Dia Brown, 23, of Merrillville, graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and graphic design.
Brown originally went away to school, but she missed home terribly and returned after the first year. The Andrean High School alumna laughs that her mom even tried to “bribe her with a puppy,” to return to the residential university. Unsure, Brown dragged her feet about registering for classes. Then, about a week before classes were to begin, she enrolled at IU Northwest instead.
Then came more indecision. After five semesters pursuing a degree in business administration, Brown decided her chosen major wasn’t the right fit either.
“I eventually landed on CIS/graphic design because I’ve always been interested in the creative industry,” Brown said. “The graphic design program has allowed me to bridge my previous knowledge of the business industry with a creative edge.”
Even though she felt changing course was the right move, Brown felt pressured to finish her degree in four years.
“When my family and friends learned I was changing my major after five semesters, I had to face a lot of hard questions and defend my reasoning,” she said.
Switching gears turned out to be the right decision for Brown. She has learned how to blend her creative skills and technology and use them effectively in the professional world.
While pursuing her degree, Brown worked in IU Northwest’s University Information Technology Services (UITS) as a support center consultant and secured an internship at IU Northwest where she learned about web content management systems.
Reflecting on her educational journey, Brown says that staying close to home was absolutely the right call. IU Northwest’s proximity to Chicago enabled her to work as an intern creating graphics for the American Osteopathic Association and pursue another passion: acting – something she dabbled in on the set of a few shows in Chicago.
“IU Northwest enabled me to obtain my degree from the comfort of my hometown, with the support of my family and friends, while still challenging me intellectually and providing me with opportunities for growth,” she said.
As Brown anticipates graduation day, she is sending her resume and portfolio to companies in Chicago and Los Angeles.
About the Class of 2017:
Indiana University Northwest will confer 643 degrees at the 51st Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 11, 2017. The Class of 2017 will collectively receive 64 associate’s degrees, 532 bachelor’s degrees and 47 master’s degrees. Sixty-nine percent of this year’s graduating class are female and nearly 25 percent are over the age of 30. The most numerous degree to be granted is the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology followed by the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The oldest and youngest graduating students are 64 and 20 years of age, respectively.