faculty

Web & Graphic Design

graphic-design-instructor

Lia has always loved using colors and design to tell stories. A creator who enjoys graphic design and photography, Lia first discovered her passion in high school while working on her high school’s theater program. From there, she went on to the University of Central Florida to earn two bachelor's degrees in Graphic Design and Visual Arts Management. Using her experience, Lia has gone on to freelance for many projects including, but not limited to, wedding packages, logos, printed materials, social media posts, senior portraits, family portraits, and more. In the classroom, Lia will share her passion for design with students in the hopes that they too will walk away with the same drive and passion. She wants to share with her students the same philosophy she lives by: “Do more of what makes you happy.” 

Lia Pirkola

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As early as age 6, Marianne came across the hard skill of sequential drawing after being disappointed with movie endings. Her passion for telling a different story drove her to work hard at drawing correctly to make stories believable for audiences—which at the time were her 3rd grade classmates. Marianne earned her Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design and graduated with honors. Her vision has guided her to freelance with Elev8 Brands, OneUtopia, Valencia College, and TOLS Multimedia. Marianne offers advice to current and incoming students: "If there is one thing I can share with students, it is this gift of seeing things differently in order to change the reality of the situation, whether it be improving your design skills or reinventing your outlook on life’s challenges as they pave their way to success in their field."

Marianne Catangay

graphic-design-instructor

Bryan is a graphic designer and illustrator specializing in branding and social media campaigns. It was not till late high school that he honed in an became an illustrator. Always maintaining a positive outlook towards new mediums, he fell in love with graphic design. Which then bled and merged into his illustration style. Later becoming certified in 3D Animation. His works only growing more refined as he pulled from these different experiences. Using his mastery over type and design fundamentals, he’s worked as a designer for both local and international companies. He’s managed ad campaigns for franchises of U.S Polo, American Weekend Entertainment, and Cool & Smooth. Working freelance he’s had the opportunity to take part in some amazing projects, some of which are still in use today. He’s designed posters for America’s Escape Game, designed unit coins for the military, and helped countless companies achieve brand goals.

Bryan Andino

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   Henry first got into Graphic Design while in high school via the local music scene in OrlandoHe made fliers, posters, album covers, t-shirt designs, and stickers for bands and friends. He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Central Florida, where he focused on Painting and Drawing. After working for a while at Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park, he moved to New York City. ThereHenry studuied at Parsons School of Design, completing their Graphic Design Certificate program. 

Working as a freelancer, Henry has had the opportunity to work on logos, packaging, menus, invitations, promotional materials, brandingand business identity. This led to opening and managing his own business in NYCIn the classroom, Henry utilizes his 

background 

of fine art, graphic design, and business management to educate other creativeto pursue their dreams and follow their own path.  

henry daviero

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Jeremy is a multidisciplinary designer and software developer, with a focus on UI/UX design, video post-production, and motion graphics. Initially driven by his love of the community around competitive gaming and Esports, Jeremy would go on to develop his skills in a number of different areas, from creating and editing videos for professional players and personalities, to overseeing and broadcasting large multimedia events in various forms. Jeremy earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Programming and Systems Development with honors & a 4.0 from Eastern Florida State College, as well as a technical certificate in UI/UX Design from Valencia. Jeremy strives every day to bring his own personal design philosophy into the classroom, which is to never be afraid to create. “Most of us got involved in the industry purely out of a desire to make things with our own hands and mind. Never be afraid to make the things that make you happy. You never know what might catch the eye of a prospective new client!” 

jeremy delancy

Graphics Design Instructor

Silas Dixon is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, with a passion for Comic Book storytelling.

This love started at an early age, writing and drawing his own stories starting in elementary school.

As a freelancer and editor he has been in the industry since 1989, working on projects for Cry for Dawn studios, Revolutionary comics, Advent comics, Dork Empire Ink, and Pilot studios among many others.

In a desire to combine his love for storytelling with a thirst for knowledge, he earned his Associates degree from FullSail University.

After completing his degree program Silas worked as a printshop manager for a local prop studio, combining large scale printing, 3d construction, and experimental fabrication techniques to complete projects for such clients as ABC, PepsiCo, Motion Twin Games, Coca Cola, the NFL, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Lacroix sparkling water and Girl Scouts of America.

This hands-on experience in multi-disciplinary production enables him to share his broad knowledge base with his students.

Silas Dixon

Graphic-design-instructor

Unique has grown up wanting a career in many different fields, but he is an idealistic and creative individual. This is what led him to pursue and complete an AS degree in Graphic Design and Interactive Design at Valencia College, where he discovered with these skills, he could work adjacent in almost any field as a creative. Since graduation, Unique has worked on various projects, including but not limited to branding, websites, and editorials. His specialization in both print and web design, while also having a knack for teaching, allowed Unique to dive into the field of education, where he teaches aspiring designers new skills and techniques. Unique currently tutors at Varsity Tutors in his free time. His advice to new aspiring designers is – “It can all be intimidating at first, but once you learn more, it becomes second nature, and we’re here to help you on that journey.”

Unique Miller

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Working on and in the arts since he could barely walk, Nicholas is passionate about developing layouts for UI/UX applications, designing logos and fliers, and about anything else that can be pretty (or pretty ugly for that matter). What started out as making web portals for his PSP through coutless YouTube tutorials has led to freelancing opportunities and enrolling in Software and Web Development at WGU. Everything from planning and coding the initial layouts to the final polishing of the graphics, typography, and other content, Nicholas loves the development process with all the sensical and nonsensical challenges that come along with it.

nicholas parry

graphic-design-instructor

Ryan has loved storytelling for as long as he can remember. Perhaps a little too much, in fact, as he often got in trouble for reading books during class in grade school!  That love expanded as he was exposed to other story-telling mediums like film and video games, and it was this love that led him to pursue a degree in Computer Science and Animate Arts at Northwestern University, with the intent of becoming a video game developer.  Life often takes us in unexpected directions though, and with the skills he developed in school, he instead walked a different path and spent the next decade as a full stack software developer, with a good chunk of that time doing consulting work for Facebook.  As a developer, Ryan still enjoys projects with a more creative bent the most, and his favorite position is being the bridge connecting the tech side with the creative side.  Teaching people how to use technology to accomplish their own creative, storytelling goals brings him a lot of joy, and he looks forward to sharing his skills and experience with the students at F.I.R.S.T.! 

Ryan Reid

graphic-design-instructor

 I got into art at a young age in elementary school. I remember my friends and I bonded over our love of comic books and that style of artwork, that’s where my passion for art in design was sparked. When I eventually started my career at an architectural firm, that fire was reignited when I found there was a graphics department. Once I started learning the Adobe software, I was able to integrate my design eye and craft presentations for the firm. This included title blocks, cover sheets, architectural illustrations, and even storytelling. Taking those skills, while learning about the power of branding, I spent several years with large corporations such as Hard Rock International and Wyndham Destinations and even worked in the world of themed entertainment designing amusement parks. I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be able to wear multiple hats while also letting my creativity flow. Throughout all the accomplishments, and the challenges, one thing has always remained constant; I love what I do.

Carmen Scafidi

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Brandon Scruggs is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach) hailing from Atlanta, GA by way of Miami, FL. During his tenure at BCU, Brandon studied Computer Information Systems where he completed courses and was later granted his B.S. in CIS (Web Development & Administration). He has an extensive history with tech and music stemming from the early 2000s where he would gain traction by learning how to troubleshoot computers as a young child. This later evolved into both a passion for the field of web development, as well as adroitness in the field of music (percussion). Brandon has performed with several award winning marching bands as well as being featured in multiple scenes of the film Drumline 2: A New Beat.

brandon scruggs

GRAPHIC-DESIGN-INSTRUCTOR

Aaron is a graphic designer, illustrator and animator who has always loved drawing pictures and making art since his first crayon drawing in elementary school. Growing up, Aaron struggled to focus in school and would always get caught doodling in his notebook. When his senior year in highschool came, people asked what he wanted to do. He would answer; “I wanna do what I like, I wanna draw.”

So Aaron then enrolled at Davis and Elkins College (D&E) and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and a minor in Business. While at D&E, Aaron excelled his skills in painting and drawing during his freshman and sophomore year. Later during his time in college, Aaron was blessed to have traveled to Italy with his professor during his freshman year and studied abroad in Australia during his junior year, both which fed his love for travel and scenery. Along with this new experience sparked his start in graphic design since he was briefly introduced to Adobe software, Photoshop/ Illustrator.

Upon his graduation, Aaron was not sure of what direction he wanted to head in. “I didn’t think I was fully prepared and my skills are not where they need to be.” So he then seized the opportunity to work towards achieving a Master’s degree by attending the Savannah College of Art and Design. He believed this path would help me build up and strengthen my art skills for the future as well as further my career goals in life. Though the process was difficult, Aaron went from being a traditional to a digital artist, learned how to animate, found his own style of art and really his true calling as a graphic artist. He then graduated from SCAD with a Master’s degree in Illustration in June 2022.

 Since then, he has gone on to work as a freelancer and done multiple projects for a variety of companies. He has done animation projects for a cosmetics company, graphic design work for a retail brand, and one big project consisting of both animation and graphic design for a family member.

As an instructor, Aaron wants to help his students find their calling and help them feel confident with their artwork. As an artist, in his opinion, the best feeling to have is when you see your art displayed and you see people smile and say that looks good, you get to be the one that says “I did that.”

Aaron Strynar