Wednesday, March 25, 2009

K-Frog Graphic Artist Set To Receive Art Institute Degree

Michelle Cossota, graphic artist for K-FROG radio station, took on the challenge of obtaining a second bachelor’s degree while working full-time. She felt the training in graphic design would help her to do her job better. She will receive this degree from The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire on Friday, March 27 as a member of the school’s first graduating class. She's with Jana Rawling, academic director of the Graphic Design program at The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire. Manny Otiko photo

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Highland Resident Michelle Cossota already had a great job and a bachelor’s degree, but she wanted to do her job even better.

She started with The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire in April 2006, already working full-time as a graphic artist in the Marketing Department of K-FROG Radio Station. Now, that hard work has paid off, as she will be receiving a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Arts on Friday, March 27.

When she enrolled, Cossota said convenience and flexibility were two of the most important factors in choosing The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. As it turned out, it was only because of her own and many other people’s flexibility that she is now graduating.

“I was able to balance full-time enrollment and full-time employment due to the wonderful support I received from my instructors and advisors at Ai, my employer, K-FROG, and my husband and family,” Cossota said. “It was the encouragement, understanding, and many times the flexibility from all entities involved that helped me get through the program.”

Some quarters, Cossota was able to take advantage of online, night and evening courses. During other quarters, with the support of her supervisors at K-FROG, she took classes during the day but was given leeway by Art Institute instructors if a K-FROG project interfered with her ability to attend class.

“This was extremely important because I work full time and my job is a priority,” she said.

Cossota, who also has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of La Verne, has worked for K-FROG for more than six years. Her duties include putting together event proposals and designing presentation materials, flyers, banners and posters.

“It was because of K-FROG that I went back to school,” Cossota said. “I had been doing a lot of the artwork for the station during my first three years there and in 2006 they gave me the title of Graphic Designer. I wanted to feel like I deserved that title and knew the only way I to accomplish this was to gain the knowledge and technical training.”

Cossota said Art Institute instructors are veterans of their various industries and bring that expertise to the classroom. This was important to her from the beginning, and became even more important as she interacted with them for three years

“They were able to provide students with real world situations and share their experiences,” she said. “The staff has a passion for what they do and what they teach. When I was overwhelmed, it was their passion and encouragement that reminded me of why I am doing what I am doing and reminding me that the stress I might have now is going to pay off in the future.”

Jana Rawling, academic director for Graphic Design, is one of the many Art Institute instructors who has helped Cossota improve her graphic design skills. She’s especially proud of Cossota for her work designing an invitation to the first Graduate Portfolio Review, a quarterly event allowing new graduates an opportunity to showcase their work before potential employers.

“Michelle is a great designer because she understands all of the research and development so her work continues to improve faster than the average student,” Rawling said. “My goal is to enhance her position in the industry so she can get the job she dreams about and move anywhere she wants. I am sure she will do well when she graduates.”

Cossota said that after graduation she wants to continue learning her craft and refining her skills. “It is important for me to love what I do -- design,” she said.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation. It offers an Associate degree in Graphic Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design.

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers an Associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Management. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start a new term at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin April 6 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (, with 42 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. For more information about The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, call (909) 915-2100 or visit