Laura Vergara, 29, always knew she wanted to create art and make a positive impact on her community. Since graduating from Loyola University Chicago in 2005, she has successfully been able to achieve both.
“Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to do something in art and being able to achieve that is pretty much a dream,” Vergara said.
Born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village, Vergara jokes that during her time at Loyola, she basically lived on the train. She commuted every day and vividly remembers other difficulties as well.
“I’d never touched a Mac computer until my first day of class and I remember asking people, ‘How do you get to this? How do you get to that?’ because I’d only worked off PCs and I always thought Macs were for the designers. You made it if you had a Mac,” she laughed.
She admits finding a job after graduation was not easy. She began as an intern at a printer near her house. Six months later Vergara landed a job at La Raza newspaper where she worked with the classifieds section and learned about newspaper layout and design, all while also freelancing on the side. However, when the economy declined, most of the production department at the newspaper was let go, including her position.
Fast-forward three years, a visual communications degree and a marketing minor have proven to be the best combination and tools for her current position as Production Director at EXTRA, a bilingual newspaper, where she’s in charge of the cover illustrations and managing all the creative design production.
If you ask her, she might attribute her success to stubbornness but those who know her say her work ethic is the true reason.
“She was a shy person but a very hard worker. She was very dedicated,” said Nicole Ferentz, director of fine arts and Vergara’s former professor. “For her senior showcase, she made a wonderful piece, it glowed with a sincere and heartfelt expression. It wasn’t just a project, it was something she wanted to see exist.”
Her former boss, Christina Rodriguez agrees.
“She’s able to take a story or whatever suggestions and guidance you give her to create something that is unique,” she said.
“It was really well-done. I mean it captured the essence of what the campaign was about,” said Rodriguez.
Vergara thanks her professors and lessons learned at Loyola for a well-rounded education and providing her with the tools to think outside the box and pursue her passion.
“Not too many people can say that that they’re able to do something they love,” she said.