Making a Global Impact: Online Graphic Design Student Tutors Her Peers from Germany

A journey from South America to the United States to Europe

Mariana Moncada was born in Colombia, South America, but her journey has taken her around the world. She graduated from high school in her home country and began studying business administration followed by interior design at different universities. She’s always had an innate interest for art and expressing herself creatively, but it was the interior design program that ultimately sparked her intrigue and passion for the design field.

Mariana in Europe wearing sunglasses

Mariana’s husband serves in the U.S. Army, which has provided them with many places to call “home” over the years; her family moved to Washington, D.C., and then relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, where she would become a first-time mom. Knowing graphic design was the field she was destined to practice, her family and friends always looked to her to design logos and create T-shirts for their personal businesses or events. She excelled at it, and in 2014, she decided to pursue a formal education.

Specifically searching for an online design program, Mariana happened upon the Rasmussen College Graphic Design program and knew it was the fit for her. “Since I graduated from a high school in Colombia, there was a lot of paperwork required during the enrollment process,” Mariana explains. “I was lucky to find Rasmussen because everyone’s guidance was really helpful and they made the process very easy for me.” She enrolled in the Online Graphic Design Associate’s degree program, but that isn’t where her story ends: Mariana was in pursuit of her Bachelor’s degree.

The transition into the Bachelor’s program wasn’t immediate, and it wasn’t without another life-changing event happening first. In 2016, Mariana’s husband was presented with an opportunity to take his job to Germany. Being the fearless woman, mother and wife she is, Mariana pushed him to take the leap, and before long they were starting their next chapter in Frankfurt. Their first two months were spent in a hotel, but they eventually settled into a home in an area that allows them to immerse themselves in the country’s culture every day.

The couple welcomed their second child, and in 2018, Mariana decided nothing would stop her from achieving her dream and it was time to continue her education. All the way from Frankfurt, Germany, she enrolled in the Online Graphic Design Bachelor’s degree program.

Her passion and positivity serve as resources for her peers

Soon after starting her courses, Mariana heard about work-study opportunities and was curious to learn more. The flexibility of working from home appealed to her, so she applied for the role of a Peer Tutor and was offered the position. Her previous experience at Rasmussen College paired with her passion for her field of study made her the perfect candidate. “You can see the support some students need, and it’s a really great experience to be the person to help them through it and make a difference in their lives,” says Mariana. “I’ve already been through it as a new student, so it feels nice to be able to provide guidance for them.”

Mariana headshot

The Peer Tutor program is a virtual, online experience; however, Mariana says that she doesn’t feel the distance. “You’re still talking with somebody, so it feels like a natural experience, just like you would talk on the phone with family or friends when they need guidance,” she says. “It’s really rewarding. And by the end of your session, you’ve gotten to know other students and their experiences, so it’s helped me feel more connected.”

As a Peer Tutor, Mariana is not only helping others with their studies, but she is also learning a lot herself. She says, “During my sessions, I know I am learning skills that will help me during interviews and in my career.”

In addition to the skills she is gaining as a tutor, the joy Mariana gets from her studies is a bright lesson for all of us: Do what you love. She shares, “It doesn’t feel like homework. It’s not stressful for me, instead it’s very relaxing. I enjoy every part of my assignments and every challenge I face. It’s the feeling I get every time I sit down and start working.” The online program allows her the flexibility to work on her assignments in the morning, be a mother to her two—soon to be three—young children during the day, tutor in the evening and wind down for the night. With such a busy schedule, she has mastered the art of organization.

Mariana is looking forward to growing her creative career and gaining experience in the field. She has always tended to dream about her future, and one of her biggest life goals was to finish her Bachelor’s degree. When talking about overcoming life’s obstacles, she says, “There’s always an excuse. There’s always going to be something in your way. You just have to realize that you either start now or you start never. You just have to do it. If you really dream about it, you can do it.” Mariana plans to graduate in 2020, and we can’t wait to see where her dreams lead her.

Interested in learning more about work-study opportunities at Rasmussen College? Visit:

To learn more about the Rasmussen College Graphic Design Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs, please visit:

About the author

Katie Willems

Katie is a Social Media and Brand Engagement Strategist at Collegis Education who shares inspiring stories and newsworthy information with Rasmussen University’s social media communities. She loves seeing others inspired by the stories she shares and hopes her content both educates and motivates readers to overcome the challenges of their education journeys.

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