Fourth-year student Rhoda Chaung has let nothing stop her from going after a degree in graphic design.

Born in America, Chaung moved to Hong Kong with her family when she was three months old and attended school in Hong Kong until she was 16 years old.

During her primary education in Hong Kong, she attended an art school where she learned and worked with different styles, techniques and mediums.

Chaung said, “I really enjoy using scratchboard,” which is a dark board that you scratch out with a needle to create the image.

She prefers to use colored pencils, because they are easy to maneuver on paper, unlike water color which she finds difficult to control.

However, she appreciates the soft feeling both give to art.

Chaung occasionally works with acrylics, but doesn’t like how harsh it looks in her work.

Studying in Hong Kong introduced her to oil painting, which she despises and tries to avoid using due to how difficult she finds it.

After studying in Hong Kong, she spent her senior year of high school in New Zealand.

Because New Zealand schools have a 13-year grade system before students can graduate, unlike the United States which has 12, Chaung does not have a high school diploma.

“I think it’s sad because having a high school diploma means you’ve accomplished something, but I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go back and get one since I’m already at university,” Chaung said.

After her year in New Zealand, Chaung went back to Hong Kong and worked for six months managing the front desk at an English center, where they teach Chinese students English.

Her uncle, who is a graduate from Cal Poly Pomona, told her she should come study in America like her cousin.

This meant that Chaung would have to live on her own and take care of herself during her education.

She studied for four years at Mt. San Antonio College, where she ultimately made her decision to study graphic design instead of fine arts in hopes of get a better job.

“I don’t like history and I’m not very good at it,” Chaung said. “And when you are studying for a fine arts degree, you need to do a lot of history.”

During the past four years studying at CPP, Chaung has held three jobs: teaching autistic children to read, interning for her uncle’s friend by creating posters, and working at America Asia Travel Center, Inc.

Although she has attended school longer than her younger brother has, Chaung feels no pressure from her parents.

“Chinese parents usually want their children to grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer, but my parents know that I’m working hard so they support me and tell me it’s okay,” Chaung said.

Chaung is a dedicated student and is looking forward to graduation next year.

“The Cycle Society”

“The Cycle Society.” (Courtesy of Rhoda Chaung)

Chaung created this piece using scratchboard. She was inspired by her parents who are middle class citizens back in Hong Kong.

She wanted to show how they support those in the lower class who are eligible for benefits from the government when they are the ones who ultimately pay the taxes which pay for the benefits the lower class receives.

“Fire Girl”

“Fire Girl,” Chaung’s paper cutout illustration inspired by a German short story. (Courtesy of Rhoda Chaung)

As a homework assignment for a summer session class, Chaung created this piece entirely out of cut outs of paper.

The assignment was to choose a story from a German storybook and create a piece based on the story.

The story she chose told about a girl who played with matches against her mother’s and cat’s wishes and turned to dust.

“I was so shocked that this was a story for kids,” Chaung said. “I feel so sorry for the German kids.”

[Unnamed piece]

An unnamed frog illustration by Chaung. (Courtesy of Rhoda Chaung)

Chaung completed this piece in 2013 while she attended Mt. SAC after her professor told the class to create something using an animal as inspiration.

“I had “The Princess and the Frog” on my mind when I was assigned the topic so I used frogs.”

She wanted to also convey how women have the right to choose what is best for them.

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