Xandraya Rodriguez was offered a partial scholarship to the College for Creative Studies after graduating from Lakeshore High School. Instead, she opted for a more practical pathway.
“I’m all about blending business with art, not just art itself,” says Rodriguez. “Macomb’s MACA (Media and Communication Arts) program fit me better personally. Illustration is my passion, but I want to be working at something. And even with the partial scholarship, Macomb is still less expensive.”
Rodriguez is studying both Creative Imaging and Illustration, and Design and Layout at Macomb and expects to graduate in May. But nothing has taught her more about pleasing a client than a recent competition held by Selfridge Air National Guard Base for the design of a coin to commemorate its air show this year. Rodriguez’ design took first place.
“I was very honored that they picked my design,” says the Harrison Township resident, who was accompanied to the awards ceremony at Selfridge by her husband, Christian Rodriguez, and two of her MACA professors: Kris Mellebrand and Mary Bush. “I worked on it for about a week, and then it all came together. I was so excited that I met their vision.”
On the front of the coin, Rodriguez incorporated the logo of the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, which is based at Selfridge, with the Michigan mitten superimposed over an image of the American flag. On the back are the words: “The Next 100 Years,” the theme of next year’s air show.
“Because my husband was in the military, I was familiar with military coins,” relates Rodriguez. “The Selfridge coin will be two inches in diameter, and I wanted it to portray Macomb County as the heart of Michigan, with jet planes signifying the air show.”
In addition to her classes, Rodriguez also serves as the design editor for Sketches magazine, which spotlights the literary and artistic talents of Macomb students. She’s also a figure model in Macomb’s art classes, works part time at a florist’s shop, makes wreaths and other crafts in her home studio/workshop (shown in photo) and designs costumes, including a coat of armor made out of foam that she wore for Halloween, as well as her own clothes.
“I still have my very first skirt, a skater-girl skirt,” offers Rodriguez. “It’s a navy floral that I made from a pair of sheets I got at the Salvation Army. I am so against fast fashion – so much waste. I like to reutilize whenever I can.”
After graduation and a possible move out of state to accommodate her husband’s job, Rodriguez hopes to find work as a graphic designer with a company or launch her own freelancing career. A bachelor’s degree is likely on the horizon as well. No matter what direction she takes, she is confident that Macomb has prepared her well.
“Any student looking into a design career, should go to Macomb if they strive to be the very best,” says Rodriguez. “A lot of the professors in the MACA program have worked in the field and are effective at what they do. The group projects are fun and a great way to network with other students. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”