Devron Sternke became involved with John Wood Community College in 2009, when he was hired as an adjunct faculty member to teach graphic design classes in the evening. Now 13 years and approximately 1200 students later, Sternke is the Chair of the Business and Computer Science department at the College.
Over the last three years, JWCC’s Graphic Design program has grown in leaps and bounds. This semester’s enrollment in the Graphic Design Program is the highest Sternke has seen since he began with the College. This is in part due to Sternke’s advocacy to remove the pre-requisites from Graphic Design I, allowing students to take the course as an elective to see if they enjoy the field.
“While I enjoy working with students who come in with an amazing amount of talent, my favorite is to sit down with students who have been told they will never amount to anything and then helping them to prove people wrong,” said Sternke. “I believe that graphic design can be for any student. They may have to work hard at it, but a lot of talent comes from hard work. Passion helps too.”
“I always want [JWCC] to be the best place for a student to go learn anything. We are continuously adding equipment to our facilities, like professional printing equipment, to give our students the chance to gain real world experience. Students not only learn the basics of graphic design; they also learn the processes for producing the products they design. JWCC has made significant investments into our program to make sure our students are successful.”
Along with advancing his program, Sternke is dedicated to changing perceptions of the Associate degree, as well as the community college experience.
“People think community college is the easy way out. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I am proud of my A.A. degree. I use those skills every day when teaching students and completing daily tasks,” said Sternke. “People think they need to jump straight to the bachelor’s degree, but that isn’t true. Coming to JWCC, getting those core classes out of the way with small class sizes and professors that really want you to succeed is important. The group of professors I work with are really good at getting people on that right path to success.”