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Model AME Pathways: Design

Arcata High School Design

Arcata High School is an under-resourced rural high school, located in northern California in Humbolt County. Johanna Mauro is the Director of the Arcata Arts Institute (AAI) and Media Arts teacher.

Pathway Courses: 

  • Introductory- Photography and Design 

  • Concentrator- Design for Communication 1 

  • Capstones*- Design for Communication 2 and 3 - capstones 

*This is so that students who come in at different grades can still have a class to take their senior year - for example, 9th grade introductory, 10th-grade concentrator, 11th-grade capstone, and 12th-grade advanced capstone.

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Industry Partners

Our Media Arts Pathway industry partners are Bug Press and Gage Seber. Bug Press is a  local design and print shop that gives tours to our students, assists in teaching how to send projects to print properly, and offers internships to our students.

Gage Seber is a photographer and graphic designer that has taught master classes in graphic design and photography. Mr. Seber mentors students with the photo shoot of our fashion design program and other program photography projects.

I teach a graphic design master class and have had 20+ years as a free-lance photographer and graphic designer. I was a project manager at a tourism magazine before I was a teacher.

Industry Partner Engagement

We offer 12+ master classes every semester taught by industry professionals. They come into our classes, during our school day and teach semester long classes that are skill based and career focused. 


Students start by taking our master classes (see above) and often make connections with industry that lead to internships and paid positions.

Work Based Learning

Our graphic design master class runs as a mini graphic design studio. We take client briefs from our school clubs, programs, etc. and create logos, flyers, Instagram posts etc. The graphic design students also create all the promotional materials for the Arcata Arts Institute projects and events. For example our students created the poster and the program for our fashion design event "Flow", our website graphics, our Artisan Faire event, etc. We also take "headshots" for our theatre department plays and musicals. 


We also occasionally do graphic design jobs for organizations and events that are outside our school community. In this way, students are doing jobs that graphic designers and photographers do in the industry. Students who are particularly effective in their roles have earned jobs and internships at Bug Press, for the AME Institute, and Victory Signs in Arcata CA.  


Our graphic design students all learn and use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator - industry-standard software. And many students go on to study graphic design and related fields in college, especially at California College of the Arts. Alumni have jobs as professional photographers, graphic designers, and UX developers.

Student Success

An AAI alum in graphic design was AME Institute's student ambassador in 2021 and then was hired part time to do graphic design work. We have other students who have graduated from our program who have worked for Carbon 5, Open Table, and one currently works for Drop Box. He still comes back into our classroom to talk to current students about careers in Graphic Design, UX, and other computer graphic related jobs.

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