'Print geek' Marybeth DeGroot loves her design duties in Publications

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Marybeth DeGroot, an associate in the Publications Office whose graphic design work benefits offices and departments across campus.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born in Rome, New York. I moved in the middle of second grade to Ithaca. We moved to North Syracuse when I was in the middle of eighth grade, and I graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse High School. I live in Clay now.

Q. Where did you go to college?
A. I went to SUNY Brockport and earned a bachelor of science in communications, journalism track. I wanted to be a journalist. When I was in college, I worked for the college newspaper as a section editor—entertainment, features, moved on up. One of my professors, Len LeCara—he works for the D&C newspaper in Rochester now—inspired me to want to go for design. I loved layout so much. So I started taking courses at RIT—my intro to Macintosh computers. It was all new!

Q. Where else have you worked?
A. My first job out of college was with a print shop in Syracuse, PCI Paper Conversions, the major competitors to 3M, the Post-It Notes. I worked there four years, then decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I started freelancing and ended up getting a job at Syracuse Label as a graphic designer for about eight years. I still freelance now.

Q. How did you come to SUNY Oswego?
A. I did freelance for Extended Learning. When I started here in Publications in October 2011, it was a shared position. Jody Longeill and I worked week on, week off. She retired and I started full time three years ago.

Q. What are your duties?
A. Essentially, I’m a graphic artist. We meet with our clients—other departments on campus. We design anything from brochures and programs and postcards to posters and more! We work with existing files and also do new design. We work directly with our pressman and our print operator, and make sure everything is set up properly for them. We have a one-color Ryobi 3200 press and two Konica Minolta digital copiers. We can do color copies, postcards, large-format printing.

Q. There are so many college publications; are you busy year round?
A. I’d say around the winter holidays tends to be the slowest, but there’s never a time when we have nothing to do. Summer is not slow, though people may think it is. We are so set apart from the rest of campus (in Building 20) that when people find out we are here and how much we can do for them, it’s amazing how much we’ve grown.

Q. What are you most proud of in your time with Publications?
A. We do a lot of work for Career Services. Gary Morris always has a lot of projects going. Recently, he has this new “Future You” to distinguish Career Services. Rose (Throop, director of publications) and I sat down and brainstormed with Gary. We designed the new campaign, and all its pieces are connected. People are very receptive to it.

Q. Will the internet put print in the rearview mirror?
A. The internet is a vital tool. There’s such a wealth of resources we can access, whether it’s a just a font or stock photography or just even for learning new software and new skills. I’m a print geek and I believe print will always be there. When you come into the office, you can see samples of some of the things we do, and it’s nice to have those in your hand, especially something tangible for prospective students to hold onto.

Q. What skillsets do you need to work as a publications associate?
A. Definitely you need to know printing processes and software applications—we work in (Adobe) Creative Suite. It’s important to know the end use of whatever project you’re working on, whether it’s digital or print. Something can look great on screen, but you know it isn’t going to print. You definitely have to have communication skills and be able to work well with others.

Q. What do you like most about working at SUNY Oswego?
A. I love the work that I do. It’s nice to walk through campus and see some of the things I’ve done. Besides the job-related things, I love Oswego. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go, and I take lots of pictures. I love finding new places and kind of exploring the area.

Q. What do you think about SUNY Oswego students?
A. I’m really impressed. There’s such a diverse group of students here. I look back to when I was in school and I think of all the things that are available to them now, like all the study abroad choices. I think we have just a great caliber of students.

Q. What do you like about working with your colleagues?
A. We have a really relaxed atmosphere. We all work together really well. We are such a small office, and we do enjoy working with each other.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
A. I’ve been married 18 years and I have two boys. Joseph is my 16-year-old and Joshua is 14. My husband, Joe DeGroot, is a plumbing superintendent for Burns Bros. in Syracuse.

Q. What do you like to do in your off-hours?
A. My boys both play baseball. This week, I think we have games every single day except for Tuesday. (Laughs.) I’m a huge baseball fan. I like to hike. I love photography—I’m always out with my camera. Freelance clients often want me to come out and take pictures, and I’ve taken some for here. Mostly, it’s just a hobby. Ever since my kids were in T-ball, I’m the mom who takes all the pictures. I have millions of albums and I give photos away to the other parents. I know every road in and out of Oswego, and I always take the back roads and take pictures of whatever I can find. There’s an eagle in Minetto I’ve been following for years—I have some amazing pictures of this eagle. It’s fun for me.