Now a successful artist, illustrator, designer, and typographer, Ché Saitta-Zelterman attended MMFS in the early 2000s. She shares her experiences as a student and working professional with a learning disability.
Ché Saitta-Zelterman always knew she’d be an artist. She attended the MMFS lower school, back before the middle and upper school opened. After graduating from York Preparatory School in 2007, Ché knew her next step was art school. She decided on the Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia, drawn not only to Tyler’s academic offerings, but also to the community atmosphere on campus. She earned a BFA in Printmaking in 2011 and then returned to New York to earn an MFA in Illustration from FIT. Ché worked full-time as a designer for clients such as Vice Magazine while earning her master’s, so that by the time she graduated, she had an expansive portfolio and many career options.
Ché was hired by HBO in 2019 as an in-house designer and illustrator for the Design and Production Department. When her contract with HBO ended last October, she moved into her current role as an illustrator at the Government Printing Office.
Ché says that as a student with a learning disability, art school was not without challenges. She struggled to receive the accommodations she needed. Ultimately, she says, it was the community she built at Tyler that was her lifeline. Ché stresses, however, that students with learning disabilities should not have to find alternative avenues to attain the resources for which they are entitled. One of the most important takeaways for all MMFS students is the importance of self-advocacy, a skill that served Ché well in her college years. She hopes that services for and understanding of students with learning disabilities in higher education have improved since her time as an undergrad. Though Ché achieved success in college, she does not want others to face the same struggles she experienced.
Ché recounts that the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, and kindness have been important in her life and her work since her time at MMFS. Her website (which you should check out) notes that she is “interested in designing meaningful experiences that evoke positive emotions and shape how users interact.” You can learn more about Ché and see more examples of her work here.
Ché invites MMFS students who are interested in advice on how to navigate art school or pursue a career in the visual arts to reach out. Contact email@example.com to be connected.