From travel courses in China and London to a highly sought-after internship at New Balance, Mount Ida Senior Alex Battaglia is going places. Though she chose Mount Ida partly because of its proximity to her home town of Lowell, MA, her Mount Ida experience has expanded her horizons tremendously.

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As a high school student, Battaglia knew that she wanted to study graphic design in college, and Mount Ida helped her to make a smooth transition into college academic life. With one-on-one attention from dedicated faculty and staff, Battaglia thrived on campus, earning a place on the dean’s list.  During her first year, she applied to a travel course to China and received a scholarship from Santander Universities to cover her expenses. As a sophomore, she found her first internship in the Mount Ida College Advancement Office, designing graphics for alumni events, and was able to study abroad again, this time in London.


Battaglia continued working in the Mount Ida Alumni Office throughout her Junior Year. It was while working with alumni that she connected with New Balance Senior Apparel Demand Planner Steve Butch, who graduated from Mount Ida’s Sport Management Program in 1997. Battaglia made an impression on Butch, who ended up mentoring her, helping to edit her resume and recommending her for an internship at New Balance. Battaglia started her internship in May 2015. As a Lifestyle and Footwear Graphic Design Intern, she spent her summer helping to design the colorful patterns that will adorn New Balance sneakers hitting stores in 2016. New Balance was so pleased with Battaglia’s performance that they asked her to continue her internship into the fall.


Summarizing her time at Mount Ida so far, Battaglia says “I really urge other students to take full advantage of their time at Mount Ida.  Study abroad, make connections with faculty and staff, and engage with Mount Ida alumni network. There are scholarships that can help you travel far and wide and amazing alumni who can mentor you and help you launch your career.”

School of Design Gallery at Mount Ida College  – October 19, 2015 – January 26, 2016

Opening reception – Tuesday October 20 – 6:30 – 8:30 pm


It’s not the phrase artists expect to hear but Permission to Fail may be just what they need to spark the creative process.

That will be illuminated in a wide-ranging show of the sketchbooks of more than 30 premier graphic designers, illustrators and photographers at the show ”Permission to Fail” in the School of Design Gallery at Mount Ida College, from October 19 to January 26.

On hand to talk about their personal experiences at the Opening Reception on October 20 will be John McHugh, Design Director of Arnold Worldwide and Bob Domenz, founder and CEO of Avenue in Chicago.


“Great graphic design, illustration, or photography doesn’t spring fully formed from the mind of the artist. Most artists begin by creating a multitude of small thumbnail sketches usually in notebooks, sketchbooks, or journals,” says Jim Fitts, co-curator of the show and professor of graphic design.  “Today’s artists want to log on, design and save.  They need to take the time to fail – to discover –  to create.”

More than 200 prints of rough sketches, thumbnail drawings, and production notes as well as the resulting finished pieces will be on display.

Participating artists include: Gary Baseman, Donovan Beery, Louisa Bertman, Pep Carrió, John Cuneo, Chaz Maviyane Davies, Marc English, Ed Fella, Jim Fitts, Nathan Fox, Milton Glaser, Rodney Greenblat, Brad Holland, Eric Hunn, Mirko Ilić, Jeff Johnson, Lou Jones, John Langdon, Ross MacDonald, Jeffrey Marshall, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, Bill Mayer, John McHugh, Debbie Millman, Shogo Ota, Alison Poor-Donahue, Jeff Scher, Ross Storey, Scott Thomas, Rick Valicenti, and Cary Wolinski.


Guest Speakers:

John McHugh, Design Director of Arnold Worldwide. McHugh specializes in strategic design and branding and has more than 13 years of design and corporate identity experience.  He has worked with such companies as AT&T, Boeing,, CVS, Fidelity, Jack Daniel’s, Kyocera, New Balance, Ocean Spray, Progressive and Santander.  His work has been recognized by the American Advertising Federation, the AIGA, the Brand New Awards, the One Show, HOW Magazine, the Telly Awards and the Society of Typographic Arts.

Bob Domenz is the founder of Avenue in Chicago where he focuses on helping executives launch new products and rethink new directions for their businesses and brands.  He works with a range of leading companies including Interface, Clarke, SCA Tissue, Boeing, Weber Grill, IBM, Harley-Davidson, General Electric and Coca-Cola, among others. He graduated from Harvard Business School’s Executive Management program on Brand and Marketing Strategy, is a member of the TED conference and on the organizing committee for the TEDx Midwest conference.…

Co-Curators: Jim Fitts Visiting Professor, Graphic Design,

Alison Poor-Donahue
Associate Professor and Department Chair Design & Digital Media


Over the past two years, Mount Ida Fashion Design Sophomore, Sahro Hassan, has founded a company, won a statewide contest for funding her startup, become a leader for change and dialogue, and captured the attention of The Boston Globe, PRI, Cirka Magazine, and Aramco World.  She’s done this all through designing clothes for Muslim women that non-Muslims can embrace.

Born in a refugee camp in Kenya to Somali parents, when Hassan moved to the Indianapolis at age 10 she was unable to speak any English. She ultimately moved to Lewiston, ME before starting at Mount Ida in fall 2014.

When Hassan started elementary school in Indianapolis she was not allowed to wear her hijab and struggled to learn English. She then moved to Lewiston, ME where she found support in the flourishing, local Somali community.



As her confidence and language skills grew, there was still one thing bothering her: the lack of clothing options for Muslim women that were modest, but also fashionable. Inspired by her belief that “modest doesn’t have to be boring,” she began designing bright, fun, modest clothing for Muslim and non-Muslim women alike to wear and enjoy. Hassan’s middle school teacher Barbara Benjamin-McManus remembers the beginning of her fashion career “She knew what her dream was and would not be deterred,” she says.

That determination paid off when she entered the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Competition and won, securing $1,100 in funding for her fashion company Fashionuji.

Her success has continued at Mount Ida. Last year three of her pieces were featured in the Mount Ida College Fashion Show Fashion Futures 2015. Now a sophomore and a resident advisor, Hassan is continuing to use her voice, as well as her designs, to foster dialogue and encourage women to work together and to look beyond clothing to see each other for who they are, rather than what they are wearing.