Meet OCC 2023 Grads: Justin Harnack

Justin Harnack

Justin advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion, believing everyone deserves the same opportunities in life to find their passions and achieve their goals. He promotes safe zone trainings that bring awareness to different stereotypes and biases of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Degree: Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design
Major: Graphic Design
Student Involvement/Honors: President Phi Theta Kappa Highland Lakes, PTK Michigan Regional Officer, PTK Distinguished Chapter Officer Award, Dean’s List

Hear more from Justin

Q: The past couple of years have been defined by change. What’s your “new normal?” 
A: I still use Zoom for meetings so the virtual aspect is part of my new normal. I feel people are more accommodating now since COVID. If you can’t attend things (in person), you can virtually.

Q: How has all of the change in the past two years affected your worldview and plans for the future?
A: It’s affected my view of the world. When something was going wrong before COVID, I knew about it but I didn’t think it was a reality. After COVID, I try to always have a backup plan for anything I do just in case.

Q: What were your biggest accomplishments at OCC?
A: Getting two associate degrees! I graduated last spring with a Business in Administration degree, and now I will have a degree in graphic design. Also, my achievements in PTK: I received the Distinguished Chapter Officer Award at the international level, and at the regional level, I am the Michigan regional officer and speak at different places and meet great people.

“Take every opportunity given to you and make the most out of it.” - Justin Harnack

Q: What are you most proud of? 
A: Being a first-generation college student. My parents played a big part in it. I could see what I wanted to do, which was marketing at the time. For that, I needed a degree to get a good job and understand the whole marketing world. 

Q: What kind of support have you received from OCC faculty and staff?
A: My PTK advisors, Gail Adams and Heidi Renton, are amazing and supported me with classes and different resources at OCC. My graphic designer instructor, Peter Schade, is beyond supportive of his students and helps you with critiquing and bettering your work. I like listening to his stories when he worked in the industry and taking all that in and learning from it.

Q: What’s next for you after graduation?
A: My goal is to find full-time employment as graphic designer after graduating from OCC and if that doesn’t pan out, I will transfer to purse a bachelor’s degree at a university.