Julian Kiganda graduated from Marymount with a degree in Graphic Design. Her experiences at Marymount, and influences from an MU professor, led her to pursue a very successful career path.
Julian, a native of Uganda, grew up in the suburbs of Maryland. Although she was accepted to both Princeton University and John Hopkins University, she decided to attend Marymount because it was close to home, a small institution, and Catholic. Julian notes, “In addition to the proximity, I received a scholarship for all four years. I am proud to say that I was the first in my immediate family to attend Marymount. Since I enrolled, two of my siblings attended Marymount and my nephew has also enrolled.”
Julian credits several faculty members for her success as a graphic designer. “One of the most instrumental professors that I had as a student was Professor Barry Erdeljon. I learned a lot from his teachings and advice.” In addition, “I truly feel that Marymount gave me an excellent foundation for the work that I do now.” Julian also adds, “Marymount has one of the best design programs in this area that I have seen.” Julian, a commuter for all four years, said that she had a great experience at Marymount. “I have quite a few Marymount friends that I am still in touch with today.”
Since graduation, Julian believes that her degree has taken her to lots of places. Her first job was serving as a volunteer for Career Day. She worked at the Nature Conservancy for several years designing their membership magazine, which was distributed to more than a million members. Later she began freelancing for AARP, Discovery Communications, Family Health International and Live, Learn, Freedom House Museum, and the Northern Virginia Urban League.
Currently, Julian owns Vibrant Design Group (VDG), a firm that focuses on creating marketing and branding campaigns for multicultural audiences. In addition to VDG, Julian created the nonprofit organization “African Diaspora for Change,” which focuses on cultural education, community dialogue, and civic engagement/policy. The purpose of the organization is to work with African immigrant communities to help build bridges between Africans the rest of the Diaspora. The work that she has done with African Diaspora for Change, has afforded her opportunities to speak at the World Bank, Capitol Hill, and the U.S. Delegation to Senegal in 2010.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her eight-year-old daughter and performing with the dance group “Mbuutu Uganda,” which is an East African performance group. She has performed song, dance, and drama, at the Kennedy Center and most recently St. Maarten. In addition to managing two organizations and performing with a professional dance group, Julian also volunteers her time at Marymount by conducting portfolio reviews for seniors in the Graphic Design program. Julian also collaborated with faculty, staff, and students to produce a video for the Freedom House design project.