March 23, 2023
Graduating with four degrees from Shawnee State University – two associates (Natural Sciences and Arts & Humanities) and two bachelor’s degrees (Biomedical Sciences and Graphic Design), Anna Trankina has found a career path to excel in. Now the Digital Designer & Photographer at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, Trankina is thrilled to be working at a facility voted the “#1 Science Museum in the Nation” by USA Today’s 10Best for its fourth consecutive year.
“It’s a place that mixes my love of science with my love of art - it was a perfect choice,” said Trankina. “In this position, I am responsible for designing digital marketing elements for social media platforms, email campaigns, and digital advertisements. With support from my team, I spearheaded the redesign and cadence of a new bi-weekly electronic newsletter, The Circuit, which was recently awarded a RUBY Award by the Ohio Travel Association in 2022 for top innovative ‘Newsletters’. I also work with our Website Manager on designing website layouts for incoming exhibitions.”
Trankina first chose to attend SSU because of its quality education and reputation as a tight-knit academic community.
“At SSU, very rarely do you have a teacher assistant as a professor,” said Trankina. “Day one your freshman year you are taught by professors who have the terminal degree in their field, whether Masters or PhD, unlike at bigger universities where you may not see a professor with a terminal degree teaching a course until your junior or senior year. The campus itself is smaller and easy to navigate, and the class sizes are small enough in size that I knew all my professors and they knew me by name.”
Originally putting herself on the Pre-Med route, Trankina had a love of science and knew that a career in medicine would allow her to be of help to others — which is what she always wanted. However, throughout her life, Trankina had found a gravitation towards art and often used art as a stress outlet. Taking a multitude of art classes while still in the midst of her Pre-Med degree, she soon realized that art provided a sense of fulfillment and joy. As she finished her Biomedical Sciences degree, she decided to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts as well.
“Art and science go together so well that it often humors me when people tell me that my degree programs are quite a different mix,” she said. “In Anatomy, I would study every bone, every crevasse, lump and curvature of the skeleton and then walk over to the Vern Riffe building and be tasked with drawing a perfectly proportional skeleton in Life Drawing. The list goes on and on – so to me it made sense.”
One of Trankina’s favorite memories at SSU is the Senior Art Show from her final senior year where she won the “Award of Excellence” for Graphic Design.
“It was a moment I got to share with my parents who were in attendance, beaming with smiles, with my friends, classmates, and my art professors— those people who helped me get to that accomplishment,” said Trankina. “It was also a moment that I thanked God for the strength and guidance to get to — it was a prayer answered, a blessing. I chose a path of study that I was decent at — it was a field of study that I could do something in my life with and most importantly, that I loved. When you have that moment of clarity and gratification after a lot of hard work, it means everything.”
In her final year studying at SSU, Trankina began working as a design intern for the university’s Office of Marketing & Communications. Soon after graduation, she was offered a full-time position as the department’s Marketing Content Creator, where she took on photography and videography for events and athletics in addition to her graphic design role. In 2021, she accepted her position as the Digital Designer for COSI. Already, she has expanded the skill sets she uses in her role.
“While working at COSI I asked if I could take on the role of being the in-house photographer for the company because it was a skillset I had developed and I thought it could be of use to the institution,” she said.
As the photographer for COSI, Trankina has traveled to Dubai, London, and Paris to photo-journal several of the institution’s projects and partnerships, as well as many events around the U.S.
“I have enjoyed it immensely,” said Trankina. “I got to grow as a photographer by being able to quickly look for my opportune shots at a moment's notice like never before. I got to travel across the world and learn about interactive experiences from a guest’s perspective. I’ve learned a lot more about the importance of marketing online and on social media through advertisement placements.”
Trankina’s advice to students considering a career path similar to hers is to gain as much experience in Graphic Design as possible and to show off your skills.
“The more opportunities you have to gain design experience, seize them — even if you don’t get paid – experience is experience,” said Trankina. “Applying for jobs in the art world is different than applying in other fields. You are hired on your experience and degree, yes, but you also have to have a stellar portfolio to even be considered. So, make sure yours is one to remember.”
To learn more about the Graphic Design program at Shawnee State University, visit shawnee.edu/graphic-design.