Iranian comes to Pittsburg to pursue passion in graphic design

How did a person living in Iran wind up at Pitt State? 


“I searched online for ‘the best university for graphic design in the U.S.’ and Pitt State popped up,” said Mahsa Dehghan. 

That search paid off. 

She enrolled as a graduate student in Graphic Communications, played a key role in changing the department’s branding, earning numerous awards for her work, and immediately landed a job with a reputable Pittsburg-based marketing agency. 


Dehghan had worked for several years as a graphic designer in Iran but wanted to “take it to the next level,” she said. 

She was the first from Iran to attend Pitt State in the past 20 years, and it wasn’t easy to get here: Iran doesn’t have a U.S. embassy, so she had to travel to Armenia to get a VISA. 

It was well worth it, she said. 

“When I got here, people were very nice, very welcoming, and I had a good experience.” 

She taught a motion graphic class for a year as a graduate assistant, inspiring younger students and helping them to find their path in the field. 

The work she created herself soon paid off with awards: nine total, including an elite MOSAIC Award from the American Advertising Federation – the first time someone from Pittsburg has won it! -- as well as gold and silver ADDY awards, gold and silver Crimson Creative awards, and teaching and scholarship activity awards from the university. 

The MOSAIC Award, given for projects focused on diversity, was especially meaningful.  

“My project was a motion graphic short animation called ‘People are Different’,” she said. “It shows that we think differently and have different likes and different opinions.” 

The bulk of her other awards were given for her collaboration with Pitt State faculty on new departmental brand designs.  

“I changed everything the department had – all the posters, all the designs, the brochures, each of the hand-outs for the different emphases, the signage in the hallways – and created a logo motion graphic for each emphasis,” she said. 

She designed a few versions, planned meetings with the department’s marketing team, asked for suggestions, and implemented changes. Now, her designs are everywhere, including notebooks, stickers, and calendars. 

“I was looking for a modern look with modern shapes so high school students would be inspired and it would get their attention,” she said. “We had a call to action at the end of the motion graphics that would encourage them to click and know more, learn more about the university’s flat rate tuition, and apply.” 

She accepted an internship offer at ADsmith Marketing & Advertising in Springfield, Missouri, designing logos and videos for their clients, and after graduation quickly got hired as a graphic designer for LimeLight Marketing in Pittsburg. 

“Anything that’s related to visuals and advertising is my passion,” she said. “It’s like a puzzle, every project, and when I get to solve it, it’s just so satisfying.” 

Check out her work: 

"People Are Different " 

Motion graphics for Pitt State 


Learn more:

Graphic Communications at Pitt State