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Alumni . Alumni Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Valerie Mayen

Title Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur
Major Illustration, Graphic Design
Organization Yellow Cake

Valerie Mayen graduated from CIA in 2005 in Illustration and Graphic Design. Today she operates Yellow Cake, her own fashion label, out of Cleveland and was a contestant on season 8 of Lifetime Television's Project Runway.

Heather Moore

Title Founder, Heather Moore Jewelry
Major Glass
Organization Heather Moore Jewelry

Heather Moore ’93 founded a Cleveland-based jewelry company, Heather Moore Jewelry, that has national following, multiple awards, an amazing studio and production facility, and more than a dozen CIA grads among its staff of some 65. Heather shows us her award-winning lines of customized charm and bridal jewelry and talks about the evolution of her jewelry and the influence of her CIA education.

Michelle Murphy

Title Photographer
Major Photography + Video
Organization NASA

Michelle Murphy ’04 works as a photographer at Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center, a job she has had since graduation. By night and weekend, she is a fine art photographer with an active studio practice, a regular educator in CIA’s Continuing Education program, co-editor/curator of the online magazine, and most recently, the co-owner with husband Matt Smith of a studio/gallery with an associated artist residency program (

Alex Pakis

Title Designer and Owner
Major Jewelry + Metals
Organization Greenpoint Craftworks

Alex Pakis '04 is the designer and owner of Greenpoint Craftworks, a custom jewelry and bike boutique in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to launching his company, Alex worked with an international fashion label. At Greenpoint Craftworks, Alex has created a sought-after line of jewelry, and he is regularly commissioned to create one-of-a-kind pieces. In addition to developing wearable art, Alex is well-known for his bicycle restoration work. In December 2009, he was featured in the Japanese magazine, Pedal Speed.

Lisa Pascolini-DeRousse

Title Manager + Buyer
Organization Hallmark Surface Design + Textile Collection

Lisa Pascolini-DeRousse '86 scours the international design market to find antique and contemporary designs that she brings back to Hallmark designers for use in card, gift wrap, and home product designs. Everyday she's thrilled to apply her love of history and design to keep Hallmark at the forefront of visual design.

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Zack Petroc

Title Model Supervisor
Major Sculpture + Expanded Media
Organization Disney Feature Animation

Zack Petroc graduated from CIA in 1997 with a BFA in sculpture. Now he’s at the top of the digital sculpture and animation fields, working as a model supervisor at Disney Feature Animation. Through Zack Petroc Studios he creates unique new content and offers training for digital artists around the world. He spoke with us after the release of Big Hero 6, which won the Oscar for best animated film and which earned Zack the award for Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture from the Visual Effects Society for his work on the character Baymax. Read more about Petroc here.

Marc Petrovic

Title Chair of Glass Department
Major Glass
Organization Cleveland Institute of Art

Internationally recognized glass artist Marc Petrovic '91 is an assistant professor and chair of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Glass Department.

Widely regarded as a leader in the glass art field, Petrovic has been a full-time studio artist for 23 years. His work is held in numerous private collections and in public collections including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; Niijima Museum of Glass, Tokyo; The Mint Museum, Charlotte; Racine Art Museum; Tacoma Museum of Glass, and many others.

He is represented by Heller Gallery in New York City; Thomas R. Riley Gallery in Cleveland; Habatat Galleries in Royal Oak, Michigan; Imago Gallery in Palm Desert, California; Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, Virginia;Dane Gallery on Nantucket in Massachusetts; eo Art Lab in Chester, Connecticut; and Admiralty Gallery in Vero Beach, Florida.

René Polin

Title President of Balance Product Development
Major Industrial Design

As founder and president of a multi-disciplinary design firm, René’s portfolio includes hundreds of successful products for companies across the globe, including Rubbermaid, Ninja, and Fisher Price. Creative problem solving, and a sense of balance, are both traits that René attributes to his CIA education.

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