First-generation MIAD student immerses himself in college experience

Dylan Haertl For Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) first-year student Dylan Haertl, learning isn’t confined to 8 – 5 o’clock, Monday through Friday. It permeates his everyday life.

“MIAD as a college and as an art studio keeps me coming back and thinking about it all day,” says Dylan. “I can use what I have learned outside of classes to improve my way of living.”

One way the Milwaukee native integrates learning into his day-to-day experiences is by utilizing his field book. As part of MIAD’s reinvigorated First-Year Experience curriculum, all first-year students receive a field book in which to reflect on their coursework. Dylan uses his for both writing and sketching when he thinks of designs for class projects. Students are encouraged to carry them everywhere, so he can use it whenever the inspiration strikes.

As a Communication (Graphic) Design major, Dylan hopes to turn a degree from MIAD – one of Graphic Design USA’s 2017 Top Graphic Design schools – into a job at an advertising or marketing firm, designing logos and other projects for companies. “I really like the idea of creating logos and advertising products for the purpose of getting a message across,” he says. Messaging isn’t just important in the advertising world, Dylan knows. As a first-generation college student, he believes his success could also send an important message to those closest to him – that they too can achieve success at the college level.

“I see myself as being a role model for future generations in my family as to how important a degree is. A college degree is essential to getting a good job in this age.”

Financial aid made it possible for Dylan to enroll at MIAD, a college he wanted to attend ever since MIAD did a collaborative Future Designers project with his high school’s art department. MIAD representatives led the project and invited Dylan and his Ronald Reagan High School art classmates to present the result on campus. The students then took tours and received more information about the college, helping Dylan to realize that MIAD was the place for him. Grants, scholarships, and other financial aid made it a reality.

“Without aid, it would have been really hard to have the weight and burden of coming to college knowing I may not be able to afford it,” he says. Receiving the Wisconsin Grant and other financial assistance keeps Dylan’s mind on ideas and designs instead of worries.

“It makes me less worried about the financial struggles and obstacles I will have to face after leaving college and helps me to focus on my work now,” he says. “MIAD in a sense has opened my eyes and changed my way of living.”

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