Head shot of a woman with dark-rimmed glasses and brown hair smiling

Arts and Architecture’s fall 2022 student marshal is first ever from World Campus

As Carly Mojica began her pursuit of a Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design degree almost four years ago, the then-37-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, had a focused mindset to simply give it her all.

The first move the wife and mother of two made to help her chase her dream was to rearrange her home office and add a fully equipped arts and crafts table. The effort wasn’t to also take up art making; it was to create a space where her two-year-old daughter could do her work, albeit with crayons, colored pencils and Play-Doh.

It is a move that many adult learners make as they begin their journey, which for Mojica is ending with an honor that no Penn State World Campus student has ever achieved in the College of Arts and Architecture – the fall semester graduation student marshal.

“I am incredibly proud to be a part of Penn State and to have earned a degree from such a quality and reputable university,” Mojica said. “I have met so many amazing professors and students and I now have this wonderful network of people that I’ve met throughout this transformative experience.”

Mojica came to Penn State in January 2019, eight years after leaving a career with Verizon to be a stay-at-home mom. When she left the company, she was managing customer experience for about 400 stores and although she was having success, the career wasn’t inspiring her imagination.

The decision to leave the workforce was helped by her husband Doug’s success in the tech industry and while she loved being at home, her passion and creativity was brewing.

“Being a mom is rewarding in countless ways, but there weren’t a lot of intellectual challenges,” Mojica said. “Doug’s support for chasing my life-long dream of earning a degree changed everything.”

When choosing a degree program, Mojica knew she wanted to remain in the customer experience realm, but she also wanted to explore the “impulse to create” that she has had her whole life.

While at Verizon, Mojica’s team developed point-of-sale applications for in-store representatives. That aspect of the job allowed her to be creative, but she lacked the formal training to fully embrace the career path.

The Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design is an online undergraduate degree, delivered in collaboration by the College of Arts and Architecture, the Bellisario College of Communications and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, which prepares individuals to be leaders in digital media technologies and multimedia industries.

“Penn State and this degree program offered an opportunity for me to build on something I really loved, which was the field of user experience design in web applications,” Mojica said. “This was the perfect program to learn about what has changed in the field and to learn an updated structure of the design thinking process.”

Even though Mojica completed her degree 1,500 miles from Old Main, she still managed to be a leader outside of the classroom and to make her mark on Penn State.

For the last three years, she served as a World Campus ambassador, mentor and the student representative on a foundational focus steering committee dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within World Campus.

“It just feels really special to be a part of the Penn State community,” Mojica said. “Being selected as a student marshal was overwhelming, but also validation of all of the effort and the work that I have put into this degree program and Penn State.”

As for the art her daughter creates four years after Carly started at Penn State, Mojica jokingly said it is a “little different,” and she might need to add a Nittany Lion to her repertoire.