“DR. RONG NOT only is an excellent instructor, she is an amazing advisor and mentor, ensuring that not only technology and industry standards are taught, but with diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure all of our students have a voice at the industry table.” – Colleen L Twomey, Associate Professor/Department Chair, Cal Poly State University
Your continued research and industry connections ensure you’re teaching and inspiring the minds of the next generations of students entering the industry. Can you explain the importance of screen printing education, training, and research at a young age and your involvement in this?
Screen printing is not just a manufacturing process that puts inks on T-shirts. Many of our students were drawn into the graphics world through their early exposure to screen printing. At college education, the students study more in-depth knowledge about the science behind beautiful prints and experience the challenges of being more creative with newer technologies. The better the students understand the advantages and limitations of screen printing, the better they can apply the knowledge to create attractive products. I teach screen printing with a broad perspective including design requirements, material interactions, production techniques, and business aspects of every step. The students are able to apply the design skills they have to product development including products like garments, packaging, and art reproduction. My relationship with the industry helps me to transfer the newest technologies and business concepts to my students. They are prepared on the first day of a real-world job.
You have more than 20 years of experience in the commercial printing, paper, screen printing, and ink industries. Can you talk about the shift in technologies over the last two decades and how it has shaped your career?
My past experience was mostly in the commercial printing segment. The biggest change I have witnessed in the past two decades is the transition to more digital content and digitized production processes. I was lost at one point to think that physical and tangible products will not have much growth. However, I fell in love with many tangible products that stimulate more of our senses beyond the vision. I worked with many companies in the screen printing industry on printing electronics components. In the past five years, I started to incorporate sensory design principles into my study and teaching. Screen printing and many other digital printing processes provide the tactile experiences that a digital device alone cannot provide. I also started to incorporate electronics to graphic communication products like interactive, intelligent packaging, and marketing materials, to bring a strong sensory connection to the users. All I can say now is that tangible products provide unique value to effective communication that will never disappear.Advertisement
Seventy five percent of students at Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department are women. What does it mean to be a woman in the screen printing industry?
Our program has more female students, which does not reflect the reality in the industry. However, the students are exposed to the screen printing industry through the program and understand the opportunities of working in such an industry. Their perspectives about the industry will definitely be different once they are ready for the job market. We want our female students to feel empowered by learning and applying technologies, challenging gender bias with confidence. As a woman in the screen printing industry, just like in any other industry, I see gender stereotypes exist, but it will have less influence once we have more educated women in the industry.
Watch the Inaugural Women in Screen Printing Awards
Congratulations to the six winners of the inaugural Women in Screen Printing Awards. Watch the recording of the live virtual awards ceremony from September 24, 2020. This recognition is received by six female leaders who have advanced the screen printing industry through their innovation, vision in spearheading successful businesses, and philanthropy. Serving in influential positions such as owner, founder, and CEO, these women are impacting our field as a whole as well as the communities they serve.
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