As one of the few members of her family to graduate from college or even attend, Denise Shaver has a lot to be proud of. Shaver grew up in Lansing the youngest of eight in a family fighting against poverty.
Once Shaver graduated high school, she decided she wanted to do more for herself. She was able to receive a good share of financial aid to attend Michigan State University. Because of this good fortune in the midst of financial misfortune, she describes herself as having been “disadvantaged and advantaged.”
Originally, Shaver planned to earn a degree in journalism. However, she had an overwhelming passion for art as well. In the end, instead of a career in journalism, she pursued design.
For the majority of her post-college years, Shaver has taught courses on design. Initially, she taught classes in interior design and fashion at Baker College. While teaching classes, she eventually started taking classes for herself in graphic design and Web design.
“All design basics are the same: the layout, color theory, the need for a visual eye to know what works [well],” said Shaver.
Soon after taking those courses, she began teaching graphic design at Baker and at Lansing Community College (LCC). Once she was offered more classes at LCC, she made the switch to only teach classes there, instead of continuing to teach at both, because LCC was closer to her residence in St. Johns.
She hopes that her children will inherit some of her design abilities because she feels people with an artsy side tend to be more free-spirited, something she has loved about her students.
“I don’t want my children to be confined and rigid,” said Shaver.
Although Shaver still teaches classes at LCC, she has also taken a position as Web designer for Delta Dental this year.
“This is my dream job, and I am very fortunate to get to do something that I enjoy and have a talent for,” said Shaver.
At Delta Dental, Shaver is able to utilize her expertise in design and her passion for writing by building and updating the Web site. Although she works 50 to 60 hours per week, she has never been happier.
“It is so much fun because it mixes both my design and writing background,” said Shaver.
She loves to spend her free time with her family doing family-oriented activities, such as going to church.
“I really care about others, and I’m a really happy mom,” said Shaver.