Las Vegas resident Ana Katarina Charvet is 18 years old and already has a head start in her career in graphic design.
Charvet recently won the Adobe Certified Associate World Championship, an international competition held in California. She also happens to be the competition's first winner from the United States in the championship's five-year history.
"I'm still trying to grasp that idea that I've basically made history by being the first American to win this competition or place top 3," she said.
More than 110,000 submitted projects from around the world while 46 finalists participated in the competition at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim July 31 to Aug. 2. The second place winner was from Australia while the third place was from Taiwan. Other countries in the top 10 include Mexico, India, Peru, Chile and Thailand.
Finalists were asked to create a 16-inch by 20-inch poster in both print-ready and digital format for client Iridescent, a science, engineering and technology education nonprofit organization. They were given 8 hours and could use software programs Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and/or Adobe InDesign. They were judged on their creative and technical skills, as well as their ability to implement the client’s vision and message.
"It's one of the greatest achievements in my life," Charvet said about winning the competition.
In addition to international recognition, Charvet also received a $7,000 scholarship for winning first place, which will help pay for her first year at UNLV this fall, where she will study graphic design. After her first year, she plans to attend Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada.
Charvet said her high school, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, helped prepare her for her career in graphic design, including enabling her to get Adobe Illustrator certification. She initially taught herself Illustrator four years ago and took her first graphic design class her junior year of high school.
"It's an ever-evolving passion of mine because I always see flaws in my work and always use that to improve and use that to grow," Charvet said. "So I think this competition is just the first step in my career."
The teen also credits her involvement in the club SkillsUSA, where she competed in advertising design and gained the experience to participate in larger competitions.
Before the championship, Charvet had wanted explore internships or jobs in graphic design. Charvet was able to network with various companies at the competition, where she was offered positions where she will be paid on commission.
"I'm really grateful for all the opportunities that the world championship has opened up for me and I feel like all of the work I've done up to this point, all of the training I've done to this point have really paid off," she said.
Someday, Charvet wants to start her own business in design. She said the possibilities are endless in her future career.
"It's a really liberating feeling to think that I'm only 18 years old and I'm already on this path to success in terms with graphic design -- something I'm really passionate about and something I really love," Charvet said. "I already have such a head start within the industry."