TAGA Ambassador Q&A with Tristan Thomas


Technical Association of the Graphic Arts Student Ambassador Tristan Thomas from Appalachian State University takes pride in her double major, Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology and Biology. She enjoys the hands-on aspect of graphic arts and thoroughly enjoys spending time with her TAGA peers and industry professionals.

What school do you attend, and what are you currently studying?

I go to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. And I am a double major in Graphic Arts & Imaging Technology with a concentration in Cross Media Production and Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Environment.

What makes your major unique? What do you like most about your choice of major?

When I tell people about my Graphic Arts major they assume that it is the same thing as Graphic Design. Graphic Design is awesome, but what makes being a GAIT major unique is that not only have I been able to learn to use design tools like the Adobe Creative Suite, but I have also learned about the tools used to bring those designs to life. Another aspect of my major that makes it unique is that I have chosen to combine it with my Biology major and figure out a way to use them both.

I love how much I have learned within my major and the experiences I have gotten. Although Biology and Graphic Arts are complete opposites, in some ways they complement each other. I think being so passionate about opposite fields of study has allowed me to thrive in both of them by seeing and learning in so many different ways: out in the field, in the lab (computer or science), or in the press room.

What do you like about being involved with TAGA and the student chapter?

I didn't get involved with TAGA until my senior year of college (I am currently a 5th-year senior). I definitely wish I had gotten involved sooner. Through TAGA I have gotten the opportunity to bond more with other students in my program, work with my professors on projects, and interact with industry professionals. Without getting involved, I don't think I would have had access to these opportunities.

When you aren't studying, in class, or working, what are you doing?

I spend a lot of time exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains by hiking and taking pictures. When you're moving at a slow pace and not just driving by in a car, you see a lot of magnificent things that you would otherwise miss. I also really love to do various crafts; I am currently into Japanese bookbinding and art journaling.

What city are you currently living in? What do you like most about it (favorite spots)?

I am currently living in Boone, North Carolina and I absolutely love it. My favorite aspects of being in the Blue Ridge Mountains include being able to create outside during any time of year and the beauty of the mountains that never fails to take my breath away.

What would your future dream job entail?

As a biology and graphic arts double major, I would love to be able to combine my passions for the outdoors and designing. I currently work part-time with a local land trust creating graphics and social media content. Ideally, I would love to do something similar to this full-time when I graduate.

What do you envision yourself doing 5 years from now?

That's a really tough question. I have a lot of interests and I can see myself doing many different things. But I envision myself doing something that I am extremely passionate about and hopefully combining my love of nature and graphic arts.

Do you have a favorite quote you live by, and if so, what is it?

My favorite quotes tend to change depending on what's going on in my life. However, my current favorite quote is "Everywhere I go, I keep falling in love with the trees and wanting to stay just a little bit longer." -Unknown