Between the two organizations and his studies, Marshaun stays active and involved in the PCA&D community. Student Council creates and implements student involvement and opportunities in school functions and activities and supports the mission of PCA&D. Pennsylvania College of Art & Design is among the first college to have a student chapter of Society of Illustrators . The goal of this group is for the students to create a community of their own to support, encourage and develop their knowledge, skill and exposure to the ever-changing field of illustration, while connecting with other student groups and professionals from across the country.
As you were searching and comparing colleges, what attracted you to PCA&D?
MZD: Much like my high school, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, PCA&D is a small establishment where I can get to know all of my professors, but more importantly they can get to know me. I can be pretty shy so it helped that I could casually speak with all professors whenever I needed assistance with a project, and they knew exactly how to help me because they already know how I work.
What do you love about Lancaster city?
MZD: What I love most about Lancaster city is that it was a great place for me to explore my new found freedom. Lancaster has a mix of so many different things to enjoy on a daily basis. I probably spent the better part of my sophomore and junior year exploring different parts of the city, studying the architecture, enjoying different kinds of food, and making new friends, beyond those I met through PCA&D. As someone who now lives so far from home, Lancaster was warm, welcoming, and full of possibility.
What would you love to show someone who is visiting PCA&D?
MZD: I would definitely have to bring any prospective student to the senior studio spaces. Regardless of what year you are transferring into, the senior spaces provide something to aspire to. The work on the walls are a great visual into the minds of the artists that work there. The seniors in these spaces represent some of the best students PCA&D has to offer. Each one of them is full of advice, retrospective, and skillful knowledge that I feel is beyond valuable to any student who is visiting for their first time.
What does being involved in student-run organizations mean to you?
MZD: I am President of Student Council as well as President of the Society of Illustrators. With these titles many opportunities and responsibilities have fallen upon me. My personal favorite responsibility was putting together and leading the committee for the 2018 PCA&D Halloween party. It was a blast!
What are you looking forward to most this school year?
MZD: I'm looking forward to thesis more than anything else. I finally get to put together everything I have learned here at PCA&D into a project that I have been passionate about working on for years. My senior thesis should effectively be the biggest display of my skill and effectiveness as an Illustrator, so I really hope I make something that gets people excited.
Being Student Council President means that I get to be a part of the College in a different way. I want to organize events and help out clubs so that there are outlets for people to have fun alongside their classwork, but mostly I want to help students with their issues. I want people to feel like they can come to me with their issues and i can present their concerns to the student council so we can try to address them. I want people to feel as though their problems matter.
What moment (so far) from your years at PCA&D will you always remember?
MZD: I’ll always remember staying up all night during the summer with my roommates, talking about art and the future. These conversations stick with me because they are the thoughts I go back to when I’m unsure of where I’m going or what I want to do with my career. Having friends who are just as nervous and scared about the “real world” yet who are also equally inspired by the challenges to come and the opportunities to learn, has been the best thing I could have ever received from my college experience.
How have your professors inspired you?
MZD: My Professors know what it looks like to be working in the industry and they don’t sugarcoat anything. They let us know exactly how hard it is and exactly how much work we’ll need to put in. This couldn’t be more important to me, as I grow to meet the standards of the industry, because I’ve learned to understand that every hardship and shortcoming is just another opportunity to learn and sharpen my skills.
How have your fellow art students inspired you?
MZD: I’m inspired by my peers everyday. Simply put; I am a competitive person, and the harder my classmates work, and the more successful they are, the more I want to do even better than that. I’ve gained more confidence over time all due to my peers showing me things I didn’t know were possible and my ambition to be successful, pushing me to try new things all the time.
What words of wisdom would you share with a prospective student?
MZD: I’ve found that failure has been the greatest teacher in my life, and learning from my mistakes has been integral to my growth as an artist and as a human being. Having the ability to look at yourself, or your work, and realize that something is wrong is important and humbling. However, if you truly want to move forward you have to understand why the mistake was made, what went wrong, and how can you avoid it next time. Constructive self-critique is just as important as peer critique. Emphasis on “constructive”.
Do you have a motto/favorite quote?
MZD: Whatever you do, do it with passion and stay determined.
PCA&D students get involved with activities, clubs, Student Council, trips to major east-coast art centers, and more. Every major at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design is connected with a professional organization that students join and students also participate in department-sponsored events.