ABOUT THE FACULTY

The tour leader for this program, Mara Jevera Fulmer, holds a special place in her heart for the Pacific and the Fiji Islands. In 1991, she moved with her husband and two young children to Fiji from upstate New York in order to take the job of Senior Graphic Artist and Art Director for the University of the South Pacific. Located in the heart of Fiji's capital city of Suva, the university is run by 12 member nations and offers true dual mode learning, balancing the needs of on-campus students and providing new meaning to the term "distance learning" when serving a geographic area larger than the United States.

Mara's work included overseeing the graphic design and photography department of the University Media Centre as well as serving as adjunct faculty to the emerging Journalism Programme, now an award-winning degree program recognized around the world. During her time there, she also worked closely on design projects for the Fiji Government including development of publications for their disaster management plan, the Fiji National Museum on a design and marketing plan, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (aka World Wildlife Fund) on a series of educational materials for conservation of precious natural resources among indigenous peoples.

Academic work also complemented her experiences there and resulted in the development of the text "Symbols & Patterns of Grassroots Culture in the Fiji Islands", a cross-cultural visual reference aimed at promoting greater understanding of the meaning of symbols used in Fijian art and material culture. Her education includes a BA in Fine Art Photography and Journalism from the University at Albany, SUNY, with concentrated studies in Commercial Art, and an MA in Advertising Design from Syracuse University. She is currently working towards an MFA in Graphic Design from Michigan State University.

In 1997, Mara moved her family from Fiji to Flint to accept a position at C.S. Mott Community College where she created a new degree program leading to an Associates in Applied Science in Graphic Design. In her post as Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator in Graphic Design, the program has grown to over 150 students and is enjoying state-of-the-art equipment and software to help prepare students for future careers in the field of visual communications. Throughout the program, however, there is an underlying emphasis in cross-cultural communication and the importance of learning about and embracing the diverse people that make up our global community.

Mara and her family still retain close ties to Fiji through friends and adopted family, and the home they built there.