Claudette Rhodes began attending classes at Mendocino College in the fall of 2005, intending to learn something about web design. She enrolled in CSC 130, Web Page Design and Development, and just for fun, took an exercise class too. Claudette fell in love with both the technical and design aspects of web design, and immersed herself into the subject because as she says, "You only get out of something what you put into it."
The program cards against the wall right outside of Student Services in MacMillan Hall caught Claudette's eye, and there she discovered that Mendocino offered a Certificate in Web Page Design. She became intrigued by the class offerings and decided to go for it. As she progressed in her studies, her eyes were opened to the terminology, the subjects, the software, and the skills necessary to succeed in her chosen field. She checked out the job market for web design online, discovering much of what employers were seeking were the same things she was now learning.
Claudette realized that Mendocino College was offering the industry-standard software classes crucial to success in the field, and that the computer lab and classrooms also offered the very latest versions both in software and technology. "Mendocino College gave me the tools, inspiration, and knowledge" I needed, Claudette says, "including xhtml, cascading style sheets, and designing graphics in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator."
Claudette is not the type of person who likes to wait for what she wants, and she began dreaming of earning a living as a web designer. An "entrepreneur by nature," she decided there was no reason not to start her own web design business while she was taking classes and learning, so that's exactly what she did. A year into her studies, she published her own personal site. In a very short time, this move led to a lucrative contract with Mendocino Works to redesign their entire site. They were so happy with her work (which only took her two months to finish), that they asked her to redesign the Mendocino Private Industry Council (MPIC) too. In addition, Claudette became part of a focus group through the agency, where she hopes to meet additional prospective clients. Six years later, Claudette continues to work for MPIC; in fact MPIC will be relocating to Lake County in July 2012, and she's been asked to create yet another site for WorkForce Lake.
Claudette has also become the Ukiah Symphony's designer, a client she discovered through her contacts at Mendocino College, and you can see her posters, brochures and programs around town and at the Symphony.
Claudette has made over 40 websites, several dozen logo and print material designs, and enjoys repeat business from many of her clients. Claudette will continue to seek ways to grow her business because she enjoys the flexibility she gains working from home, as well as being able to spend more time with her family.
Claudette graduated in 2008 with not one, but two certificates from Mendocino, both the Graphic Design Certificate and the Web Design and Development Certificate. The education she received from Mendocino College “Opened the door to my future and my continued passion for design and web development” quotes Claudette. “Since technology continues to change I plan on taking more classes and Mendocino College is a great place to start the search.”
Claudette is looking forward to additional computer class offerings, meeting new instructors, and the invaluable opportunity of sharing creative design ideas and projects with her peers. She's hoping to take more hybrid and online classes, and is excited about the new Computer Graphics Lab facility in MacMillan Hall, thanks to the passing of Measure W.
What advice would Claudette give other students? "If you really put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want. Start by doing something you love … good things happen from that. Don't sit around waiting for something to happen – you've just got to go out there and do it!"
Claudette Rhodes, Mendocino College Success Story
Date of Interviews: June, 2012
Written by Christine Mullis