Former student finds her artistic passion at SJCC

It might take longer to graduate if your calling is unclear, but it’s all worth it 


Graphic by Madison McNamara

Eddie Molarius
Madison McNamara, SJCC student, class of 2020 (Photo Courtesy of Eddie Molarius, contributor)

Madison McNamara is considered an essential worker during this pandemic. She is the produce manager for Whole Foods here in San Jose, all while enrolled in college full time.

McNamara was born in Oregon. After graduating from high school, she moved to San Jose, California, in 2014.

McNamara started at San Jose City College in 2015 as a freshman.

“I was dead set on going to college. I wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do yet, which is why it took me so long to finally graduate,” McNamara said.

McNamara said she wanted to do animation, but after learning how much computer work it was and learning all the processes that went into the major, McNamara looked into other art fields.

“I dabbled into psychology for a little bit, but then I ended up landing on graphic design,” McNamara said.

In the Spring of 2019, McNamara took Journ 032A and helped with design work for The City College Times newspaper.

“It was actually my first major-related class, so it helped me learn the basics of design and pushed me into programs like photoshop,” McNamara said.

Simultaneously, she was enrolled in English 1A and English 1B, which both were eight weeks long with Heidi Kozlowski.

“I would describe her as a serious student. She wasn’t unfocused or there just trying to, kind of find out what she wanted to do in life. She had a pretty clear idea about what she wanted to do, how long she wanted to take and so forth,” Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski said that McNamara helped her stay on track during lectures when she would sometimes drift away from the main subject.

 McNamara said she was inspired to draw when she was younger, while watching anime.

“I realized I wanted to do something in art, but I knew that traditional artists don’t typically make a lot of money, so I wanted something that makes more money. After looking more into it, I figured it out,” McNamara said.

Junjie Qiu, a former classmate, met McNamara last semester in their 2D design class and became friends shortly after. They both share an interest in media arts and even talked about building a small art studio together.

“We were always together in every class, and she would help me if I didn’t understand something,” Qiu said. Madison tells me her ideas on some assignments and I’ll get my ideas from her ideas, she said.

Qiu said she hopes that her friend accomplishes her goals even if later on, they may not be together.

McNamara said she applied for both Oregon and San Jose State but because of how expensive Oregon was, she decided to go with San Jose State.

In the spring of this year, McNamara graduated with her AA in Liberal Arts and Media Arts. She started her first semester at SJSU in August, to get her Bachelor’s Degree in design study.

McNamara said she hopes to start her own business after she finishes college. 

“I want to go into the social media managing field because I’ve done a lot of research on that,” McNamara said. “I want to tie that in with graphic design and just make my own thing out of it.”