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Graduate spotlight: Kseniia Sulialeva turns passion for art into career in graphic design

Kseniia Sulialeva, a native of Russia, in front of a dock filled with sea lions.
Kseniia Sulialeva, a native of Russia, used her Pellissippi State associate degree in Design for Web and Print to catapult her into a new career in graphic design.

A paid internship has led to a full-time job for a Pellissippi State Community College student who will graduate Friday. 

Kseniia Sulialeva, who has earned her Associate of Arts in Media Technologies/Design for Web and Print, has accepted a graphic design position at Radio Systems Corporation, 10 years after she moved to the United States from her native Russia. 

Sulialeva enrolled at Pellissippi State in spring 2021 after she learned about Tennessee Reconnect, a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition for adult learners after all state and federal financial aid has been applied. 

“Pellissippi State was highly recommended to me by my friends who are former students,” Sulialeva said. “Luckily for me, it had my desired degree in graphic design, so Pellissippi State was the only place I applied because it was the place I wanted to study.”  

Art and design have always been passions of Sulialeva’s – so she loved that her professors in Design for Web and Print had “real, hands-on experience” in the field. 

“All of my professors were amazing at what they did,” she said.  

Sulialeva credits her advisor, Assistant Professor Melissa Dos Santos, with providing the assistance she needed to succeed in her courses and move into her career field. 

One of Kseniia Sulialeva's designs in her portfolio
This is just one of Kseniia Sulialeva‘s designs in her portfolio.

“Kseniia is a detail-focused graphic artist with a collaborative spirit,” Dos Santos said. “When she is not immersed in illustrating, creating layout designs or branding, she explores the worlds of psychology and neurobiology and how the human condition itself relates to every component of graphic art. She views graphic design as a language embedded in all our daily lives. 

“We are excited to see how Kseniia’s career will continue to grow and evolve,” she added. 

Sulialeva’s full-time job as a graphic designer isn’t the only thing she is looking forward to after graduation, however. 

“I’ve been waiting to finish school so that I can get a puppy,” she said. “It’s been a long-term goal, and it’s about to turn into a long-term commitment.” 

You can see more of Sulialeva’s designs at