Melody Pohla

Design & Visual Communication

Melody is a 2018 Design & Visual Communication graduate and she's currently the Marketing Coordinator at HOK, a global design architecture, engineering and planning firm. We asked Melody a few questions and here's what she had to say!

What are you most looking forward to as you prepare to start your new role as Marketing Coordinator at HOK?

Learning more about the marketing strategies for a large company. Coming from experience in small businesses and startups, it's refreshing to have constraints and a knowledgeable team to help get me settled in the content management. 

What has been the greatest challenge you have encountered working in your current role/field and how have you overcome it?

Impostor syndrome and self doubt all the way. Since I'm starting out, it's easy to make comparisons to those who have been in the industry for quite some time compared to my level of experience. It's good in the way that it helps push you to challenge yourself and go outside of your comfort zone, but it also can get really overwhelming and intimidating. To overcome it, periodic self-evaluation and a strong support system really helps. Focusing on the achievements instead of the "what-if's" is powerful, but it's a mindful practice.

What would you say is one of the most important assets to have in your industry?

There's a lot, but I believe at the core is curiosity. Care enough to ask questions and want to know about your craft. Be interested about your peers, work, and medium. The rest comes (somewhat) naturally.

In your opinion, what should candidates new to the industry avoid in order to succeed?

Ego. Take a mental step back from your work in the aspects of ownership. While important, it's still more important to understand that at the end of the day, there's a goal that isn't you just making pretty visuals.

What advice do you have for individuals specifically interested in your field of work?

Learn business essentials alongside the technical craft. Embrace hobbies and pursuits outside of design work. Be involved in your design community. Don't make excuses. "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be." - Paul Arden. 

What piece of advice do you have for Flashpoint candidates preparing for the job search?

Make organic connections outside of Flashpoint. Go to panels, talks, and workshops. The Chicago design community is large, but has a small-town feel. Everyone knows someone you don't, so try to maintain those relationships.

How did your experience at Flashpoint help you join your industry?

It enabled my curiosity through helpful faculty and supportive friends. I used to be incredibly shy, so the push to be involved in my design community and learn as much as I could helped bridge the gap between school and work.

What would you look for if an opportunity to potentially hire Flashpoint candidates came along?

Passion and willingness to learn while also having a good grasp of the basic tools. Overall, being keen on design principles and the people involved. 

What was your favorite thing about attending Flashpoint?

The staff, faculty, and students are all incredibly friendly. I got to know a lot of people even outside of my respective major without ever feeling out of place. The internal community is close-knit and everyone shares the passion of the craft.  


Name one thing that made you choose Flashpoint over other colleges?

The technically-focused curriculum and streamlined approach to learning the trade. I knew I wanted to go into a school that understood that media is hard work, and I wanted to create art with a job. The Chicago atmosphere was right for me, and the resources all felt like a good match for my personal goals.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Pace myself and not take my work so seriously. I really wish I pushed the limits of my work farther than I had, since I was so focused on creating work that was technically sound, but artistically safe. 

Could you share a fun fact (or two) about yourself?

I played on my high school Ultimate Frisbee team for one year.

In 2017, I shaved my head to fundraise for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and would probably do it again.


Madeline Urback

Design & Visual Communication

Class of 2020

Why did you choose Flashpoint Chicago?

This one might get a little long and personal. Buckle your seatbelts and prepare to set sail!


Originally, I was going to be attending one of the fine arts schools I had received scholarships for. Then I figured out that it was not possible to get the remaining loan money I needed in order to go to one of those art schools in time.


Dreams crushed, I was going to be attending a community college near where I lived. I had known about Flashpoint and was hoping to attend the Summer Program. I did not initially have the money for the Summer Program, either, until I was offered a scholarship.


After the program, Flashpoint was kind enough to offer me an art school to call home. I know it sounds corny but I would like to look at Flashpoint as being my destiny or fate.


I would like to turn this story into a lesson and a message to all who read this. If you feel stuck or incapable of doing anything in this world, do not let it stop you. There are many opportunities in places you may have never expected.


What do you think makes this school unique?

What makes Flashpoint a unique school is a combination of character traits. Most individuals living a creative life enjoy more than a single creative outlet.


Flashpoint allows me to collaborate with students from Animation, Recording Arts, Film, and with other Graphic Designers. Collaborating with all kinds of creatives is how companies thrive in the real world. Flashpoint gives me the opportunity to experience this before jumping into my real career.


Additionally, Flashpoint is a smaller school, which means a closer-knit community and strong relationships. I have made wonderful connections with peers and teachers. Both students and faculty put forth a tremendous amount of effort to help and to improve each other. Flashpoint feels like family.


What is your favorite thing about the school?

My favorite part about Flashpoint is that the faculty cares about my work and me. There are a lot of scary rumors pre-college about how the instructors at college don’t care about you or your education.


At Flashpoint, teachers go out of their way to make time for my work and me. They let me borrow books, offer me a soda from the vending machine, buy me tea at Starbucks, pull my name out of a hat at random and gift me a Starbucks card, and provide extra help at any time. Even the security team always wishes me a good morning and asks me how I am doing.


Read Madeline's full interview here!



Flashpoint Career Dev - Feb Events Calen



If you wish to check out a laptop and/or power supply from the I.T. Department, you MUST LEAVE A FORM OF ID 

(such as a Driver's License or State ID) with the I.T. Department while you are borrowing a laptop and/or power supply.  This ID WILL BE RETURNED to you when you bring the equipment back to the I.T. Department.  



Please note that NO LAPTOPS AND/OR POWER SUPPLIES CAN BE CHECKED OUT WITHOUT LEAVING AN ID!!! There will be no exceptions to this policy.




You MUST LEAVE A FORM OF ID (Driver's License or State ID) at the InfoCommons service desk as well if you wish to use the TV, Blu-Ray player, and/or one of the gaming systems in the InfoCommons (XBOX360, PS3, Wii). Your ID WILL BE RETURNED when you have returned all borrowed remotes and/or controllers.  





WTTW in collaboration with DCASE and Kartemquin Films presents a FREE screening and discussion of Minding the Gap. Welcome to Rockford, Illinois, in the heart of Rust-Belt America, home to debut filmmaker Bing Liu. With over 12 years of footage, Bing discovers connections between two of his skateboarder friends' volatile upbringings and the complexities of modern-day masculinity. As the film unfolds, Bing captures 23-year-old Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend deteriorate after the birth of their son and 17-year-old Keire struggling with his racial identity as he faces new responsibilities following the death of his father. While navigating a difficult relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing weaves a story of generational forgiveness while exploring the precarious gap between childhood and adulthood.

Minding The Gap won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and is executive produced by Oscar-nominated documentarian Steve James (The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams). Bing Liu, who developed the film through Chicago's Kartemquin Films, also serves as producer alongside Diane Quon, and as editor alongside Joshua Altman. Hulu and Magnolia Films will release the film on August 17, 2018 ahead of a POV broadcast in 2019.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM CST


Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St

Chicago, IL 60602


Come to the Stony Island Arts Bank for a Sunday matinee screening of Whitney (2018): an in-depth look at the life and career of the greatest voice of all-time, Whitney Houston. This installment of Arts Bank Cinema will be hosted by DJ-in-Residence, Duane Powell. Following the screening, stick around for a post-discussion and an electic set by Duane Powell in the Johnson Lounge. 


Sunday, February 10, 2019

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST


Stony Island Arts Bank

6760 South Stony Island Avenue

Chicago, IL 60649


Director: Samir Oliveros Zayed

Creole with English subtitles

76 minutes

Co-presented with the Consulate General of Colombia in Chicago.

After accidentally killing a bearded goat with their father's truck, two incompatible siblings in their teenage years, embark on a journey of reconciliation. Corn and Rita must find a way to repair the truck in time to pick up the tourists that will be staying at their family's hotel. As they struggle to find the means necessary to conceal the accident, the siblings will visit a butcher, rastafari drum makers, pawn shops, car mechanics and even a witch doctor, in a 24-hour adventure around Port Paradise.

Después de atropellar accidentalmente a un chivo con la camioneta de su padre, dos hermanos adolescentes con personalidades incompatibles, empiezan una aventura de reconciliación. Corn y Rita deberán encontrar la forma de reparar la camioneta antes de que lleguen los turistas que se hospedarán en el hotel de la familia. Mientras resuelven el problema, pasarán por una carnicería, una tienda de empeño y hasta por donde un brujo, en una aventura de 24 horas por Port Paradise.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST


Instituto Cervantes

31 West Ohio Street

Chicago, IL 60654


A documentary film by 3759 FILMS in association with TALL TALE PRODUCTIONS directed and edited by Mike Eisenberg, director of photography Matt Downe produced by Kailey Brackett, Mike Eisenberg and Matt Downe, music by Teddy Blass.

Medical mistakes lead to as many as 440,000 preventable deaths every year, making it the #3 leading cause of death in the United States. To Err Is Human is an in-depth documentary about this silent epidemic and those working quietly behind the scenes to fix it. We created this film to showcase solutions that are easy to implement and would dramatically improve the quality of healthcare immediately.

While access to care is a vital flashpoint in America right now, it is equally important to ensure the quality of that care is improving, and not actually causing unnecessary harm or death. The documentary focuses on the idea of a new culture of safety in medicine through the efforts of a select few who believe the system can improve by first acknowledging its imperfections.

Please join Flashpoint alumni filmmakers for this feature documentary on patient safety.  


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

6:15 PM – 8:30 PM CST


Flashpoint Chicago Campus

Screening Room

28 N Clark St, 5th Floor

Chicago, IL 60602


Join us to learn more about design thinking methodology and meet some new friends while you're at it.

About this Event

We encounter instances where design fails us everyday: a confusing sign that results in a parking ticket, an online form that forces you to start over when you try to make a simple update, or a customer service call where 30 minutes and 5 transfers later you still don't have a clear answer. These experiences aren’t just frustrating, they can often negatively impact our day and, sometimes, our life.

Join Master Teacher, Megan Mueller for hands-on, group activities to reimagine an all too familiar Chicago pain point: the CTA. We’ll walk-through how to use design thinking as a framework so that you can leave with a new approach to reframing problems and rethinking everyday experiences.

This workshop is for folks who are brand spankin’ new to the world of design and ready to dive in head first or anyone who’s familiar with the practice but hoping to apply their knowledge in a collaborative environment.

Facilitator bio

Hi, I’m Megan.

I’m a Master Teacher at Flatiron School // Designation.

With my recent work focusing on how to reshape education to be more hands-on and adaptable. I’ve worked with brands such as Microsoft, AT&T, and Nikon, but my true passion lies within the community sector. I leverage design as a vehicle for social change, working with non-profit organizations to create sustainable policies, operations, and training programs. When I’m not covered in sticky notes, I’m diving into a new letterpress project, struggling to keep my houseplants alive, and being an overbearing cat mom.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST


Flatiron School // Designation Chicago

515 North State Street

Chicago, IL 60654


There are so many ways to give back to your community in 2019.  Visit over 85 nonprofit organizations from all over the city to learn how you can lend a hand. Whether your passion is the environment, the arts, or social justice, there’s a volunteer opportunity waiting for you.

Come prepared to participate in more speed volunteering opportunities than ever before!  Check out these special spots at the Expo where you can: 

  • Turn plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats for the homeless in partnership with New Life for Old Bags

  • Bring a canned good to donate to our food drive with the Friendship Center

  • Create cards for kids in the hospital to uplift their spirits through Cardz for Kidz


Sunday, February 24, 2019

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM CST


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 
2430 North Cannon Drive 
Chicago, IL 60614



9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


28 N. Clark St. 

Suite 500 

Chicago, IL 60602


Students (Career Services)


Students (Student Services)





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