Meet Carrie Ammermann ‘04
— art major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. When looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to find a school that made me feel like part of a community as well as an integral part of its culture. It was evident that Augustana valued its students from the moment I visited. I chose Augie because it felt like home.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. To this day, I still look back fondly on my studio art classes. Listening to "News from Lake Wobegon" in Carl Grupp's drawing course, that first clay vase that actually looked like a vase in Gerry Punt's ceramics class and late-night painting with a hat and a scarf to stay warm in Art Building #3. I graduated by the time the new facilities were built so I can't compare but even if I could, there'll will always be a special place in my heart for those old army barracks as well as the professors who shared their passion with us and made it ours.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. Carl Grupp and Tom Shields. They took my passion for art, color and design and helped me mold it into a career. Their influence touches my work every single day.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. Homecoming festivities hands down. Decorating the floats, dressing up for the football game, going to Viking Varieties; all the excitement and anticipation that the college and students put into that weekend each year made it such a memorable time.
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.
A. After graduating, I began my career as a designer at a local agency, Lawrence & Schiller. It didn't take long, however, before the desire to work in the big leagues and affect consumers on a global level took hold. I wanted to do more than just make the work look pretty, I wanted to be the brains behind the idea that made the campaign succeed. So I packed what I could into the back of my car and headed to the East Coast to pursue a master's degree in advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University.
After graduation I was able to land a coveted position at Goodby Silverstein in San Francisco as an art director working on clients Sprint, Haagen Dazs, Comcast and Hewlett Packard. After several years of cable-car commutes and sour dough lunches, I made the switch to Butler, Shine, Stern, a smaller creative-driven agency located in Sausalito, a 10-minute drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. There I collaborated on clients MINI Cooper, Sorel, Priceline and RadioShack. Currently I work on a consulting basis for various agencies around the city. I love the opportunity it's given me to dig my fingers into countless projects as well as meet a lot of talented folks.
Q. Tell us about your career – What’s an average day like?
A. On most days I'll spend time with a copywriter concepting ideas for a client assignment. From there he/she crafts the messaging that will appear on the ad and I set off to make it look great. We'll then take a completed project and present it to the client and from there once approved, we move into production where we scout shoot locations, cast the talent and work with directors to bring the idea to life.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. It's easy to get invested in an idea that you love and believe in. But the challenge is getting the client to also see its potential and that isn't always a seamless process. It's hard to watch a great idea or beautiful design die because the client is on a different page. But then there are times that that they place their trust in your ability and move forward with your vision. Watching your creation come to fruition from start to finish is really gratifying.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. Creating campaigns for Vogue. Beyond getting recognition in the award annuals, seeing my work in a global magazine that's viewed by millions is a pretty cool feeling.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. There's so much opportunity in the San Francisco bay area right now. The tech boom has exploded here and companies like Apple, Google and YouTube, not to mention countless tech startups and numerous great agencies are always looking for new faces and good talent. That makes my next move a pursuit of seemingly endless options. There's a lot of variety to choose from these days. Client side might be fun and I'd love to teach at the college level someday. I'm excited to see what will happen next.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. Be relentless, be resilient and stay curious.
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. Paying off all of my student loans!
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. It was easy to see how important the core values were while I was a student. There were many opportunities on a daily basis to put those ideals to work and I think Augie did a good job on incorporating them into the culture. Making the values such a high priority made me realize what kind of community I want to be a part of no matter where my journey takes me. It may not be as evident in the physical places we occupy but it definitely is an option through the people we choose to surround ourselves with.