IND Online Student Designs Innovative Truck Topper

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    Like many great inventions, Brian Johnson’s innovative truck topper stemmed from a problem. As a truck owner and outdoor enthusiast for 25 years, he was familiar with the challenges of attaching, removing and storing toppers—also known as camper shells—that already existed. Johnson developed Aegis, a modular truck cover system, for his thesis project while earning his M.F.A. in industrial design through Academy of Art University’s online program.

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    Appreciating Cultural Value

    From small town to big city, multidisciplinary Academy of Art University photography B.F.A. alumna Caitlin Coates is putting her photography and passion for art history to work at Heritage Auctions’ main headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

    Coates hails from Oklahoma and ventured to California to study photography at the Academy, where she not only learned and honed her skills but grew a deep passion for art history. “I moved to San Francisco when I was 19. I had never been to California before,” Coates said. “It took me out of my Midwestern bubble and helped me grow as a person and a career woman. I can still remember which [instructors] would tear me apart. It would drive me insane when [they] would tell me my work is ordinary. If you’re shy, it destroys your confidence at first. But it teaches you how to talk and backup what you do. It gave me a backbone.”

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    Alumna’s Labor of Love Leads to Deal With Safeway

    This Valentine’s Day promises to be extra sweet for Bay Area entrepreneur Shirley Ladler-Dennis. Safeway stores (as well as Albertsons and Vons, part of the same conglomerate) around the country are now selling a valentine-themed version of her patented Diva-So-Easy pop-up gift baskets.

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    School of Industrial Design Grad Designs Exterior for 2018 Jeep Wrangler

    Steve Goodrich started doodling pictures of cars and trucks as a little boy growing up in Vermont. It was a practice he continued in high school—he was the guy who was always drawing while taking notes in class. Goodrich is still sketching vehicles today. But now his designs are featured in real cars, including the exterior of the 2018 Jeep Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Wrangler, which was unveiled to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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    Artful Teaching


    School of Art Education alumnus Ryan Kurada with his first grade class at University Elementary School at La Fiesta. Photo courtesy of Ryan Kurada.

    Sitting in his history of art education class at the Academy of Art University, Ryan Kurada was inspired by a philosophy that would shape his future as a teacher. Kurada graduated from the School of Art Education in Fall 2013 and has been a full-time teacher at University Elementary School at La Fiesta in Rohnert Park, California, for two years.

    It was at the Academy where he learned about an education philosophy that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy. A philosophy that integrates art across the curriculum to teach all types of learners.

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    Army Lifestyle Suits Photography Student Garrick Morgenweck & His Family

    Icy Dawn

    An image from Garrick Morgenweck’s series Dustoff. An HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk with C 3-10 GSAB sits ready to respond as the sun rises during a Lake Effect Storm Warning. Photo and caption by Garrick Morgenweck.

    Some might view devoting years of one’s life to military service as a sacrifice. But Garrick Morgenweck considers his lengthy Army career a boon for him and his family. Along with providing financial stability for his wife and three daughters, the military has given him the means to pursue personal dreams—such as studying photography—that likely wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

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