Alumni Spotlight

When Work and Passion Collide

Alexandra Doucette ’13


At a young age, Alexandra Doucette ’13 became fascinated with letterpress and hand lettering. She admitted that she was always the one to judge a book by its cover. Doucette’s parents are also Philadelphia University alumni and are very creative. It was her parents who gave her an old Nikon FG film camera in high school. She instantly fell in love with photography. After taking film and digital classes and a graphic arts class, Doucette knew she wanted a career path that would provide her with the opportunity to be creative while pursuing her passion for photography. Graphic design would allow her to do both.

Doucette had no doubt in her mind that PhilaU was the place for her. She chose the University for its atmosphere and because she was very familiar with the school. Doucette’s parents showed their daughter their favorite places when they visited campus. She loved feeling like she was in the suburbs and knowing the city was only minutes away.

designWhile at PhlaU, Doucette valued the connections and relationships she made. She developed a strong relationship with her professors and worked for two of them upon graduation. They helped her adjust in to the professional world and gave her freelancing opportunities while she figured out where she wanted to go. Frank Baseman, AIGA Fellow, Program Director and Professor of Graphic Design said Doucette was one of the most naturally gifted young designers that graduated from the program. Stating, “She has an extraordinary work ethic, she takes criticism very well, she was a leader of her peer group and flat out, she’s a very nice person.” Upon graduating, Doucette received the Top Senior Award and her portfolio was deemed second of the Top 5 Portfolios. Rose DiSanto, Visiting Professor of Graphic Design seconded everything Baseman said about Doucette. “I can’t say enough great things about her – both when she was in the classroom and now that she is out in the world.”

Doucette’s connections at PhilaU are what helped her land an interview and get hired full-time at Karma Agency, a content agency bringing creativity and strategic insight to every point of influence in the marketing continuum. The creative services manager at Karma, one of three PhilaU alumni working at the agency, reached out to PhilaU looking for a potential new hire. Doucette along with a few other graduates were recommended for the position. She joined the team as a freelancer and after a few months she was hired full-time.  Before joining Karma, Doucette admitted that she turned down jobs because she was waiting for an opportunity she would really enjoy. She knew it was risky but it paid off because Karma has allowed her to learn and work with fun, quirky colleagues, making the transition from college student to working professional easier. “It’s not always easy, but I think that’s how I know I’m in the right place because I can feel myself being constantly pushed and growing,” explained Doucette.

designDoucette enjoys the diversity in design and seeing people interact with the designs she created. She is constantly working on different projects that the work had not become monotonous. She is currently working on a program book and brochure for the Curtis Institute of Music, which she is really enjoying. She had the rare opportunity to shoot photography for the client. Curtis understands creativity allowing designers like Doucette to push design boundaries, something she and the agency are unable to do with most corporate clients.

Doucette loves photography and she has her mother, also a photographer, to thank for that. “Ali has a natural artistic gift that was evident from very early on when she was making homemade birthday cards with pop ups and moving pieces for her family,” explained Susan Doucette ’88. “I am proud of her and so glad she is pursuing her passion.”

Doucette learned how to develop her own film and print photos in a darkroom. Though she loves the advantages of digital photography, film will always be her favorite. One day, she hopes to have a small dark room in her home to continue developing and printing photos. Doucette said it is a soothing and rewarding art for those who have the patience. “It’s a part of me I never want to lose no matter how busy I get.” She is learning how important time management is so that the creativity is never forced or rushed.

designHer dedication and hard work is being recognized. Since graduating, she was selected as part of two hitRecord collaborations and was the 2013 winner of GDUSA American Graphic Design Award. Doucette kept in contact with those who meant a lot to her in college and with their help, was able to get to where she is today. “Keep positive relationships, you’ll never know when they’ll come back to help you,” stressed Doucette. “It’s a small world, especially in design.”