February 2016’s Finlandia University alumni success story is focusing on Jordan Siegler – a graduate of Finlandia’s International School of Art & Design who is now working in corporate and community development for Wisconsin Public Television in Madison, Wisconsin. In this question-and-answer session he talks about how Finlandia University prepared him for his career, and about his involvement with the Finlandia Alumni Board.
Meet Jordan Siegler
- Majors: BFA in Sustainable Design
- Graduation Year: 2009
- Hometown: Felch, Michigan
- Current Location: Madison, Wisconsin
- Current Role: Corporate and Community Development at Wisconsin Public Television
Who were mentors at Finlandia’s art and design school that most meaningfully shaped your experience?
Rick Loduha and Denise Vandeville, but more than any individual it was the culture across campus, specifically within the International School of Art & Design, that shaped me. The approach Finlandia’s faculty and staff took with students, providing space for growth and exploration while holding us accountable to produce great work, meant so much. Learning how to experiment, problem solve and critically evaluate were key takeaways from my education.
Where has your career taken you, and how did FinnU prepare you for it?
I work in philanthropy, fundraising for Wisconsin Public Television. Though not in the formal design world, I consistently employ the principles I learned at Finlandia and during my year abroad (Kuopio, Finland). I often think about a sign that hung in Finlandia’s design lab, maybe it’s still there, it read “Designers are experts at being non-experts.” I love that! I imagine it’s too dubious a statement for some folks, perhaps even arrogant, but tacked right beside that sign was a poster that read “Design won’t change the world. Go volunteer at a soup kitchen.” Both messages still ring true for me. If I could learn how to creatively and effectively work through a challenge, communicate ideas and collaborate with others from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and dedicate my life to enriching the world around me, then very little could stop me from a full and successful life. I’m happy to report that I’m enjoying such a life today.
What is it like to work in public broadcasting given our current political state?
There’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of public broadcasting right now. That said, I have the honor of representing PBS, America’s #1 most trusted brand, and I have to trust that through local success, stronger partnerships, and a resolute push for inclusion and diversity-all of which my colleagues and I may in some small part influence-our nation’s public media industry will continue to thrive. My friends and I use a whack-a-mole metaphor. The thought being that very little’s accomplished when covering the whole field alone. Instead, we gather, each selecting our mole-that one thing we can actually affect-and whack away! I believe in our mission so much, and every day I’m given the opportunity to engage with people who champion its legacy and wish to support its future. It’s a terrific job!
What kind of advice would you offer current art and design students?
Not just to art and design students, but to all students (everyone, really) I say show up and contribute, push yourself beyond your comfort zone, practice humility, serve others and have some fun!
You recently accepted the role of Co-President of the Finlandia Alumni Board. What motivates you to stay involved in the university as an alumnus?
First, a shameless plug: If you’re an alumna/alumnus of Finlandia or Suomi and would like to get involved in any way in support of the university please contact me (email@example.com)! My Finlandia experience infused so much more meaning into what my life would become. Anything I can do to ensure it remains unique, relevant and accessible to anyone who may benefit from an education at Finlandia University is well worth my efforts.
This article on 2009 alum Jordan Siegler is part of a regularly produced series titled Finlandia Success. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest alumni who might make a great feature in the next Finlandia Success story.Tags: Denise Vandeville, Finlandia Success, Jordan Siegler, Rick Loduha, Sustainable Design, Wisconsin Public Television