Nitzan & Beyond

2004 was when everything changed.

I was 18 years old, sitting on a bus with over fifty other girls headed to the Negev desert for basic training.

 

Prior to 2004 I was an introverted art student with a passion for photography, oil paint and using sculpture to transform space. I was raised on a kibbutz in the Western Galilee of Israel and spent my time in a sheltered community that taught me how to build relationships, value hard work, and milk cows.  My close knit family included my parents, who are the most supportive and encouraging individuals I know and my younger sister who was my arch nemesis during our teen years and has since become one of my best friends. My idyllic youth was not without its struggles. I was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia at a young age and had to overcome the learning disabilities and stigma that came with them. With the support of my parents and some very special educators I managed to graduate at the top of my class.

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Ten days out of high school I began my service in the Israeli Air force. On day one of basic training I became and extrovert, a leader and an adult. I learned first hand that intense pressure and copious amounts of responsibility could either be one's downfall or one's path to personal growth and I thrived with every added obstacle. I served for two years. In that time I grew to become a leader in my unit and was awarded a commendation as outstanding soldier. My unit became my family, my home and my school of life.

When my service ended I uprooted my life and moved to San Diego, California, to care for my grandfather. While I cared for grandpa, I took classes at the local community college; I joined the speech and debate team and completed the honors program and set my sights on one of the top graphic design programs in the country. Unfortunately my grandfather was no longer around when I received my acceptance letter to California State University Long Beach.

Moving to Long Beach let me to new level of independence. For the first time I was truly self-sufficient. After a year of preparation I submitted my portfolio for consideration to the BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) program in graphic design at CSULB. My hard work paid off and I was accepted as part of a cohort of twenty-four ambitious individuals who over the next two years became a new branch on my ever-growing family tree. The BFA program taught me not only the ins and outs of the Adobe creative suite but also critical and concept-driven thinking. I practiced teamwork at every level and I was able to utilize the leadership skills I had gained during my military service and hone my project management capabilities. When it was time for our senior show, at the conclusion of the program we were able to assemble one the most successful presentations in the history of the program.

 

And then came real life.

 

At this moment in time I live in Signal Hill, CA, I work for Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County in Irvine and I spend much of my time on the 405 freeway. I am the marketing communications and events coordinator for the young adult division of JFFS, aka NextGen. Working for a non-profit has its benefits, I love the community I work for and the reward of knowing my work contributes to bettering other people’s lives.

 

I use the little free time I have volunteering as a lay leader at IAC LEAD and exploring the vast world of geek culture which I am very much involved with.