Jessica Arana

Professor and Educator of Art

Jessica Arana is a passionate storyteller with an insatiable curiosity for brand, company, and social culture. She has experience with brand strategy, identity design systems, and editorial and book design. Her background in cultural studies, art, social justice, education, and activism set her apart as a designer with passion and a purpose. Jessica has lead design work for: Disney, Yahoo!, McCann Erickson, IPG MediaBrands, Transamerica, and Ergobaby, among others. She is also an artist, educator, and a committee lead for AIGA National’s Diversity and Inclusion taskforce.

Aaron Atchison

Founder and Creative Director of Farm Design

Aaron Atchison is the founder and creative director of Farm Design, a Pasadena based branding agency. With over 20 years experience in graphic design, he has led and influenced a wide range of award-winning branding projects spanning from start-ups to industry leaders. Having grown up on a family farm in rural Montana, Aaron has implemented his small town values of strategic foresight, hard work and community to guide his creative process and inspire his team and clients. Aaron continues to share his life lesson stories through teaching and lectures to help guide students on their personal and professional journeys.

Betty Avila

Co-Director, Advancement and Administration at Self Help Graphics

Betty Avila is a native of Los Angeles and raised in Cypress Park. Her work has centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment. She has held positions with the Getty Research Institute, The Music Center and the Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park. She sits on the boards of the Center for Cultural Innovation and Arts for LA is a founding board member of People for Mobility Justice (formerly Multicultural Communities for Mobility), an organization that supports low-income communities of color that bike, walk and use public transit in Los Angeles County.  Betty sat on the inaugural Advisory Committee for Los Angeles County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative that resulted in the recommendation of cultural policy that was unanimously approved by the County Board of Supervisors. In 2017, Betty was named one of C-Suite Quarterly Magazine’s NextGen 10 in Philanthropy, Arts and Culture and an Impact-Maker to Watch by City Impact Labs. She received her B.A. in Literature at Pitzer College, has an M.A. in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, and is a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to Korea.

Joe Bautista

Director of VISCOM, Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

Joe Bautista is a Los Angeles based designer and educator. His passion is helping clients, students, designers, and entrepreneurs reach their goals. His design work deals with the research, concept, design and development of user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI). His personal art work revolves around user collaboration and contribution to create new and expressive art forms that connect users and viewers by a network. Joe has over 17 years of experience at creative agencies in the Los Angeles area and an educator for over 13 years in the Art Department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). As Assistant Professor of art and design at CSUN, he serves as director of the Center for Visual Communication (VISCOM), an on-campus, student-driven creative strategy agency.

Jason Bender

President of in Focus Advertising

Jason is responsible for the management of the agency’s account group, providing strategic input and project management oversight for each of the agency’s accounts. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from San Diego State University, where he graduated with honors.

Jason has extensive experience managing advertising clients such as Disney Consumer Products, The City of Burbank, Pepperdine University, Neutrogena Corp., Internet Services West, Entertainment Weekly, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros., The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Blue Cross, Tire Pros, The National Association of Television Programmers and Executives, Republic Bank, Caruso Affiliated Holdings (Grove, Commons, Promenade), Longo Toyota, Nick Alexander Imports, Pacific Scientific, Rainmaker Systems, The Los Angeles Clippers, Rooter Hero Plumbing, California Baptist University, American Vision Windows, Sherwood Country Club and The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Day-to-Day responsibilities include the management of efforts involving creative, strategic planning, media, web marketing, research, direct marketing, promotions, public relations, and events. Jason has served on Woodbury University’s Board of Advisors and is a member of YPO International. Jason is also a distinguished guest speaker on Entrepreneurship and Advertising and is a professor of Sales, Marketing, and Advertising and was recognized by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s, 40 under 40.

Lucy Bennett

Senior Designer at AMAC Accessibility

Lucy is a designer, writer, and proud native of Atlanta, Georgia. She has a background in fine art and design, and earned her BFA in Design from Georgia Southern University. Currently, she serves as the senior designer at AMAC Accessibility, a research center at Georgia Tech whose mission is to provide equal access to information, products, and services for people with disabilities. She is responsible for accessible branding and communications design both internally and externally. Her past projects include curating a top independent wedding publication, founding an online community for dog owners, and building web campaigns for a coral-reef saving international non-profit. In her spare time, Lucy is an amateur seamstress, prop maker, and cosplay enthusiast.

Trina Darakjy

Operations and Business Manager of IntersectLA

I am the current Operations and Business Manager for Intersect LA. My prior experience includes working in the MCCAMC Deans office as a lead Analyst for 9 departments, I was the Disbursement Supervisor for Cash Services, additionally I developed a financial database while working as a lead Analyst in the Information Technology Department.  I am married and a mother of two children, and I am currently attending classes towards a Business Administration degree.  I enjoy event planning, and creating personalized party decor.

Douglas Davis

Founder of The Davis Group LLC

Brooklyn-based Douglas Davis enjoys being one of the variety of voices needed in front of and behind the concept, marketing plan or digital strategy. His approach to creativity combines right-brained creative problem solving with left-brained strategic thinking. This unique mix of creative strategy, integrated marketing and art direction is what Douglas brings into the boardroom or classroom. In 2011 Douglas founded The Davis Group and continues to offer strategic solutions to client branding, digital and design problems. In addition to client work, Douglas leverages his experience as an Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Communication Design program at New York City College of Technology, on the graduate level in the Branding and Integrated Communications (BIC) program at The City College of New York and digitally as a HOW Design University course contributor. His HOW Design University class, Creative Strategy and the Business of Design was published as a book in June 2016. Douglas has found an international audience through his relationship with HOW, as a judge of The Best Brand Awards and publishing in the European Business Review. In June 2018, Douglas was named co-chair of AIGA’s National Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce. Douglas enjoys interacting with creative people and presents at industry conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, India and Russia. Creative Strategist, Educator & Author, who depends on what day.

Alejandro Echevarria

Independent Filmmaker & Freelance Cameraman

Alejandro Echevarria is an independent filmmaker and freelance cameraman from Northridge, Los Angeles. His first short film, “Illusory Promises,” has received awards from the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival for Best Cinematography (DP: Erick Aguilar) and Best Short Narrative Film, and has been selected to screen at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase, NewFilmmakers LA and the Cannes Short Film Corner.

His freelance services include camera operating for such clients as Fender, The Score E-Sports, The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Revolt TV, NewFilmmakers LA, KTLA, MovieMaker Magazine and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additionally, he has done camera assisting and data management work for Disney, freenjoy, CollegeHumor, Cedars Sinai, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and many, many more commercial and non-profit entities.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the CSU Northridge Cinema Television Arts program in 2013, with an Art minor. In his spare time, he is an amateur ragtime and classical pianist.

Agustín G. Garza

National Board Member at AIGA

Garza studied fine arts at California College of Arts and graphic design at Art Center College of Design, graduating with honors in 1980. Prior to establishing Garza Group in 1987, he worked for Y&R/Mexico, Rod Dyer, Inc., Design West and SBG Partners.His firm, Garza Group Communications, has been a leader in the field of inter-cultural communications with a focus on strategic branding, position and marketing communications in the U.S. and internationally. His clients have included American Express, Coca Cola North America, City of Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mexico Tourism Board, Korn/Ferry International, Elan Drug Technologies, Reichmann International, Jones Lang LaSalle, California Tourism Board, Accival/Banamex, Adheva, Inc., Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Fiesta Americana, Cisco Brothers, Koll, and LA, Inc., among others.

Garza’s work has been recognized by various publications and design institutions and is represented in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. He was president of AIGA Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008 and is a member of Quórum (Mexico Design Council). He also serves on the Mayor’s Design Advisory Panel and on the boards of the Glen Canyon Institute and the Los Angeles International Latino Film Institute. Agustin has served on the NEA Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the NEA Design Panel. He taught at Universidad Anahuac, Mexico City, and at Art Center and was a founding professor of the Art Center European campus.

Haven Lin-Kirk

Dean of Design, Professor of the Practice of Design at USC

Haven Lin-Kirk earned an MFA at Claremont Graduate University. She has had exhibitions at The Brewery Project, Bank Gallery and POST Gallery in Los Angeles; Ruth Buchofner Gallery in Santa Monica; and Otak Gallery in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Lin-Kirk has received a Maggie Award for Best Overall Design. She is also Vice President of Education, AIGA Los Angeles Education Committee.

Li Liu

Ph.D., Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

Li Liu, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor with The Department of Computer Science at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He is passionate about enabling accessibility of computing. His research breaks barriers created by computing technology, especially for people with special needs. At CSUN, he co-directs the Human Computing Lab and serves on the Scientific/Research Committee of the annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference. He also develops a new master’s degree program in Assistive Technology Engineering.

Wei Liu

PhD, Associate Researcher, Director of User eXperience (UX) Master at Faculty of Psychology

Wei Liu, PhD, associate researcher, is director of User eXperience (UX) Master at Faculty of Psychology at Beijing Normal University, and board member of ICACHI. His research interests include developing methods, techniques, and tools to optimize design process for user centered interaction design. He holds a PhD on interaction design research from Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology.

Dave Moon

Director of RADIUS, Art Professor at California State University, Northridge

Dave Moon is currently serving as an art professor at California State University, Northridge and director of RADIUS, an on-campus student enterprise focusing on brand strategy. Prior to his current appointments, he served as chair of the Art Department and Interim Dean of CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication. Dave founded or co-founded a number of student-based creative enterprises, including the Center for Visual Communication (VISCOM), DesignHub, META+LAB, and RADIUS. He has always been focused on student learning and creating innovative spaces that encourage collaborative learning via a “learn-by-doing” model, and he has developed a handbook to assist other educational institutions in replicating the model to further connect education with industry. Dave utilizes design thinking and a universal design framework to continue and expand the conversation about accessibility from the graphic designer’s perspective.

Patrick Prager

5th Degree Tang Soo Do Master

The Edge Martial Arts is owned by Master Patrick Prager, a 5th dan master in Tang Soo Do who has been training for more than 20 years in various martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and Hapkido. He has 15 years of experience teaching children, youth, and adults. Master Prager is also a NESTA certified personal trainer and has a degree from California State University, Northridge in Recreation and Tourism Management. While Master Prager teaches the majority of classes he also invites masters from schools in the American Tang Soo Do Alliance to lead various workshops as guest instructors.

Tom White

Director at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

Tom is the Impact Director at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. He is responsible for developing and managing programs aimed at fostering and measuring the economic, social and environmental impact of LACI and its portfolio companies, and other incubators and partner organizations nationally.

Tom’s expertise is in positioning programs and organizations to secure funding and gain access to new customers. Focusing on innovation and sustainability, Tom has helped secure record levels of funding and sales for corporations, design firms and advertising agencies, academic institutions and entrepreneurial ventures. An IDSA Award Winning Industrial Designer, storyteller and customer experience architect, Tom has developed brand positioning and communication strategies that have helped raise billions for organizations like Lockheed-Martin, Motorola, Volvo, Philips and others. His “Master the Pitch” series helps entrepreneurs prepare presentations to secure investor funding. He speaks globally to entrepreneurial, academic, investor and other groups.


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California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Art and Design Center, Room 409

18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330-8300

T: +1 818- 677-3022