Origin Story

by Creative Director and CoLab Director and Founder Jillann Hertel, MFA

Before CoLab:

“What can I do with this degree?”

is a question that I had been asked countless times as an administrator, advisor, and educator in the liberal arts by well-meaning parents, concerned incoming students, and those students longing to change their major from another into LMC but were nervous. In short: they all wanted to understand their future employability if they joined or switched into the liberal arts since they are often falsely disassociated from having ‘skills.’

The best answer that really clicked for them was always to discuss the impact, the adaptability  and the broad reach of our skill sets, “You find computer science and coding to be an in-demand skillset yeah?,” consensus: yes. Then I’d go on, “and what you interact with as the end user —re: the text (writing), the images (graphics/design), and the stories…are all content developed by people with skills our students learn.”

CS (backend) cannot be successful in those arenas without LMC (frontend).

“How many of us are on our phones, tablets, computers; for work, for pleasure, for news, for social networking and more? And what percentage of companies, non-profits, schools, you name it — need content, storytelling, context, to communicate their missions, products, and services? One hundred.”

That was my answer about whether LMC students are employable after graduation and it landed every time. With this long standing confusion over the liberal arts’ value in mind coupled with my experiences in industry (outside academia): I founded LMC’s colab.

The colab was conceptualized and created to make tangible the aforementioned skills our students do learn and develop in our classrooms. As well as to make visible the impact of an LMC education so that those who want to pursue their passions can do so without the same worries of previous generations.

Therefore the colab is comprised of three interwoven spaces:

The results are many but a few target points are:

  • Hands-on learning
  • Career preparedness
  • Collaborative Opportunities
  • Internship and Employment experiences
  • Access to Alumni networks
  • Community-building