Willa was born in New York City and grew up in the tri-state area, as well as metro Detroit and the outskirts of Baltimore. Her love of all things art lead her to the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design, where she received her BFA and studied in Rome, Italy for a semester. Willa interned for advertising agency Foote Cone & Belding’s Southern California office, Penguin Group USA’s cover design department, and the New York Civil Liberties Union. For the past four years, Willa has been the lead digital media designer for the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). There, her design work was displayed nationwide both online and in print advocating for people’s rights throughout the United States and internationally.
Willa’s interest in the interaction between people and place informed her thesis work at University of Michigan and continues to inspire her investigation into how people relate to and communicate about their surroundings, and the methods and devices they use to do so. Having spent the past five years in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Willa feels these topics are especially relevant in New York and other urban environments, where digital media allows people to access, sort through, and communicate about a variety of events whether they be social, promotional, or educational; it’s a fusion of the digital community with the city community. Willa is excited to join these interests and her love of design with her graduate study at SVA.
Outside of work and study, Willa enjoys getting off the screen and back to her drawing roots as well as traveling, whether it be biking to a new neighborhood in the five boroughs or road-tripping through the Pacific Northwest or a new city abroad. Places are unique and all people have stories to tell; Willa is excited to hear those stories and learn more.
Alumni go on to be the brightest minds in the profession today, doing work in fields as diverse as media, health care, social science, civic tech, education, and more.