Office of Alumni Engagement

Shaina (Buhl) Nielson

My hometown when I was a student was:

Beverly Hills, MI

I graduated from Alma in:


I studied:

BFA - Graphic Design and New Media

I currently live in:

Chicago, IL

I am now:

The Design Manager for Midwest Creative Services at JLL and a freelance graphic designer.  

I also have a portfolio website:

Since graduating from Alma:

I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve grown and I’ve traveled the world, but I also tear up every time I hear Loch Lomond.

My Alma education:

Is something I’m so happy I chose every day of my life. It’s a unique experience that few people get to call their own, and I now have such pride in where I received my college education.

My favorite place(s) on campus included:

AXiD house, Zeta Sigma house, Clack Art Center, Newberry Hall.

My favorite professor(s) included:

Sandy Lopez-Isnardi - she even came to my wedding.

My most vivid/best memory of my time at Alma is:

The night I met my husband, Jeff. We played Apples-to-Apples and had our first kiss when he walked me back to my dorm room in Newberry Hall. We stayed up all night talking and watching students start to play pranks on each other in the morning for April Fools Day!

How Alma has helped with my current plan/job/graduate school/etc.:

Alma has kept me humble and it’s kept me connected. The Alma bubble might burst once you graduate, but it teaches you to keep people close and grow your network quickly and easily. Being afforded the multiple opportunities to take leadership positions in various sports, clubs and Greek life has prepared me for becoming a leader at work and with my creative team. I’m often reminded of how attending a liberal arts school makes you appreciate the personal attention and networks you created there. I currently work for a huge Fortune 500 company, but I’ve been able to move up and be promoted multiple times because I make sure to foster the relationships I form, a skill I learned at Alma.

How I have given back to Alma since graduation

I have had the pleasure to participate multiple times with the Chicago In-City Program and the Strategic Leadership spring term course.

Advice I would give a new graduate:

When I look at making new hires, the candidates that show a true hunger and desire to grow and learn jump to the top of my list. Be resourceful, check the company’s website and look at LinkedIn to find some easy connection points to the people you will be interviewing with. Also, go easy on yourself. Being on your own isn’t going to be easy at first, you will stumble along the way, but trust yourself, you’re going to make it and be successful.

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