The OCC Effect: Helena Jaramillo

Helena Jaramillo was born in Ecuador, immigrated to the United States and grew up in Syracuse. After spending her freshman year at Nottingham High School, she moved out west and graduated from a high school in Boulder, Colorado. Her desire to attend Onondaga Community College brought her back to Central New York. “It was an excellent choice for me. I saved money and explored different subjects so I could find what I was most passionate about.”

Her exploratory journey led her from journalism to web development. “I remember the CIS (Computer Information Systems) classes, because they helped me build a strong foundation in coding, in order to later grasp new material better.” After her time at OCC, Jaramillo transferred to SUNY Purchase to study New Media.

Shortly after earning her degree Jaramillo moved to Zurich, Switzerland to become an Interaction Designer at Google until 2016. Since then, she has been working at TransferWise, a London based company, as a Product Designer. “In short, I design digital services like apps and websites so that they are both delightful and easy to use.”

Despite working almost 3,500 miles away and for some of the biggest companies in the world, Jaramillo still reaches back to her OCC roots almost on a daily basis. “I worked while going to school full-time, as did many of my classmates. That work ethic along with the fundamentals from my CIS classes are always with me and keep me motivated and inspired.”


Martha Lynn Laskie, ’03

Martha Lynn Laskie, ’03 is a success in the world of graphic design and illustration. She owns her own company, Martha Lynn Laskie Graphic Design & Illustration.

She also co-founded Alpha Beta Creatives as Creative Director which is located on East 25th Street in Manhattan. Her client list includes high profile companies such as Citibank, Marriott Hotels and Mercedes-Benz. She credits OCC with helping build the foundation for her success. “The College helped me discover what I wanted to do professionally and did so at a cost that was manageable.”

Laskie came to OCC from Skaneateles High School. She was interested in both Art and History, but two Art professors made an indelible impact on her. “Deb Haylor-McDowell and Nick Todisco were very influential in my development. They allowed me to find my voice and style so I could begin to make my own work. Through them I learned to be tenacious while pursuing my dreams. I learned that if I was relentless I would achieve success.”

Laskie earned an Art degree from OCC, then moved to New York City and enrolled in SUNY Purchase’s prestigious School of Art & Design. She loved designing and laying out pages and decided to major in Graphic Design. Laskie began designing resumes and logos for friends. Their enthusiasm for her work inspired her. It led to her designing websites and all of a sudden, a business was created. Martha now offers all manner of services including web design, printing, marketing and full business development.

In 2008 she started Martha Lynn Laskie Graphic Design & Illustration. As she nurtured her own business on the side, Laskie also worked as a lead designer for multiple creative firms in and around the New York City area. She has also consistently been voted by the “Best of Yonkers” Small Business Awards committee for Design Consultants in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Martha’s expertise is in providing branding development and business consultant services for small and mid-size businesses.

Laskie says it is important for the students of today to keep an eye on the big picture when planning their career. “Even though my focus was on art and creativity, there is a business side to it as well. Take some marketing or business courses. It’s a nice way to complement your degree. Look for courses that will help you advance your major.”

You can follow or connect with Laskie on social media through:

Twitter: @mlaskie
Facebook: @marthalynnlaskiegraphicdesign