Alumnae Use Talents to Brand $3 Billion Retailer

Sarah Rudzinski-Dunnick ’06 (left) with Julia Muscarello ’14 in the photo studio at ShopKo headquarters.
Sarah Rudzinski-Dunnick ’06 (left) with Julia Muscarello ’14 in the photo studio at ShopKo headquarters.

The talents of a group of St. Norbert College graduates are helping to market a $3 billion retail corporation that operates 330 stores in 21 states.

Seven SNC alumnae – Angie McElhaney ’01, Tiona Terry ’04, Sarah Rudzinski-Dunnick ’06, Allyce Rupp ’11, Randi McMorran ’11, Sara Coursin ’12 and Julia Muscarello ’14 – work in various marketing and graphic design-related departments at Shopko, an industry leader headquartered in Green Bay.

Muscarello, who recently joined Shopko full-time after a year-long internship with the retailer, works as a graphic designer creating circulars and mailings for the company. She credits her art education at St. Norbert for her ability to challenge herself. Working on so many projects allowed her to be creative in so many ways, as well as to think outside of the box, she says.

A packaging graphic designer for Shopko, Sara Coursin's career may seem a far shift from her major – biology. She points to the influence of her relationships with faculty, particularly Brian Pirman (Art), for the change in the direction.

“[He] is the reason I began pursuing and taking my artwork seriously. He saw my work sophomore year and encouraged me to cultivate my portfolio and take some of his classes,” she says. “I landed my job at Shopko by networking with SNC alumni and Professor Pirman.”

Muscarello reiterates this notion, recalling how both of her senior-year internships, one with Shopko and another with Performa Inc., an architectural design and consulting firm in De Pere, were supported by Pirman. He in his turn believes that Shopko is fortunate to have this talented group.

It was easy to teach these women, he says, given their like-mindedness and initiative. Pirman points to the liberal arts for developing the well-rounded mind necessary to be a successful designer. “[Design] is not about making things look cool,” he explains, but rather about solving problems and helping meet clients’ needs and desired outcomes: “Does it resonate with the intended audience?” Art, unlike design, he says, is about exploring and “following a path that satisfies [one’s] inner soul,” whereas to be a designer, one must balance creativity and artistic influence with problem-solving and the needs of others.

Future art show to bridge art and industry
While the proximity of Shopko’s headquarters helps these alumnae stay connected, the college looks forward to welcoming them back at a special event. St. Norbert will highlight the team's work as designers in an exhibit in the Baer Gallery of the Bush Art Building in March of 2015.


July 1, 2014