Marina Kohls didn’t initially appear to be headed for a career in art or graphics design.
Kohls had always been a fan of photography and took plenty of pictures of family and friends when she was 13 years old.
However, a class Kohls took her freshman year at didn’t exactly go as planned for the local resident, so she found an alternative way of developing her skills.
“I took an art class my freshman year of high school and really did poorly,” said Kohls. “It was all art history. Then I went to and they just had a whole bunch of different stuff I was interested and I decided photography was what I wanted to focus on. I realized I was more interested in the design part of it than the photo.”
EASTERN [Eastern Center for Arts and Technology] is a public school serving students in nine Eastern Montgomery County school districts. It allows students to benefit from specialized career programs.
Kohls graduated from EASTERN in 2009 and is getting ready for her junior year at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. Kohls is thriving at her school, but credits one of her former teachers at EASTERN for pointing her in the right direction.
“I’d probably be undecided if I had never met Mrs. (Nicole) Mohrey,” Kohls said. “If I hadn’t taken that class, I don’t know where I would be right now. I think when you go to art school, everyone has that one teacher that is amazing and inspires you to be an artist.”
Kohls is pursuing a degree in Fine Arts and Graphics Design, but recently discovered her main passion lies with graphics design as well as black and while photography. The switch to graphics design work will help Kohls focus on her career path.
“I’m really interested in advertising,” said Kohls. “That’s the direction I want to go in. Even without graphic design, it’s something I’ve always been interested in. It’s the kind of thing I’m just drawn to.”
The transition to Moore College was an easy one for Kohls. There are plenty of reminders at Moore of the intimacy of a small classroom which Kohls enjoyed at EASTERN.
“My class at EASTERN was very small,” Kohls said. “I had about nine people who were seniors in my graduating class. With a small class, there is a lot of individual concentration. When I went looking for a college, I wanted a school that was small and more nurturing.”
Kohls’ class choices have already put her ahead of the competition in her field. She works as a Graphic Designer at in Abington, and Kohls also teaches a youth art class at Lombard Swim Club in Philadelphia. The children in the class range from ages four through 13.
The most recent class project was the design and painting of a large-scale fairy tale castle mural.
“I love kids,” said Kohls. “I’ve always found teaching art so fascinating, especially for children because they are so impressionable and their imaginations run wild. I was really excited to work with those kids. It was a lot of fun.”
Kohl’s job at the Briar Bush Nature Center involves work in graphic design and with people who don’t have the same art background as Kohls. However, Kohls realizes how far ahead she is in the working world and considers her first graphics design job to be a valuable learning experience.
“It’s very challenging to work with people who aren’t artists,” Kohls said. “But it’s definitely a learning experience and will definitely help me in the future. That’s been the biggest challenge, but I’m definitely getting better at it.”