General Dynamics Information Technology, Washington, DC

Jason is the Communications Manager for the Army National Guard Distributed Learning Program, responsible for brand management, product positioning, product launch management and marketing research and well as integrated marketing communications, advertising and promotional campaigns designed to reach National Guard Soldiers and industry representatives.


Before his role with GDIT, Shipley managed the Department of Defense Critical Infrastructure Program website at Alion Science and Technology, Inc., were he oversaw contract performance, hosting environments, member databases, content management, and budget management. From 2005 to 2007, he was the creative designer for Alion's Counter MeasuresTM division, responsible for design, development and brand awareness. In 2004, Jason launched eLevated designsTM, a freelance business, supporting Alion, National Geographic and small business clients in web design and development, search engine optimization and print design.

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Sarah Sipe

BA, Art and Psychology; MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology at Marymount University; current Graduate Student in Forensic Art and Facial Identification

Sarah Sipe graduated from Lycoming in 2015 as a double major in General Art and Psychology. She earned her MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology at Marymount University in 2017. Sarah is currently attending a MSc program at the University of Dundee in Scotland for Forensic Art and Facial Identification. The program is run through the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), which was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2013. This year long program focuses on the anatomy and science behind recreating faces from skulls and age progressions. It is taught using a wide range of techniques, including cadaver dissection and 3D-imaging techniques. After graduation, Sarah hopes to work identifying missing persons or disaster victims.

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Sarah Gibbons

BA, Photography and Art History
MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design
Photography Faculty at Arts Institute of Raleigh-Durham

Sarah moved to New York City after graduation and worked closely with photographers and gallery directors to create custom prints in her position as Head of the Printing Department at Sous Les Etoiles Retouching Studio in Soho, New York City. The opportunity to print with photographers Jean-Michel Berts, John van der Schilden, Tony Kim, Liz Von Hoene and illustrator Izak made her job both exciting and challenging. Sarah has also worked for The Maine Media Workshops, in Rockport, ME. Sarah earned her MFA and she is currently teaching at The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham in Durham, NC. Personal Website

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Stephanie Mendolia

BA in Commercial Design; MFA, Parsons School of Design
Co-Owner/Head Designer, Green Ball Media, New York, NY

Stephanie graduated from Lycoming a semester early and was accepted in the MFA program at Parsons School of Design, where she earned her MFA Design & Technology. She works as a graphic designer, multimedia artist and art director for a wide range of clients, including Mercedes Benz, The Ad Council, Shoshanna, and Vigoss Jeans, and currently is co-owner and head designer of Green Ball Media in New York City.

"My experience running a family business and my education in commercial art & advertising at Lycoming truly gave me the knowledge to run my own company. It's hard work but very rewarding."

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Michael Bell

BA in Art
K-12 Teaching Certification
High School Art Teacher, Fine Art Painter, Harwood, MD

Michael is accomplished in both the art world and in the field of art education, playing a vital role in pioneering the development of a Visual Journaling movement, giving workshops throughout the country, and donating his time and art to numerous charity benefits that have helped raise awareness and thousands of dollars from his painting sales. In 2013 Michael Bell was named Washington Post's "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" and received the national 2013 William U. Harris College Board Award and Dr. James E. Douthat Lycoming College Outstanding Alumnus Award. Bell received the National Art honor Society Sponsor of the Year Award and for the fourth year in a row, one of his students won the National Rising Star Award in Painting Award at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) 2013 National Art Convention.

Michael Bell played an instrumental role in Southern High obtaining National Blue Ribbon status and his National Blue Ribbon Presentation proposal on "Family and Community Engagement through Advanced Studies in Arts, Innovation and Design" was one of only two secondary education presentations selected by the U.S. Department of Education. Michael was nominated for the 2011 National Outstanding Young Educator of the Year Award. He received the Good Shepherd Community Service Award in Los Angeles for his activism in raising domestic violence awareness, and was awarded the Maryland Art Education Association "Most Outstanding Art Educator Award."

As a professional artist, Michael Bell has tapped into America's love affair with Gangsters in Hollywood, with an infamous painting clientele that includes the late John Gotti and numerous actors from movie blockbusters such as "The Sopranos", "Goodfellas", "A Bronx Tale" & more.

"I blossomed at Lycoming College. The Art Department faculty encouraged me, and believed in me as an artist when no one else did and this gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. Painting, for me, is a dynamic process of self-exploration and a constructive way to give form and meaningful expression to an experience. I investigate problems on a personal and intuitive level. It's the journey that constantly fuels my mind. It's a timeless, cinematic world where stories are born. All I am is what I create. It's my blessing to share with the world."

Personal Website

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Uma DeSilva

BA, Double Major: Commercial Design and Computer Science
Graphic Artist and Marketing Director of Baja Spas/Baja Products, LTD., Tucson, AZ

Uma lives in sunny Tucson, AZ where she works for Baja Spas, the international hot tub inventors and manufacturers of the first acrylic spa. Since graduating from Lycoming, Uma has continued to diversify her skills and has added marketing, product design, and engineering consultation to her resume. In her free time, Uma heads a rock band and teaches theater and fine arts to children ages 5-18.

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Gabriel Riggs

BA in Painting & Commercial Design
Graduate Student in Interdisplinary Art at Eastern Michian University

Gabriel graduated in 2015 and is working towards his MFA at Eastern Michigan University. He works as a Graduate Assistant in the Printmaking studios there. He also works for Central Booking, a gallery in New York City that he began working for as part of his Commercial Design internship at Lycoming College. He is also the designer behind the snazzy website you are looking at right now.

Personal Website ×

Venessa Lechler

BA, Double Major: Painting and Art Generalist
K-12 Teaching Certification
High School Art Teacher, Montoursville, PA

Venessa teaches high school art full-time at Montoursville Area High School and is working on her masters in Art education at Edinboro University. “I feel so lucky to be working at my dream job. It is wonderful to be teaching students and watching them grow and progress as artists. It is an honor to work with and around talented and caring people.”

“Lycoming College was everything I could have asked for in a school. The faculty and staff were very caring and supportive. I was always challenged and pushed to do my best. Having smaller class sizes was also very helpful for me. It allowed for more one on one interaction with professors and added to the sense of community of the college.”

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